684-690, 873-879 Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Project

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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manicsounds
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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#76 Post by manicsounds » Thu Jul 24, 2014 9:42 am

The Korean DVD has a before/after restoration featurette, which you can see how much they did to make it watchable.
If you watch the restoration of the excellent Korean film "Black Hair", the opening reel's picture quality is incredibly distracting. But after watching the restoration featurette, I saw just how bad the opening reels looked in the first place. Hideously damaged. Much worse than what "Housemaid" had to go through.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#77 Post by Drucker » Thu Jul 24, 2014 9:55 am

Lemmy, have you watched Dry Summer yet? It's definitely my favorite in the set and is perhaps the best mixture of social commentary and on-location/real life/non-Hollywood style. (Though, admittedly, I never got around to watching Trances).

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#78 Post by Lemmy Caution » Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:09 am

I'll go with Dry Summer next on your rec.

Started with Touki, then Redes followed by Housemaid.
Didn't know anything about these films.
Really enjoying the set.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#79 Post by chatterjees » Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:41 pm

Just finished watching Dry Summer. This was my 2nd Turkish film after Ceylan's OUATIA. I Enjoyed it thoroughly. Cinematography and the background score was excellent. I knew there was another Turkish film among the WCF projects. So, I visited their website (after a long time). I found the other Turkish film (Law of the Border), but also made a weird discovery. One film has been removed from their restored films lists. It was Forest of the Hanged (Romanian or Hungarian?). I was kind of hoping to see this film getting included in Criterion's next set, but I doubt we will ever see it now. Anybody has any idea regarding what could have happened to this film? I hope you guys remember seeing a slot for this film there before.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#80 Post by repeat » Fri Jul 25, 2014 1:16 am

Not to take this off topic, but if you're feeling like looking further into Turkish cinema from that period, I recommend Erksan's next film Sevmek Zamanı ("Time to Love") from 1965 - it doesn't quite reach the delirious heights of Susuz Yaz but is still very inventive and audacious, also a kind of triangle drama bit with a strange twist: it's about a house painter who falls in love with a portrait of the lady of the house he's renovating - but things get complicated when the lady tries to reciprocate and finds out it's not her the man loves, but her portrait...

Yılmaz Güney's (who wrote Law of the Border and made the amazing Yol, among other things) Umut ("Hope") from 1970 is another outstanding film from that period: starting out as straight neorealist sociodrama - a riff on Bicycle Thieves, basically - it takes a totally unexpected turn at mid-point... but I don't want to spoil it! Very striking b&w cinematography and soundtrack work on that one as well. I hope these two get rescued at some point by the WCF or someone.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#81 Post by htom » Fri Jul 25, 2014 1:52 pm

chatterjees wrote:One film has been removed from their restored films lists. It was Forest of the Hanged (Romanian or Hungarian?). I was kind of hoping to see this film getting included in Criterion's next set, but I doubt we will ever see it now. Anybody has any idea regarding what could have happened to this film? I hope you guys remember seeing a slot for this film there before.
The page for the film itself also says "restorations in progress", if that means anything.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#82 Post by chatterjees » Fri Jul 25, 2014 2:38 pm

htom wrote:
chatterjees wrote:One film has been removed from their restored films lists. It was Forest of the Hanged (Romanian or Hungarian?). I was kind of hoping to see this film getting included in Criterion's next set, but I doubt we will ever see it now. Anybody has any idea regarding what could have happened to this film? I hope you guys remember seeing a slot for this film there before.
The page for the film itself also says "restorations in progress", if that means anything.
I did not even find this page. I don't know how you manage to get this page now! A year ago, when it was showing up normally, it was under already restored category (probably 2012 or 2011, I can't remember now). So, probably it has to go through restoration again. Thanks for the link.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#83 Post by Lemmy Caution » Sat Jul 26, 2014 9:13 am

I wasn't that thrilled with Dry Summer.
The storyline seemed rather simple and the plot mechanics rather basic.
For instance, when the water isn't flowing the neighboring farmers all sit in place basically staring at the dry channel. Everyone believes the younger brother is gone, even though there is no official word. Etc.

