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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 2:04 pm 
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Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Project No. 1

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Established by Martin Scorsese in 2007, the World Cinema Project expands the horizons of moviegoers everywhere. The mission of the WCP is to preserve and present marginalized and infrequently screened films from regions generally ill equipped to preserve their own cinema history. This collector’s set brings together six superb films from countries around the globe, including Senegal (Touki bouki), Mexico (Redes), India and Bangladesh (A River Called Titas), Turkey (Dry Summer), Morocco (Trances), and South Korea (The Housemaid). Each is a cinematic revelation, depicting a culture not often seen by outsiders on-screen.

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Touki bouki

With a stunning mix of the surreal and the naturalistic, Djibril Diop Mambéty paints a vivid, fractured portrait of Senegal in the early 1970s. In this French New Wave–influenced fantasy-drama, two young lovers long to leave Dakar for the glamour and comforts of France, but their escape plan is beset by complications both concrete and mystical. Characterized by dazzling imagery and music, the alternately manic and meditative Touki bouki is widely considered one of the most important African films ever made.

Redes

Early in his career, the Austrian-born future Oscar winner Fred Zinnemann codirected with Emilio Gómez Muriel the politically and emotionally searing Redes. In this vivid, documentary-like dramatization of the daily grind of men struggling to make a living by fishing on the Gulf of Mexico (mostly played by real-life fishermen), one worker's terrible loss instigates a political awakening among him and his fellow laborers. A singular coming together of talents, Redes, commissioned by a progressive Mexican government, was cowritten and gorgeously shot by the legendary photographer Paul Strand.

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A River Called Titas

The Bengali filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak's stunningly beautiful, elegiac saga concerns the tumultuous lives of people in fishing villages along the banks of the Titas River in pre-Partition East Bengal. Focusing on the tragic intertwining fates of a series of fascinating characters—in particular, the indomitable widow Basanti—Ghatak tells the poignant story of an entire community’s vanishing way of life. Made soon after Bangladesh became an independent nation, the elliptical, painterly A River Called Titas is a grand epic from a director who has had a devoted following for decades.

Dry Summer

Winner of the prestigious Golden Bear at the 1964 Berlin International Film Festival, Metin Erksan's wallop of a melodrama follows the machinations of an unrepentantly selfish tobacco farmer who builds a dam to prevent water from flowing downhill to his neighbors' crops. Alongside this tale of soul-devouring competition is one of overheated desire, as a love triangle develops between the farmer, his more decent brother, and the beautiful villager the latter takes as his bride. A benchmark of Turkish cinema, this is a visceral, innovatively shot and vibrantly acted depiction of the horrors of greed.

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Trances

The beloved Moroccan band Nass El Ghiwane is the dynamic subject of this captivating musical documentary. Storytellers through song, with connections to political theater, the band became an international sensation (Western music critics have often referred to them as "the Rolling Stones of North Africa") thanks to their political lyrics and sublime, fully acoustic sound, which draws on the Moroccan trance music tradition. Both a concert movie and a free-form audiovisual experiment, Ahmed El Maânouni's Trances is cinematic poetry.

The Housemaid

A torrent of sexual obsession, revenge, and betrayal is unleashed under one roof in this venomous melodrama from South Korean master Kim Ki-young. Immensely popular in its home country when it was released, The Housemaid is the thrilling, at times jaw-dropping story of the devastating effect an unstable housemaid has on the domestic cocoon of a bourgeois, morally dubious music teacher, his devoted wife, and their precocious young children. Grim and taut yet perched on the border of the absurd, Kim's film is an engrossing tale of class warfare and familial disintegration that has been hugely influential on the new generation of South Korean filmmakers.

SPECIAL FEATURES

• New high-definition digital restorations of all six films, undertaken by the World Cinema Project in collaboration with the Cineteca di Bologna, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-rays
• New introductions to the films by World Cinema Project founder Martin Scorsese
New interview programs featuring filmmakers Abderrahmane Sissako (on Touki bouki), Kumar Shahani (on A River Called Titas), Metin Erksan and Fatih Akın (on Dry Summer), and Bong Joon-ho (on The Housemaid)
• New visual essay on Redes by filmmaker and critic Kent Jones
• New interview program on Trances featuring filmmaker Ahmed El Maânouni, producer Izza Génini, and musician Omar Sayed
• New English subtitle translations
• Three Blu-rays and six DVDs, with all content available in both formats
• PLUS: A booklet featuring essays on the films by Charles Ramirez Berg, Bilge Ebiri, Kyung Hyun Kim, Adrian Martin, Richard Porton, and Sally Shafto


Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Project No. 2

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Established by Martin Scorsese in 2007, the Film Foundation's World Cinema Project has maintained a passionate commitment to preserving and presenting masterpieces from around the globe, with a growing roster of more than two dozen restorations that have introduced moviegoers to often-overlooked areas of cinema history. This collector's set gathers six important works, from the Philippines (Insiang), Thailand (Mysterious Object at Noon), Soviet Kazakhstan (Revenge), Brazil (Limite), Turkey (Law of the Border), and Taiwan (Taipei Story). Each title is an essential contribution to the art form and a window onto a filmmaking tradition that international audiences previously had limited opportunities to experience.

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Revenge

Early in the twentieth century, a child is raised in Korea with a single purpose: to avenge the death of his father's first child. This is the crux of Revenge, a decades-spanning tale of obsession and violence, and the third collaboration between director Ermek Shinarbaev and writer Anatoli Kim. As much about Eastern philosophy and poetry as it is about everyday acts of evil, this haunting allegory was the first Soviet film to look at the Korean diaspora in Kazakhstan and Central Asia, and a founding work of the Kazakh New Wave. Rigorous and psychologically complex, Revenge weaves together luminous color imagery and inventive narrative elements in its unforgettable meditation on the way trauma can be passed down through generations.

Limite

An astonishing work of creative expression, Limite is the sole feature by the Brazilian filmmaker and author Mário Peixoto, made when he was just twenty-two years old. Inspired by a haunting André Kertész photograph Peixoto saw on the cover of a French magazine, this avant-garde silent masterpiece centers on a man and two women lost at sea, their pasts unfolding through meticulously orchestrated flashbacks propelled by the music of Erik Satie, Claude Debussy, Igor Stravinsky, and others. One of the earliest works of independent Latin American filmmaking, Limite was for most of the twentieth century famously difficult to see. It is a pioneering achievement of Brazilian cinema that continues to captivate with its timeless visual poetry.

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Insiang

Jealousy and violence take center stage in the sweltering, claustrophobic melodrama Insiang, a beautifully acted and tautly constructed character study set in the slums of Manila. Director Lino Brocka crafts an eviscerating portrait of women scorned, led by Filipina stars Hilda Koronel and Mona Lisa, who portray an innocent daughter and her bitter mother. Insiang (Koronel) leads a quiet life dominated by household duties, but after she is raped by her mother's brutish lover and abandoned by the young man who claims to care for her, she exacts vicious revenge. A savage commentary on the degradation of urban social conditions under modern capitalism, Insiang introduced Filipino cinema to international audiences by being the first film from the country ever to play at Cannes.

Mysterious Object at Noon

As a recent film-school graduate, Apichatpong Weerasethakul brought an appetite for experimentation to Thai cinema with this debut feature, an uncategorizable work that refracts documentary impressions of the director's native country through the concept of the exquisite corpse game. Enlisting locals to contribute their own improvised narration to a simple tale, Apichatpong charts the collective construction of the fiction as each new encounter imbues it with unpredictable shades of fantasy and pathos. Shot over the course of two years in 16 mm black and white, this playful investigation of the art of storytelling established the fascination with the porous boundaries between the real and the imagined that the director has continued to explore.

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Law of the Border

Set along the Turkish-Syrian frontier, this terse, elemental tale of smugglers contending with a changing social landscape brought together two giants of Turkish cinema. Director Lütfi Ö. Akad had already made some of his country's most notable films when he was approached by Yilmaz Güney—a rising action star who would become Turkey's most important and controversial filmmaker—to collaborate on this neo-western about a quiet man who finds himself pitted against his fellow outlaws. Combining documentary authenticity with a tough, lean poetry, Law of the Border transformed the nation's cinema forever—even though it was virtually impossible to see for many years.

