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HerrSchreck
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

#26 Post by HerrSchreck » Sun Oct 29, 2006 12:34 am

Keep sticking with LA TERRE, however. It's such a deeply felt film, profundities start bursting out of those zones which seem confusing, washed out and blank, after repeated viewing. Some of the narrative confusion also stems from, of course, that the print is incomplete. The end of the film is as moving as anything on the planet.

"It is not so easy to die.." looking at the ants in the ground, with the shepherd who sleeps in his rolling shack... ah..

You'll love CHESS PLAYER without a doubt. From that, if you haven't managed to get your hands on it yet by plane car or camel, with all your might try and get your hands on MALDONE by Gremillion for more of Charles Dullin's fabulous work from 1927 and the great vitality of the French silent era around this time (Epstein, Gremillion, Krisanoff, Dreyer, et al). You'll also see a couple faces from the Antoine film.

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Tommaso
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 10:09 am

#27 Post by Tommaso » Sun Oct 29, 2006 5:59 am

Thanks, Tryavna and Schreck, for your comments. Actually what I did after watching "La Terre" was to play the film again in fast forward mode, just stopping at the relevant titles to read them again. After this, characters and their relations made sense. I think it may well be due to the incompleteness of the print, but I can't help agreeing that Antoine tried to stick too closely to the Zola novel with putting all those characters in. Nevertheless, a very good film in any case, and I agree: the end especially is marvellous. Only Kurosawa was better in depicting Lear's helplessness on the fields... :-)

In all honesty, I never even heard of "Maldone". Probably because I was not that much interested in French silent cinema until shortly (thought it was too 'realistic'), preferring of course the Germans and the Russians (Dreyer is an exception, but I think only "Jeanne" is a French film of his, or am I wrong?). But I will put it on that ever expanding wish list.

Is there anything else by Kirsanoff available apart from the two films on the Kino Avantgarde-Box-set? And how I love these films, "Brumes d'Automne" especially, but I always regarded them in the context of experimental cinema, more or less. The French Man Ray films on that set are unbeatable in my view, but then again these are not your usual narrative stuff.

I won't make it to watch "Chess player" before the middle of the week, I think, but I will report back on my impressions, then.

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vogler
Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2006 8:42 am
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#28 Post by vogler » Sun Oct 29, 2006 7:27 am

Tommaso wrote:In all honesty, I never even heard of "Maldone". Probably because I was not that much interested in French silent cinema until shortly (thought it was too 'realistic'), preferring of course the Germans and the Russians (Dreyer is an exception, but I think only "Jeanne" is a French film of his, or am I wrong?). But I will put it on that ever expanding wish list.
I love French silent cinema probably more than any other. If I take a brief look through my collection it shows that French silents are not necessarily more realistic than German and Russian. Perhaps the actual subject matter is sometimes more realistic (e.g. no vampires, Golems etc.) but I think they are generally more stylistically experimental. I am thinking particularly of the great directors associated with the French Impressionist movement (if indeed it really was a movement) - Abel Gance, Marcel L'Herbier, Jean Epstein, Germaine Dulac etc. The Russian films were of course very formally experimental as well but it is my opinion that many of their techniques were in fact gained from the French, particularly the use of rapid cutting which I believe was first used by Abel Gance. Marcel L'Herbier's work is also particularly notable for experimental editing, especially L'Inhumaine which is one of the wildest , most experimental films of the silent era. Schreck is right about Maldone. I saw this for the first time very recently and have watched it again since then and it is a total masterpiece. I just wish I could get hold of more silent era Gremillon.

It is my opinion that somewhere along the line, for various reasons, something went horribly wrong with our understanding of cinema history. The German and Russian silents got all the attention and all the credit for stylistic innovations and the French and Scandinavian films got largely forgotten. This is a real shame as some of the greatest and most innovative silent films I have seen have been French or Swedish. I sincerely hope that some of these films will be released soon and perhaps Milestone will be the company to do it. I'm actually thinking about starting a thread devoted to French silent film and specifically it's availability on dvd. There are a few interesting releases scattered about (such as the French release of L'Herbier's El Dorado) but they can be quite hard to find and I would like to have a list of everything that is available.

