Seven-film slate includes 1962 documentary on the Tour de France and two films on India
French-born director Louis Malle is best known for his fictional work, including the classics Atlantic City (1980), My Dinner with Andre (1981), and Murmur of the Heart (1971). But Malle also made significant contributions in the non-fiction sphere. with documentary shorts, features and series.
The Criterion Channel announced Wednesday it will release a seven-film collection of Malle's documentaries on Monday, May 11, among them Vive le Tour about the Tour de France.
These are some of the most engaging and fascinating nonfiction films ever made.
"Over the course of a nearly forty-year career, Louis Malle forged a reputation as one of the world’s most versatile cinematic storytellers," the Criterion Channel noted in a press release, citing the narrative features Elevator to the Gallows and Au Revoir les Enfants. "At the same time, however, with less fanfare, Malle was creating a parallel, even more personal body of work as a documentary filmmaker."
The Malle documentary collection covers films from 1962 to 1986 (the director died in 1995 at the age of 63):
Vive le Tour (1962)
Phantom India (1969)
Humain, trop humain (1973)
Place de la République (1974)
God’s Country (1985)
. . . And the Pursuit of Happiness (1986)
"With the discerning eye of a true artist and the investigatory skills of a great journalist, Malle takes us from a street corner in Paris to America’s heartland to the expanses of India in his astonishing epic Phantom India," Criterion wrote. "These are some of the most engaging and fascinating nonfiction films ever made."
Phantom India spans six hours and features narration by Malle as he travels across the country. His final documentary, ...And the Pursuit of Happiness, delves into the immigrant experience in America, something Malle could identify with as a French native who moved to the U.S. to make films.
The Criterion Channel is a subscription service on the Netflix model, boasting fiction and nonfiction content (subscription info here).
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.