Taipei Story

Edward Yang's second feature is a mournful anatomy of a city caught between the past and the present. Made in collaboration with Yang's fellow New Taiwan Cinema master Hou Hsiao-hsien, who cowrote the screenplay and helped finance the project, Taipei Story chronicles the growing estrangement between a washed-up baseball player (Hou, in a rare on-screen performance) working in his family's textile business and his girlfriend (pop star Tsai Chin), who clings to the upward mobility of her career in property development. As the couple's dreams of marriage and emigration begin to unravel, Yang's gaze illuminates the precariousness of domestic life and the desperation of Taiwan's globalized modernity.

SPECIAL FEATURES

• 2K, 3K, or 4K digital restorations of all six films, presented courtesy of the World Cinema Project in collaboration with the Cineteca di Bologna, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-rays
• Remastered digital soundtrack of Limite created almost entirely from archival recordings of the same musical performances director Mário Peixote and his musical arranger Brutus Pedreira originally selected to accompany the film, presented in uncompressed monaural sound on the Blu-ray
• New introductions to the films by World Cinema Project founder Martin Scorsese
• New interview programs featuring film historian Pierre Rissient (on Insiang), director Apichatpong Weerasethakul (on Mysterious Object at Noon), director Ermek Shinarbaev (on Revenge), filmmaker Walter Salles (on Limite), producer Mevlüt Akkaya (on Law of the Border), and actor and cowriter Hou Hsiao-hsien with filmmaker Edmond Wong (on Taipei Story)
• Updated English subtitle translations
• Three Blu-rays and six DVDs, with all content available in both formats
• PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by Phillip Lopate, Dennis Lim, Kent Jones, Fábio Andrade, Bilge Ebiri, and Andrew Chan


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 2:07 pm 
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That leaves off two of the titles on Hulu.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 2:09 pm 

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So two of the three MoC World Cinema Foundation releases are in Criterion's first set. I suppose the question would be how long before Criterion puts out another one of these? Maybe next December?


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 2:09 pm 
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knives wrote:
That leaves off two of the titles on Hulu.

Surely there will be further volumes?


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 2:18 pm 
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There is a giant "1" on the cover, so I assume that there will be more volumes.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 2:29 pm 
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Wow, Criterion's really doubling down on the giant box sets lately- I wonder if that's why Eclipse titles have been so noticeably lacking. I assume the distribution will be two films per blu and one per DVD?


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 2:31 pm 
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The specs promise "Three Blu-rays and six DVDs" so presumably yes.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:21 pm 
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Looks like it has more extras than MoC does. I wonder if the introductions will be the same as the 'exclusive' ones on the MoC release...


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:25 pm 
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dwk wrote:
There is a giant "1" on the cover, so I assume that there will be more volumes.

Actually it looks like a ".1", so maybe it's only 1/10 of the first volume or version .1 of the first voume, which they'll upgrade to version .2 when the other 2 are ready to be added to the package.

I watched The Housemaid (which I enjoyed) & started to watch Redes (which I found too dull to finish) and I couldn't get to far into A River Called Titash to find the acting too contrived. Can't say I'm compelled to pay even the B&N sale price for 3 blu-rays. I really do like world cinema & would love to support Scorsese's project so that there are more, but this particular selection is something I'd only pick up at a bargain price. Even the B&N sale can't entice me to try a $125/ 3 blu-ray box. Hopefully the next set contains a richer selection.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:27 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:19 pm
Off the top of my head, the extras on this release seem to beat the ones on the MoC.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:51 pm 
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Lowry_Sam wrote:
I watched The Housemaid (which I enjoyed) & started to watch Redes (which I found too dull to finish) and I couldn't get to far into A River Called Titash to find the acting too contrived. Can't say I'm compelled to pay even the B&N sale price for 3 blu-rays. I really do like world cinema & would love to support Scorsese's project so that there are more, but this particular selection is something I'd only pick up at a bargain price. Even the B&N sale can't entice me to try a $125/ 3 blu-ray box. Hopefully the next set contains a richer selection.

So you are gonna ignore the other three films you haven't seen when you get the set at bargain price? Come on now Touki bouki alone should justify half the price. First African film to hit blu-ray (correct me if I'm wrong)!

EDIT: Morocco is also an African country...


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 4:00 pm 
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Lowry_Sam wrote:
dwk wrote:
There is a giant "1" on the cover, so I assume that there will be more volumes.

Actually it looks like a ".1", so maybe it's only 1/10 of the first volume or version .1 of the first voume, which they'll upgrade to version .2 when the other 2 are ready to be added to the package.