With that said, the lead does a terrific job as a villain.
He's charismatic even as he constantly acts like a jerk.
And he's very dynamic in the fight scenes.
The romance between the younger brother and the girl is quite believable and they seem like they are just dying to grapple with each other. Though the younger brother has little to do for most of the film.

It's a solid film, and in the context of the set played like a cross between Redes and The Housemaid.
Last edited by Lemmy Caution on Sat Jul 26, 2014 1:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#84 Post by chatterjees » Sat Jul 26, 2014 10:51 am

Lemmy Caution wrote: The storyline seemed rather simple and the plot mechanics rather basic.
Absolutely true. I was thrilled by the camera work and the music in the film for sure. The lead actor did a splendid job. There were some scenes, which were great
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The scene, where Osman was milking the cow or at the end, when his body was floating in the water
. Also, there were something very unique about the background score. The film started with traditional Turkish music, but after the first half it was kind of Jazzy. It almost felt like I was watching a noir (I guess I can call it a noir now, it has all the elements of noir).

Last night, I finally watched Titas made by Ghatak (my Indian Pasolini/Mizo). I guess nobody is interested in this film. So far I haven't seen anybody talking about it. This is the first time I watched it without any interruption. I have previously seen 4 of Ghatak's early films. Titas is probably his second last film, which somehow I could never manage to watch (I do have the Indian DVD). Congratulation to WCF for presenting us with this brilliant restoration. The AQ and PQ were superb. Ghatak's camera work was excellent. The only problem I had was the length of the film, it could have been made a little shorter. I honestly hope that one day I will have Criterion BD editions of Nagarik, Ajantrik, The Golden Thread, Reason, Debate and a Story, and The Cloud-Capped Star
When Criterion first uploaded this film on Hulu+, I had a chance to watch the first few minutes of it. Some of you might remember that I came up with the issue of the opening title of the film being changed. The original opening sequence of the film is one of the most beautiful sequence in Indian film history (in my opinion). When the reviews were coming out last year, I saw some caps of the river and was delighted that Criterion managed to rescue the opening. Unfortunately I was wrong. Criterion (or WCF) created a collage of scenes from different time points in the film, but used the original title song. The title credits are newly constructed in both English and Bengali. I guess the Bengali credits were created by somebody of Bengali origin in New York, who did a very lousy job. First of all, there was no need to put the Bengali credits. This release is mostly meant for non-Bengali audience, who will probably not care about what's written in Bengali. Second, being a Bengali, reading those Bengali words with at least 7 spelling typos was kind of torture for me, especially when I am watching it in a room full of Bengalis. Anyways, that should not be a problem for you guys. This release is the best release for the film, nobody can top it. I would strongly recommend you guys to save some time for this film and thoroughly enjoy it. This is probably the 2nd important film in the set after Touki bouki.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#85 Post by Lemmy Caution » Tue Aug 05, 2014 5:20 am

I had a bit of a difficult time getting the rhythm of A River Called Titas.
It also took me a while to understand how he was using character.
It's basically an epic made up of small people and small events which loom large for them.
Characters are more archetypes and we don't follow their development so much as see how they are mistreated by customs and relationships and even nature. Some of the characters really act harshly, especially to the orphan boy, but also to the rival clan.

The dubbing isn't done that well for dialogue and sound effects. And occasionally I wasn't sure who was speaking. It really seemed like this was an earlier film -- maybe from the '50's or early 60's -- rather than 1973.

My favorite parts were really the river scenes, panning along the sailboats or the banks. That was rather lyrical and captivating. There are some wonderful compositions, especially in semi-close-ups when a character and maybe one or two household items would fill the screen. I liked the film, but thought it was overlong and not that easy to digest on first watch.

I think this is the only film in the set so far where I would recommend watching the commentary interview prior to the film. It mentions character as archetype. And I never would have known about the subtext of separation and warfare as relating to India's partition. So that was interesting and useful.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#86 Post by Lemmy Caution » Wed Aug 06, 2014 8:44 am

I'm pretty far behind in my Indian film viewing.
I have 2 or 3 copies of Titas and was good to finally watch it.
So I followed up Titas with Ritwik Ghatak's Cloud Capped Star.

