This week sees the release of wonderful new Criterion editions of three of the greatest documentaries of all time: Errol Morris’s first three films, Gates of Heaven, Vernon, Florida, and The Thin Blue Line. Re-watching these films, it’s at times odd to think that the same man made them: Gates of Heaven is the deadpan, deliberate tale of pet cemeteries in California; Vernon, Florida is a weirdly meditative, austere portrait of the offbeat personalities in a rural southern town. And The Thin Blue Line, one of the most influential documentaries of all time, is a gripping investigation into a cop killing in Texas — complete with an evocatively tense Philip Glass score, stylized cinematography, and detailed, cinematic slow-motion reenactments. (The film was famously instrumental in the eventual release of Randall Dale Adams, who had been wrongfully convicted of the murder and condemned to die in the electric chair.) But look closely and you’ll see that the films share a remarkable sense of candor, of empathy, and a fascination with offbeat yet very human characters. That fascination with people, combined with an investigative spirit, has served Morris well over the years, as he has become one of the foremost filmmakers in the world — with films like A Brief History of Time, Fast, Cheap & Out of Control, and The Fog of War among his many credits. He spoke with us recently about his early films, his interviewing style, and some of the potentially ethical issues around getting involved with a true crime tale. And yes, we did ask him about The Jinx.