I watched The Housemaid (which I enjoyed) & started to watch Redes (which I found too dull to finish) and I couldn't get to far into A River Called Titash to find the acting too contrived. Can't say I'm compelled to pay even the B&N sale price for 3 blu-rays. I really do like world cinema & would love to support Scorsese's project so that there are more, but this particular selection is something I'd only pick up at a bargain price. Even the B&N sale can't entice me to try a $125/ 3 blu-ray box. Hopefully the next set contains a richer selection.

No, that's definitely a "No." as in "Number".
I wonder why "number" is abbreviated as "no".


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 4:04 pm 
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Yaanu wrote:
No, that's definitely a "No." as in "Number".
I wonder why "number" is abbreviated as "no".

Latin n[umer]o.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 4:10 pm 

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Lowry_Sam wrote:
I watched The Housemaid (which I enjoyed) & started to watch Redes (which I found too dull to finish) and I couldn't get to far into A River Called Titash to find the acting too contrived. Can't say I'm compelled to pay even the B&N sale price for 3 blu-rays. I really do like world cinema & would love to support Scorsese's project so that there are more, but this particular selection is something I'd only pick up at a bargain price. Even the B&N sale can't entice me to try a $125/ 3 blu-ray box. Hopefully the next set contains a richer selection.

Every title the WCF has restored so far is listed on their webpage, so one can always make a prejudgement on all the other titles in any future release right now. But the only way to judge the richness of any of these titles is to actually watch them.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 4:16 pm 
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Touki Bouki came in at no. 93 on the 2012 Sight & Sound critics' poll. Which suggests that it has some passing cultural merit.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 4:21 pm 
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The only WCF titles I've seen (Limite, A Brighter Summer Day, The Night of Counting the Years) aren't included in this set, but they're all excellent, nay, worthy of their own standalone release.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 4:26 pm 
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People here on this forum and elsewhere have been complaining for a long time that CC neglects some of the lesser known film regions and constantly focuses on the usual suspects and countries, so having a set like this and in BD no less, I find more than laudable.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 4:28 pm 
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So Criterion announces one of their long-anticipated major releases. It's exemplary, and it addresses some of the consistent recurring complaints about their release schedule (e.g. safe selections, dwindling extras, the lack of coverage of entire continents, where the hell are the WCF titles?)

How long before somebody's pissing and moaning about the release? Eight posts. Way to go, Criterion Forum!


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 4:34 pm 
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This set looks great and I hope that Criterion releases more WCF restorations in the future. I am especially keen to see the restoration of Chadi Abdel Salam's The Mummy/The Night of Counting the Years, which one of my friends swears is the greatest Egyptian film. At any rate, between Criterion and the upcoming Masters of Cinema sets we should be in good shape.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 4:35 pm 
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Unless Limiteand Yang's Brighter Summer Day get their own stand-alone releases, that's a possibility, the simple math works out to the WCF having two more volumes, at an average of six titles per set, unless WCF decides to restore more titles and make them available to Criterion. This relationship makes for an interesting sub-licensing opportunity with Criterion, almost an Eclipse 2.0.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 4:37 pm 
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jsteffe wrote:
This set looks great and I hope that Criterion releases more WCF restorations in the future. I am especially keen to see the restoration of Chadi Abdel Salam's The Mummy/The Night of Counting the Years, which one of my friends swears is the greatest Egyptian film.

Obviously I haven't seen every Egyptian film, but I've yet to see any evidence that this isn't the case.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 4:40 pm 
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It's easily the best of the three Egyptian movies I've seen.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 4:53 pm 

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zedz wrote:
So Criterion announces one of their long-anticipated major releases. It's exemplary, and it addresses some of the consistent recurring complaints about their release schedule (e.g. safe selections, dwindling extras, the lack of coverage of entire continents, where the hell are the WCF titles?)

How long before somebody's pissing and moaning about the release? Eight posts. Way to go, Criterion Forum!


Yeah, complaining about this one, of all releases, is really poor form. I have not seen any of these films, but the package certainly has it's heart in the right place, and fulfills Criterions mission statement better than most.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:43 pm 
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So two titles overlap with the Masters Of Cinema boxset....
and the audio commentary from the "Housemaid" DVD is not ported over.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:47 pm 

Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:26 pm
I wish Adrian Martin had done a commentary on whichever film he's writing about. seriously, one of the best speakers out there.


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