This is a family drama with a daughter being exploited as the sole breadwinner in her family.
She tries to be cheerful, but her dutifulness has mixed results.
She loses out on a chance for marriage; but the brother she supported during his apprenticeship does become a successful singer due partly to her sacrifices.

Ghatak again has a bit of an odd way with character.
The main character often turns her head and looks almost directly at the camera.
The one brother disappears from the film for so long I forgot about him.
The father seems to be one of the few moral characters who speaks with candor.
Yet he often kind of acts the fool and slapsticky in his movements.
And as in Titas, we have another old harpy matriarch who complains and makes everybody miserable. I get the feeling Ghatak had an unpleasant grandmother.

For a family drama, few of the family members have any kind of decent relationship.
The younger daughter steals away the good daughter's boyfriend. The two brothers barely interact. The father and mother barely get along. Only the dutiful daughter and the singing brother seem to have any affection or even connection. The family felt very disjointed and hardly seemed like a family at all. The mother even laments that she doesn't know her (good) daughter at all.

A bit of an odd film -- again overlong, with little character development, and some odd unpleasant characters (mostly defined by a single trait). The BFI edition also seemed to have a fair amount of non-subtitled dialogue scattered throughout. Maybe I'll check out the commentary to shed a bit more light on The CC Star.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#87 Post by movielocke » Tue Aug 19, 2014 10:53 am

Dry summer is a marvelous film, intense in its melodrama and scathing in its social critique. Perhaps it has even more punch for me in California due to our drought this year, and reports trickling in last week that some farmers are stealing water. On top of California's refusal to regulate the use and quantity of groundwater, the film seemed especially relevant. We drove through the central valley and you could pick out rich farmers and poor farmers based on the greenness of their crops or orchards.

The first 82 minutes of a river called titas was a wonderful film. It pulses with the storytelling rhythms of the women as the ins and outs of this quietly tragic love story flow in odd and often delightfully interesting narrative tides. At times it almost feels like a Japanese ghost story. On the other hand the dominance of women and the status of marriage in the villages give it an almost ozu quality in its melancholic narrative, particularly record of a tenement gentleman. On the other hand the religious metaphor woven into the strong social realist aesthetic remind me of rossellinis stromboli.

So there is a title card that says intermission right after this magnificent and stunning film has ended and the second half starts to meander and wobble drunkenly through narrative twigs never reaching the satisfying and unique synergy and catharsis of the first half. Perhaps I should watch the second half again but it was an incredibly frustrating experience.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#88 Post by movielocke » Tue Aug 26, 2014 3:57 am

Trances, dude this film was like, dude, the shit, dude, in the seventies and stuff. I actually did find the music interesting, and some of the docu stuff was pretty good, unfortunately, the music set my mind to wandering pretty much nonstop, so every digression into a non music section would cause sort of a mental record scratch as I sort of reoriented myself back to the film. this left me feeling perpetually bewildered as though I had just missed them saying something, I tried running the film back a few times at first to see what it was I was missing and eventually concluded that I wasn't, I just felt like I was. The film is aesthetically and culturally quite interesting, but I'd never consider it a necessary viewing and would not bother to watch it again.

The Housemaid is the gem of this set, I didn't think anything would top Touki Bouki and then this macabre and twisted little chamber drama began to take off. The film prefigures much of the asian horror iconography of the last few years. You can't look away, it's like a mad Hitchcock's fevre dream mashup of Bigger than Life and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, but better than either. From the stunning cinematography (slinky tracking shots, deep z axis staging, frames with frames, imprisoned by the set in all sorts of claustrophobic clever framings) to the white/black costuming to the sensual and deranged central performance to the relentless progression of plot the film is just a masterpiece all around; aperfectly controlled and executed piece of genre that defies genre.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#89 Post by Lemmy Caution » Tue Aug 26, 2014 1:24 pm

I also thought The Housemaid was excellent. Looking forward to re-watching it when it recedes a bit more from my memory. Redes really impressed me as well, but I'm partial to socialist/humanist filmmaking from that era. And Touki Bouki was a fun wild ride, and any boost African cinema can get is certainly welcome.

