>doesn't need the level of marketing they seemingly have
That depends, i am leaning towards agreeing with you but there is a factor that stuck me with some of their releases.
Take for example 1976's Canoa
, released by Criterion i don't remember when but it shines around what kind of "agenda" some of the publisher's runners have. It frankly is an obscure mexican movie from the mid-70's (an already obscure era in that country's cinema history) and like the vast majority of its productions it didn't see a restoration by its nationals nor someone outside, the most they did was put it in VHS, convert it and put it on a DVD (very rarely they get a BR release) but then why did that movie get treatment? to be direct on the point without referencing situations most of us here can understand: The director was part of a jew-centric scene (along with Jodorowsky and the Ripstein Brothers) and the work touches upon communist sensibilities that are well-liked by foreigners.
I'm not fond of the movie but i know if it wasn't for CC almost nobody would've known the movie nor Cazals the director i don't know if that's a good thing but anyways
, they probably did it because of the liberal agenda inside and it fits your description of works being released as events/festivals instead of a routine, the show runners are simply on point with contemporary liberal city tastes many "film buffs" have (aka neutral to even conservative/traditional leaning viewers are not the market).
Take another example in movies from the Eastern Bloc (sans Poland), many of the famous works are soft or hard critiques on the regime or playful allegories on them yet i don't recall CC touching them, perhaps maybe
because they don't fit their ideas. Yugoslavia and Hungary for example are not touched by CC other than maybe works of the gypsy Kusturica.
I went long-winded there but what i wanted to say is that CC does pull things out of their hats from time to time, things that would be unknown or found in very shanty conditions but i know they do it to rub their personal or focus group ideologies rather than doing it to help the medium. I can name plenty of more interesting movies in Mexico than Canoa, even from the same director, but they don't do it and i don't think it's due to not having the reels because i know for a fact the national museum of cinema has many of them and you can access them via public inquiry they are slow as nails because they are lazy sub-human sons of mangy bitches but that's another story
They do help the medium and the marketing schemes are double edged to make them win money and sing to the 4 winds they did it, but they still do it so i can't be that angry at them. I am angry at their cultists just as you are but we cannot do much about them other than bullying them, something i think was discussed previously here: Never pass the chance to bully an entry-level cinephile if he starts acting superior to others, some people who only watch trashy plebeian entertainment for fun sometimes have more knowledge, either technical and/or philosophical, than many who religiously watch "the good stuff" but never or rarely analyze as a quick exercise after watching them, they just see them feel good and archive the DVD as if it was a video game objective never to be seen again.
>they preserve are almost always the basic "art house" type done with no real ingenuity
That's a bit harsh but now that i think of it i don't recall a real mind bender from them, then again real experimental film is usually badly taken care of even by their creators. Seeing their catalogue now i can see they've released more stuff than i remember (also they recently restored Pixote
and Flowers of Shanghai
, can't say that i am not excited for those) but Cher's Moonstuck
, Marriage Story
and Lazy-eye's Ghost Dog
? That's trolling material if anything. But yeah, most of it is conventional cinema with a few risky projects here and there, most cinema is like that but to be fair even if they threw strange stuff in there i wouldn't recognize it but then again just like they did with the Godzilla Set they could make a special product for real visual-centric stuff.