Women Make Movies

Milestone, Flicker Alley, Oscilloscope, Cinema Guild...they're all here.
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Women Make Movies

#1 Post by furbicide » Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:46 pm

Has anyone purchased DVDs from Women Make Movies before? I was quite pleasantly surprised to find that they have a number of Ulrike Ottinger titles available, including Ticket of No Return and Madame X, for only US$20 each (a far cry from the notorious prices on Ottinger's own website, which tend to be well in excess of $100 per film). Does anyone have any idea of what kind of quality to expect?

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Re: Women Make Movies

#2 Post by WmS » Tue Apr 30, 2019 11:07 pm

I have lately been watching some of her works through my library. The Women Make Movies DVDs are of wildly variable quality. Ticket of No Return looked the best of the older ones I've sampled, though it's still from an old tape master. Subs are burnt into the print, and the image is letterboxed in a 4:3 frame. And the movie is great.

Madame X I really wanted to like, and it has some good setpieces, but I found it unfocused. The DVD is the same as Ticket, but the image is not as good. Under Snow, from a newer master, looks good, and the DVD is anamorphic. The compression artifacts look not so good when there's a lot of motion or detail in the frame, but her style is usually stageier, so it's not often a problem. I watch these on a Seiki SR4KP1 on an HD projector at about 110" diagonal for what it's worth.

In general, WMM discs can look pretty bad-- Reassemblage, for instance. I've never seen one with a menu-- they autoplay when you put them in. But the ones I've seen don't look nearly as awful as half of what Facets put out.

Meanwhile, I have here two discs from her web site: 12 Chairs and Taiga. The former has optional English subs, and a (decent-looking) 4:3 letterboxed image. Taiga, though, looks pretty bad: hardcoded electronic subs on what looks like VHS master. And I did not pay for them: I love my library.

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Re: Women Make Movies

#3 Post by Satori » Fri May 03, 2019 8:10 am

I had no idea that WMM sold "home video" versions in addition to the expensive institutional editions. They have some important works from the female L.A. Rebellion directors, especially Zeinabu Irene Davis's Compensation. Unfortunately the quality of their Compensation disc is pretty mediocre, but as far as I know it is the only way to see it. I tried to screen it a couple of years ago when I was teaching film classes as a part of my grad program, but it looked terrible projected on the large screen and I had to substitute something else for it. Still, don't let that deter you from seeing this great film.

I've also seen their transfers of the Ottingers, which are decent (certainly much better than Compensation ), although I've since shelled out for the expensive and better-looking Ottinger versions of Madame X, Ticket, Dorian Grey, and Johanna D'arc of Mongolia . But these are life changing films, so don't hesitate to see them in any format!

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