Dry Summer and River Titas are both worthwhile, and have some impressive elements, but were less engaging for me. I'm glad you reminded me of Trances, I should put that on before I put away the set.

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Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#90 Post by Lemmy Caution » Fri Jan 02, 2015 4:16 am

swo17 wrote:That thing that thought it had a bright future but then fell off the unfinished bridge and collapsed into an unrecognizable mess of wasted opportunities and broken dreams could perhaps be the World Cinema Project?
What happened to the World Cinema Project?
Vol 1 was terrific.
I was looking forward to a 2nd volume ...

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#91 Post by RPG » Thu Feb 05, 2015 6:13 pm

med wrote:
cdnchris wrote:I've only watched the first 4 so far but Scorsese's intros basically just explain how the respective films came to their attention and then offers a few thoughts on them. So far they range between just under 2-minutes and 2-minutes-40-seconds.

I was trying to watch Dry Summer while I was home alone with my son (who makes general life difficult--but I love him) and feel I missed a key plot point so was hoping someone could elaborate:
SpoilerShow
There was a newspaper story about how Hassan was murdered in prison and of course Osman spreads this around town and tells Bahar. Did he somehow fake this or find out later this wasn't the case? It's suggested he always knew Hassan wasn't dead and lied, plus he wasn't at all shocked when Hassan showed up. Or did someone get the prisons confused, since Hassan was moved?
Watched this last night without any distractions, and
SpoilerShow
you didn't miss anything. It's never explained if the story in the paper was some sort of ruse—though I doubt it—or simply someone with the same name as Hassan. Maybe there was a scene where Osman found out it was a different Hassan and it got cut? By the time he's released from prison, Osman was clearly ready for him, so it isn't as if he was as surprised as everyone else that he was still alive.
Actually, I think you both missed something.
SpoilerShow
In town, he reads the telegram from his brother at a bench, presumably sent that very same day. On the bus ride back, he sees a newspaper article about someone named Hasan who died in the prison where his brother is locked up. If his brother sent the telegram that day, there is no way his death would be reported in that day's newspaper. So he knew the Hasan who was murdered was not his brother, but because he told nobody about the telegram, nobody else knew the truth.
On another note, I am appalled by the animal cruelty in this film. A chicken is needlessly killed in a scene that is pretty much meaningless (we already know Osman is cruel and sadistic, you don't need to kill a chicken to prove it), and then a happy, smiling dog is blasted with a shotgun. The camera lingers as the poor dog howls in pain as it dies. This scene could have easily been accomplished without killing anything. Despicable.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#92 Post by htom » Wed Jul 08, 2015 3:04 pm

The World Cinema Foundation is now found at the Film Foundation webpage though not in the same form as previously seen.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#93 Post by barryconvex » Fri Jul 10, 2015 10:21 pm

On another note, I am appalled by the animal cruelty in this film. A chicken is needlessly killed in a scene that is pretty much meaningless (we already know Osman is cruel and sadistic, you don't need to kill a chicken to prove it), and then a happy, smiling dog is blasted with a shotgun. The camera lingers as the poor dog howls in pain as it dies. This scene could have easily been accomplished without killing anything. Despicable.
that was a horrible thing to watch-the scene in Dry River with the dog. Between that and the scene with the chicken you'd think that you might at least get a lightly worded warning located somewhere on or in the box. This isn't Walkabout or (Touki Bouki for that matter) where we're watching a native hunter kill his clan's traditional prey and eat it in order to survive- it's the shooting of a helpless, trusting dog.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#94 Post by manicsounds » Mon Aug 10, 2015 11:48 pm


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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#95 Post by pro-bassoonist » Tue Aug 11, 2015 1:29 am

I have not seen this Korean release, but I doubt this is the case.

The Criterion release and the French release from Carlotta that I have look virtually identical. And this should not be surprising because they are both sourced from the master the Korean Film Archive created.

