Criterion’s February 2008 newsletter has a “top ten Criterions” list from the Beastie Boys member Adam Yauch. Four of the ten films on his list are Kurosawa titles, with Seven Samurai at the very top.
Another curious point that the newletter mentions regarding Yauch is his new film distribution company Oscilloscope Pictures, with Criterion admitting that they were “little concerned that Adam intended to compete with Criterion, but then we thought it over and, honestly, we have been doing this for a long time and are not threatened by Adam’s new company”.
This could be read to suggest that Yauch’s company will be releasing material similar to Criterion. Now, if this indeed is the case, and if Yauch will have say over the titles that are chosen for release, the fact that his top ten Criterions list includes four Kurosawas could be an equation very interesting to us. Now, whether Oscilloscope Pictures is really interested in delving into Kurosawa territory, or has something altogether different in mind, I cannot say, but at least there is that possibility.
In any case, since the newsletter doesn’t yet seem to be available online, here is Yauch’s list:
1. Seven Samurai
C’mon, I gotta tell why this movie is good? You tell me!
Saw this one when I was in junior high school and it stayed with me. Glad to see it in the collection.
3. Nights of Cabiria
I don’t know what to write. I just love this movie.
I guess you have figured out by now that I am really not going to review any of the films that I picked.
But I do like the folks up at the Criterion Collection. Those are my people up in there.
They are a really great team that’s into some bugged-out, esoteric shit.
7. And God Created Woman
Peter is like the bigwig. He’s the head honcho.
8. The Harder They Come
Susan has her ear to the street. She always looks for some interesting stuff to put out.
When I was hanging out up there Heather was working on the audio. But now she switched over to some other department.
10. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
Sometimes I get free DVDs from Criterion, but not always. I wanted to get one of each, you know, like the whole collection, but they said, “No, Adam, we don’t do that.”
1 March 2008
Yeah, I read this email last night, I had a feeling you would post something about it. Its cool he is a fan of Kurosawa, I used to be a fan of Yauch back in my high school days.
I too was a bit puzzled about the competing with Criterion comment, it could just be a joke of sorts.
I was under the impression that Oscilloscope was to buy film festival movies-the ones that were passed by larger studios–sort of like what heineken beer is attempting to do at one point.
His website list equipment for recording, and nothing for restoration and distribution. I dont think he will release any old movies, after all Criterion would have such a large advantage and knowledge on the ordeal competing with them wouldnt be the wising thing to do-money wise