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zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

#29 Post by zedz » Sun Oct 29, 2006 6:24 pm

vogler wrote:It is my opinion that somewhere along the line, for various reasons, something went horribly wrong with our understanding of cinema history. The German and Russian silents got all the attention and all the credit for stylistic innovations and the French and Scandinavian films got largely forgotten. This is a real shame as some of the greatest and most innovative silent films I have seen have been French or Swedish.
This might be an interesting problem to tease out. Often this sort of thing boils down to simple availability, but just as often the existence of a canon influences availability, and thus it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In the case of Russian and German silents, several of the key works were very high-profile (even popular) releases in their day, and have remained so, whereas many of the great French silents were more experimental in their form, or of an awkward length (e.g. Kirsanov and Gremillon). Key German auteurs went on to have success in Hollywood and thus remained international presences through the sound era (and expressionism arguably had a stronger influence on the look of Hollywood film than other European movements, such as the location naturalism of the Swedes), whereas the great Scandinavians retreated into comparative obscurity back home and the French innovators never made the transition in the first place.

In terms of Soviet film, the core handful of classics were embraced by elite interest groups throughout the world, as much for their content as for their form, and were rapidly canonised as the ne plus ultra of cinema radicalism. The association of radical political content with radical style proved extremely useful in perpetuating those films' historical importance. The Soviet socialist realism films of the 30s (e.g. Chapayev, The Gorky Trilogy) used to be just about as highly acclaimed in the same circles, but those much more conventional works haven't stood the test of time, and their alignment with Stalinism certainly didn't work in their critical favour in the long run.

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Gregory
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:07 pm

#30 Post by Gregory » Fri Nov 03, 2006 4:03 am

I just got word that Milestone plans to release an improved DVD of WHY HAS BODHI-DHARMA LEFT FOR THE EAST? in 2007.
Also coming next year is The Exiles (1961).

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Tommaso
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 10:09 am

#31 Post by Tommaso » Sat Nov 04, 2006 7:17 am

I have managed to watch "The Chess Player" now, and although I expected something good after Schreck's recommendation I really must say: this is a jewel! It gripped me right from the beginning with its expressionistic lighting and the design of Von Kempelen's cabinet (geee.. Bernard MUST have watched Wiene before he made this), and I love the way how this film slowly unfolds on so many levels of history, romance and E.T.A. Hoffmannesque style and feeling. Gorgeous special effects for the time, of course.

One might argue that Bernard tried to cram too many different things into it, and that the film never really knows whether it wants to be a realist historical panorama a la Griffith (with whose films it bears a lot of resemblance, much more than with Gance's "Napoleon" which is often cited as comparison) or an expressionist eerie tale a la "Der müde Tod" or "Waxworks", but who cares. Think of Wegener, early Lang, or Paul Leni: the final scene in the cabinet is on a par with anything they did, really. Totally amazing.

I really cannot understand that some reviewers on imdb and other places find this convoluted and slow-going. Yes, the pacing is slow at times, but I was engaged every single minute of it by the stunning visuals (and the beauty of the two actresses, of course). As Gary the Beaver once said in a different context: I could have taken screen caps all day long..... A perfectly entertaining film in my view, and one that should be far better known. Absolutely essential, even if the transfer is video-sourced. I think this one made it directly into my top ten silents.

Is there anything else by Bernard on dvd I must see?

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tryavna
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#32 Post by tryavna » Sat Nov 04, 2006 12:46 pm

Tommaso wrote:the design of Von Kempelen's cabinet (geee.. Bernard MUST have watched Wiene before he made this)
You know, I never really thought about a connection existing between those two films in this regard. The chess-playing automaton was, in fact, a real historical object, and from what I can tell, Bernard modeled his Chess Player (the cabinet) on the historical one pretty closely.