The Housemaid is the most problematic film in the box set.

There is digital work done on the transfer, but it is careful work that actually rebalances the film as best as possible. (The handwritten English subtitles that appeared on the release print that was used were digitally removed, so there is absolutely no way that the film could have the organic appearance this review claims it does).

There are massive fluctuations on the restoration and plenty of traces of strong to severe fading. So, I seriously doubt that on this new release The Housemaid has a "very good film-like appearance." There is footage that isn't from the reconstructed gaps -- reels 5 and 8 -- that is also problematic.

Lastly, the color grading wasn't done exclusively for the Criterion release, it was completed at L'Immagine Ritrovata during the restoration. And while the work is very good, there are very, very obvious limitations where shadow definition is off and the blacks/grays are inconsistent.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#96 Post by Orlac » Tue Aug 11, 2015 5:05 am

I don't think removing the subtitles was worth it. They should have accepted them as being stuck there.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#97 Post by manicsounds » Tue Aug 11, 2015 5:27 am

I have the Criterion, the Korean Blu-ray, and the Korean DVD. The Korean Blu-ray looks way better in terms of greyscale, and I'm not talking about the problematic reels 5 and 8, but in the rest of the film. Wish I could take screencaps but it is a huge difference.
orlac wrote:I don't think removing the subtitles was worth it. They should have accepted them as being stuck there.
Korean Film Archive have stated that they are working on improving the subtitle removal software and currently using a newer method for removing them from the print of "Aimless Bullet". I think it was worth it, but of course it could look better when the tech gets better.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#98 Post by pro-bassoonist » Tue Aug 11, 2015 4:03 pm

manicsounds wrote:I have the Criterion, the Korean Blu-ray, and the Korean DVD. The Korean Blu-ray looks way better in terms of greyscale, and I'm not talking about the problematic reels 5 and 8, but in the rest of the film. Wish I could take screencaps but it is a huge difference.
I am curious to see this release, because I cannot imagine how the grayscale could be better when there is only one master in circulation. Are you trying to say that there was additional work done?

The big work was done in Italy and then one master created. As far as I know, no one did additional work for the Carlotta release and the Criterion release, which is why they look so strikingly similar. If someone did something in Korea, then it was after all the work was completed at L'Immagine Ritrovata. Contrast boosting/adjustments is the only thing that I can think of, but I simply cannot see how the Korean release can have a stronger organic appearance when it is known what elements were used for the restoration and they were clearly very problematic.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#99 Post by manicsounds » Tue Aug 11, 2015 7:14 pm

Yes, additional work has been done:
KOFA Blu Booklet wrote:As The Housemaid - the first Blu-ray title from the Korean Film Archive - has been modified from the 2008 version.... this time on Blu-ray will provide a fresh new experience at home
The booklet mostly talks about the audio restoration newly done for Blu in the notes, but it is evident the Blu looks better too.
I watched the Korean Blu on my TV while I had on the Criterion on my PC, knowing it would not look identical since they are 2 different monitors. But when I saw some weirdly pasty faces and unnatural looking greys filmwise, I had a look at scenes back to back on the TV screen, and it was evident that the Criterion Blu (and as you said the French) transfer looks worse. It's not evident while looking at it alone. Needs to be see side by side.


The Korean Blu-ray:

Image

The Criterion Blu-ray:

Image

If you look at the wall behind Mr. Kim, you can see better detail of the wall gradually becoming darker toward the ceiling.
The wall on the right as well. Better grey on the Korean. The US disc has darker patches where they shouldnt be.
Last edited by manicsounds on Wed Aug 12, 2015 8:29 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#100 Post by pro-bassoonist » Tue Aug 11, 2015 10:34 pm

OK, fair enough, Manic.

The quote you have does not clarify that additional work was done on the film -- not on the audio -- but if what you write is indeed true, then this is a very strange development because the Korean Film Archive was involved with the restoration and they worked with L'Immagine Ritrovata.

What is even stranger is that this restoration was also promoted at Cannes.

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