Animating the Criterion Collection

Other than several compilations of partly-animated experimental films by director Stan Brakhage, the 1992 CAV Laserdisc of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira (1988) remains the only animation title in the Criterion Collection. The CAV-mode Laserdisc format was phased out nearly two decades ago, so why does Criterion, a company that transitions effortlessly between analog and digital formats, allow a masterpiece like Akira to fall victim to obsoletion? And why are other masterpieces, like those by filmmakers Lotte Reiniger, Jan Švankmejer, Jiří Trnka, Oskar Fischinger, Bill Plympton, and countless others, patently excluded from the Criterion Collection? The omission of animation becomes even more apparent as contemporary mediocrities like Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited (2007), David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), and even Michael Bay’s Armageddon (1998) see Criterion releases. If there’s room in a cinephile’s DVD case for Steven Soderbergh’s Che (2008) and Lena Dunham’s Tiny Furniture (2010), then surely there’s room for some of the finest animated films ever produced. Continue reading “Animating the Criterion Collection” »