As for the transfers, they’re stunning. “City of Lost Children” is one of my favorite movies of the ‘90s. I can vividly remember the experience of seeing it for the first time in a small theater in London, and I was the kind of movie geek who had a British poster for it on his dorm room wall when I returned from that foreign study program. It’s a stunning movie that looks amazing in 4K. Darius Khondji’s use of shadows to really give depth to Jeunet and Caro’s vividly-rendered world can be better appreciated than ever before with this transfers rich variations in black. (And, man, does Badalamenti’s score sound better than ever.) I sampled most of the set and couldn’t find a flawed transfer. All of them seemed to fit the film. For example, the 4K work on “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” the only film in the set previously available in 4K on its own, maintains the old-fashioned film look of Ang Lee’s aesthetic instead of over-polishing it into something that could have looked like a cartoon. The colors of “Volver” pop off the screen. The affection of SPC in general has translated to the films in this set.
As for the movies themselves, not only are ten of them making their 4K debuts, including a recent Best Picture nominee, but the charming “SLC Punk!” has never been on Blu-ray at all before now. It’s a little disappointing that SPC hasn’t made any of them available standalone given the massive price tag on the full set. If someone wants to own “Call Me by Your Name” or “Synecdoche, New York” in 4K without having to buy ten other films, they should be able to do so. However, serious collectors will adore this set, easily one of the best of the year, and a reminder that we should always pay attention to Sony Pictures Classics.
Click through for reviews of the 11 films in the set:
“The Celluloid Closet”
“The City of Lost Children”
“Run Lola Run”
“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”
“The Devil’s Backbone”
“Synecdoche, New York”
“Call Me by Your Name”
And here’s a fun game, my suggestions for a sequel 4K box set of 11 more essential SPC films, following the same rules of trying to represent their entire history (and with no directors repeated from the first set):
“Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring”
“Fast, Cheap & Out of Control”
“The White Ribbon”
“Only Lovers Left Alive”