Still, I'm with you and find this movie wonderfully entertaining. The finale, with the cross-cutting between the firing squad and the steadily advancing "toy" soldiers, is one of the creepiest and most nerve-wracking scenes in silent cinema -- even though you can probably predict what's going to happen. I guess, it's that Hoffmann-esque quality you were talking about in your post.

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Tommaso
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 10:09 am

#33 Post by Tommaso » Sat Nov 04, 2006 1:04 pm

tryavna wrote:I never really thought about a connection existing between those two films in this regard. The chess-playing automaton was, in fact, a real historical object, and from what I can tell, Bernard modeled his Chess Player (the cabinet) on the historical one pretty closely.
True for the Turk, it looked exactly like on all the pictures I saw of the real automaton before. What I had in mind, however, was the design of the cabinet (the house/workshop where he places all his automatons) itself, the way that the walls and architecture of it look. This has a quite distinct espressionist/constructivist touch to it, and looks totally different from the other interiors in the film, although it's perhaps not as 'angular' as in "Caligari".
tryavna wrote:Still, I'm with you and find this movie wonderfully entertaining. The finale, with the cross-cutting between the firing squad and the steadily advancing "toy" soldiers, is one of the creepiest and most nerve-wracking scenes in silent cinema -- even though you can probably predict what's going to happen. I guess, it's that Hoffmann-esque quality you were talking about in your post.
Exactly, that's what I had in mind, absolutely creepy. But the Hoffmanesque also goes for the whole of the automaton business in the film. Take the scene when Von Kempelen wants to make a model of Wanda, the dancer: this clearly reminds of the toymaker Coppelius and his dancing- 'daughter' Olympia in "The Sandman" (look it up in Powell's "Tales of Hoffmann" if you can't find the story itself).

The whole film might have a subtext examining the relation of man and machine; the way that Von Kempelen finally is shot after he became a part of the machine and the mirroring of this with the attack of the toy soldiers in the parallel action. Also the scene when Sophie plays the piano (after all, a very 'mechanical' instrument) and where she seems to spur on the Polish soldiers by it, and of course they are defeated.

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tryavna
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#34 Post by tryavna » Sat Nov 04, 2006 1:14 pm

Tommaso wrote:True for the Turk, it looked exactly like on all the pictures I saw of the real automaton before. What I had in mind, however, was the design of the cabinet (the house/workshop where he places all his automatons) itself, the way that the walls and architecture of it look. This has a quite distinct espressionist/constructivist touch to it, and looks totally different from the other interiors in the film, although it's perhaps not as 'angular' as in "Caligari".
Ah, gotcha now. Very interesting take, and I hadn't thought about it. Will have to revisit the film with that in mind.

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HerrSchreck
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

#35 Post by HerrSchreck » Sun Nov 05, 2006 4:53 am

Tommaso wrote:Is there anything else by Bernard on dvd I must see?
From the Cahiers article quoted in the new Eclipse ("It's new it's real, it's coming") thread:
Probably best to put this here as it is different from what Eclipse was supposed to be about.

There is a one page article in the new issue of Cahiers du Cinema, the article ends on what Eclipse is going to be: A cheaper line with no supplements apart from the trailer, 12 titles per year starting with early Bergman, Les croix de Bois (Raymond Bernard - 1931), some Gremillion, some Le Chanois. The article is based on an discussion with Fumiko Tagaki.

That's all it says.
So there you go-- THE WOODEN CROSS, coming soon, along with Gremillion which we were discussing above.. maybe we'll all get lucky and get MALDONE which features the great Charles Dullin from the same year as THE CHESS PLAYER.

