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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.33:1 Standard
  • 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Serbo-Croatian Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 3 Discs
FEATURES
    Contains the film Man is Not a Bird, Love Affair, or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator, and Innocence Unprotected

Dusan Makavejev Free Radical


Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Dusan Makavejev
2009 | 223 Minutes | Licensor: Dusan Makavejev

Release Information
DVD | MSRP: $44.95 | Series: Eclipse from the Criterion Collection | Edition: #18
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: October 13, 2009
Review Date: October 1, 2009

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SYNOPSIS

There's never been another filmmaker quite like Dusan Makavejev. Even in the 1960s, when all of cinema's steadfast rules seemed to be breaking down and artists such as Godard, Cassavetes, and Marker were dissolving the boundaries between fiction and documentary, Yugoslavia's Makavejev stood alone. His films about political and sexual liberation were revolutionary, raucous, and ribald. Across these, his wild, collagelike first three films, Makavejev investigates-with a tonic mix of earnestness and whimsy-love, death, and work; the legacy of war and the absurdity of daily life in a Communist state; criminology and hypnosis; strudels and strongmen.

Forum members rate this film 7.8/10

 

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PICTURE

For their 18th release in the Eclipse line, Criterion presents a box set containing three early films by Dušan Makavejev over three single-layer discs: Man Is Not a Bird, Love Affair, or The Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator, and Innocence Unprotected. The first two are presented in the widescreen aspect ratio of 1.66:1 and enhanced for widescreen televisions while Innocence Unprotected is presented in the standard aspect ratio of about 1.33:1 and has not been window boxed.

The first two films present fairly strong black and white transfers. If restoration hasn’t been done to these films then they’re in fairly good shape to begin with. There are plenty of marks and scratches throughout but they’re not heavy and barely noticeable. Damage becomes heavier when Makavejev incorporates what looks like archival footage, which is laden with scratches and marks. The digital transfers themselves have a few issues with some noticeable noise and mild edge-enhancement, but contrast looks good and there is a striking amount of detail.

Innocence Unprotected presents the only colour transfer. It’s not as strong as the others since I found artifacts more noticeable in some sequences, specifically the black and white sequences that have been tinted blue, where blocking seems more obvious. But again it’s very sharp with an excellent amount of detail. Colours look pretty good and the print condition is in the best shape of the three films, even the footage used from the original Innocence Unprotected (a 1942 film that was incorporated into Makavejev’s films) is in decent shape with only the actual footage from some of Dragoljub Aleksi?’s stunts and some various archive footage showing their age.

This is yet another case where I wasn’t expecting much but despite their flaws they’re surprisingly strong video transfers as a whole.

7/10

All DVD screen captures are presented in their original size from the source disc. Images have been compressed slightly to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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Man Is Not a Bird

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Man Is Not a Bird

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Man Is Not a Bird

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Man Is Not a Bird

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Man Is Not a Bird

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Love Affair

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Love Affair

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Love Affair

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Love Affair

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Love Affair

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Innocence Unprotected

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Innocence Unprotected

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Innocence Unprotected

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Innocence Unprotected

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Innocence Unprotected

AUDIO

Audio over the three films is a little weak. The Serbo-Croatian mono tracks sound a little muddled and hollow and the first two films still present some noticeable damage, specifically faint scratches in the background.

5/10

SUPPLEMENTS

This being an Eclipse release there are not significant supplements found here. But we do get an excellent set of notes by Michael Koresky spread over the three thin cases. The first disc comes with an insert that includes three pages of notes that cover Makavejev’s early life and Man Is Not a Bird while the other two have single page liner notes. And not only does he offer a brief analysis for each film but he gives a fascinating account of the film industry during the sixties in Yugoslavia. As usual with their Eclipse titles the notes are excellent reads.

2/10

CLOSING

Criterion closes off their Eclipse releases for the year on a strong note and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the films included here, specifically the unclassifiable but completely hypnotic Innocence Unprotected. With its strong digital transfers and unique films this one comes with a high recommendation.


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