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What A Disgrace
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#36 Post by What A Disgrace » Tue Mar 27, 2007 10:14 pm

Quoting Mastersofcinema.org...
Though Milestone's (USA) recent push to finally release Charles Burnett's masterpiece, Killer of Sheep, has caused a delay in their release of Marcel Ophuls' The Troubles We've Seen, they've got several exciting projects on the horizon, including Margot Benacerraf's restored Reveron and Araya, and a Director's Deluxe Edition DVD of Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?. Their progressive sub-label, Milliarium Zero, has announced its second release (after the historic Winter Soldier): a 75th anniversary print of the Civil Rights documentary, You Got To Move: Stories of Change in the South. If only other US distributors would take Milestone's lead in releasing such rare and important works. - D.C.
Also, specs for the upcoming I Am Cuba Special Edition.
Coming October 23, 2007!

- Brand-new high-def master!
- Both Spanish and Russian Soundtracks
- Full-length doc, THE SIBERIAN MAMMOTH
- Full-length doc, FILM ABOUT MIKHAIL KALATOZOV
- Long Interview with Martin Scorsese
- Interview with co-author Yevgeney Yevtushenko
- Original American trailer
- Full-length booklet
- and more!

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tryavna
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#37 Post by tryavna » Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:53 am

What A Disgrace wrote:Also, specs for the upcoming I Am Cuba Special Edition.
Coming October 23, 2007!

- Full-length doc, THE SIBERIAN MAMMOTH
Wow! This is excellent news, as I thought Milestone had resigned itself to not being able to get the rights to this wondeful documentary. Milestone may have been awfully quiet of late, but I hope these recent announcements are indications that they're back on track.

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Ashirg
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:10 am
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#38 Post by Ashirg » Wed Mar 28, 2007 8:46 pm

I wish they pick another distributor because New Yorker titles are hard to find and even some on-line retailers don't carry them...

BrightEyes23
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#39 Post by BrightEyes23 » Thu Mar 29, 2007 12:37 am

Ashirg wrote:I wish they pick another distributor because New Yorker titles are hard to find and even some on-line retailers don't carry them...
agreed! i dont know how well Winter Soldier sold, but i would venture to guess that it would've benefited from many blind buys had people been able to purchase it through dvdplanet and other sites and stumble upon it while browsing.


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What A Disgrace
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#41 Post by What A Disgrace » Tue Aug 14, 2007 1:56 pm

Already pre-ordered them at Amazon.

Though I may have to re-order if I Am Cuba's MSRP goes down to the price on this page. Amazon lists it as $45!

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dx23
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#42 Post by dx23 » Tue Aug 14, 2007 5:06 pm

What A Disgrace wrote:Already pre-ordered them at Amazon.

Though I may have to re-order if I Am Cuba's MSRP goes down to the price on this page. Amazon lists it as $45!
Is Milestone now part of the New Yorker Video? That's the studio according to the Amazon.com pre-order.

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The Fanciful Norwegian
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#43 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Tue Aug 14, 2007 5:20 pm

They just release their DVDs through New Yorker -- New Yorker doesn't actually own them. It's the same situation with Project X and the Watkins titles.

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dx23
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#44 Post by dx23 » Tue Aug 14, 2007 8:10 pm

Thank God! For a moment there I had second thoughts of getting rid of the first release.

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tavernier
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2005 7:18 pm

#45 Post by tavernier » Tue Aug 21, 2007 2:48 pm

At the Brooklyn Academy of Music this fall:

[quote]THE EMOTIONAL CAMERA: MIKHAIL KALATOZOV, OCTOBER 3-14

The Soviet Thaw in the arts following Stalin's death in 1953 and his denunciation by Kruschev in 1956, produced a new wave that equals, if not surpasses, those that took place in France and Czechoslovakia. One of its earliest proponents was director Mikhail Kalatozov, who used this brief period of artistic liberalism to break from the social realist propaganda favored by Stalin to tell strikingly visual, humanistic stories. He and cinematographer Sergei Urusevksy used athletic handheld camerawork to convey the feelings of the characters—a technique Kalatozov referred to as the “emotional camera.â€

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Scharphedin2
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 7:37 am
Location: Denmark/Sweden

#46 Post by Scharphedin2 » Thu Feb 21, 2008 2:53 am

Milestone is now shipping orders of The Dragon Painter for anyone who would like to get the film, before it officially streets.
Milestone Newsletter wrote:I am very happy to announce that the long-awaited release of Sessue (The Bridge on the River Kwai) Hayakawa's silent masterpiece, THE DRAGON PAINTER. And of course, being Milestone, we have bonus features for the bonus features including another extremely rare Hayakawa feature (produced by the legendary Thomas Ince!) THE WRATH OF THE GODS, still galleries, scripts, press kits and more!

The dvds are now in at Milestone. Although it's not available elsewhere until March 18, you can order it directly from the website -- http://milestonefilms.com/movie.php/dragon/ You get a 20% discount and we will be shipping them immediately. Be the first on your block!
Since I thought it would be nice to support Milestone directly, I went to order the film through their site, but the order page did not support Sweden as a shipping address. I emailed Milestone, and within the same day, Amy and Dennis very kindly replied to me, and resolved the issue, so that I could purchase the disc.

I wrote them a note of thanks, and a few words of appreciation of the work they do, and then threw in a question regarding the possibility of a DVDR release of the 10 volumes of Early Russian Films that they released on VHS years ago. Dennis replied that they are actually working on this, and hoping to have it available before the end of this year. I hope I am not breaking Dennis' confidence by posting this information here; I remember we discussed this more than a year ago in this thread, and was eager to share the excellent news.

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tryavna
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 4:38 pm
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#47 Post by tryavna » Thu Feb 21, 2008 5:17 pm

Scharphedin2 wrote:I wrote them a note of thanks, and a few words of appreciation of the work they do, and then threw in a question regarding the possibility of a DVDR release of the 10 volumes of Early Russian Films that they released on VHS years ago. Dennis replied that they are actually working on this, and hoping to have it available before the end of this year. I hope I am not breaking Dennis' confidence by posting this information here; I remember we discussed this more than a year ago in this thread, and was eager to share the excellent news.
That's really cool news, and as I recall, the VHS collection included about half a dozen more films by Bauer and a few by Starewicz. If those make it into the DVD set, Milestone will be making several people around here quite happy. And I can't imagine that Dennis would disapprove of you letting us know -- unless of course the final release gets pushed back really far.

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Cash Flagg
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:15 pm

#48 Post by Cash Flagg » Thu Feb 21, 2008 9:47 pm

Scharphedin2 wrote:I wrote them a note of thanks, and a few words of appreciation of the work they do, and then threw in a question regarding the possibility of a DVDR release of the 10 volumes of Early Russian Films that they released on VHS years ago. Dennis replied that they are actually working on this, and hoping to have it available before the end of this year. I hope I am not breaking Dennis' confidence by posting this information here; I remember we discussed this more than a year ago in this thread, and was eager to share the excellent news.
I actually emailed them about this very same topic a couple of days ago - glad to hear the unofficial confirmation. Can't wait to see more Bauer - the Mad Love set was really a revelation.

drdoros
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2007 4:36 pm

Early Russian Cinema on DVD

#49 Post by drdoros » Fri Feb 22, 2008 10:00 am

tryavna wrote:If those make it into the DVD set, Milestone will be making several people around here quite happy. And I can't imagine that Dennis would disapprove of you letting us know -- unless of course the final release gets pushed back really far.
No, I don't mind at all. It would also make me very happy to own my own set. (It's so hard to look at Digibetas at home.) We have finished Volume 1 and 2 and one disc and will be doing them over the year as time, staff and finances permit. The real expense is printing the covers since you have to print in bulk.

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What A Disgrace
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#50 Post by What A Disgrace » Fri Feb 22, 2008 10:16 am

...the entirety of your early Russian cinema classics are going to be on a DVD set? Protazanov and all? I know what I want for Christmas this year.

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