918 The Color of Pomegranates

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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swo17
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918 The Color of Pomegranates

#1 Post by swo17 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:04 pm

The Color of Pomegranates

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A breathtaking fusion of poetry, ethnography, and cinema, Sergei Parajanov's masterwork overflows with images and sounds that burn into the memory. In a series of tableaux that blend the tactile with the abstract, The Color of Pomegranates revives the splendors of Armenian culture through the story of the eighteenth-century troubadour Sayat-Nova, charting his intellectual, artistic, and spiritual growth through iconographic compositions rather than traditional narrative. The film's tapestry of folklore and metaphor departed from the realism that dominated the Soviet cinema of its era, leading authorities to block its distribution, with rare underground screenings presenting it in a restructured form. This edition features the cut closest to Parajanov's original vision, in a restoration that brings new life to one of cinema's most enigmatic meditations on art and beauty.

SPECIAL FEATURES

• New 4K digital restoration, undertaken by The Film Foundation's World Cinema Project in collaboration with the Cineteca di Bologna, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
• New audio commentary featuring critic Tony Rayns
• New video essay on the film's symbols and references, featuring scholar James Steffen
• New interview with Steffen detailing the production of the film
Sergei Parajanov: The Rebel, a 2003 documentary about the filmmaker, featuring him and actor Sofiko Chiaureli
The Life of Sayat-Nova, a 1977 documentary about the Armenian poet who inspired The Color of Pomegranates
• New English subtitle translation
• PLUS: An essay by film scholar Ian Christie

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zedz
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Re: 918 The Color of Pomegranates

#2 Post by zedz » Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:43 pm

The long-overdue introduction to the collection of Paradzhanov and jsteffe!

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Re: 918 The Color of Pomegranates

#3 Post by yoshimori » Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:54 pm

I waited on CC for this one, but the Second Sight UK disc has the amazing 11-minute Kiev Frescoes, which is for me the most exciting extra in either set. And only the Armenian version? SS has both. "Sad!"
Last edited by yoshimori on Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 918 The Color of Pomegranates

#4 Post by swo17 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:57 pm

Plus both cuts and a 100 page book

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Ashirg
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Re: 918 The Color of Pomegranates

#5 Post by Ashirg » Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:58 pm

Disappointed by lack of some features that are on Second Sight's release like Levon Grigoryan's Memories About Sayat Nova (2006) or Parajanov's short Kiev Frescoes

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Re: 918 The Color of Pomegranates

#6 Post by zedz » Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:01 pm

I'm probably getting both. The Second Sight has both versions of the film and a lot more critical and contextual content as well as the short and a big book.

EDIT: As everybody has already pointed out!

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Re: 918 The Color of Pomegranates

#7 Post by swo17 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:06 pm

The Criterion at least has an exclusive Tony Rayns commentary.

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Re: 918 The Color of Pomegranates

#8 Post by jsteffe » Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:59 pm

Honestly, I recommend getting both if you can afford it, since they have non-overlapping and complementary special features. Personally, I'm excited by the new, more complete subtitle translation that Criterion has commissioned.

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Luke M
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Re: 918 The Color of Pomegranates

#9 Post by Luke M » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:00 pm

Is the transfer going to be pretty similar on both releases? I see a 4k restoration vs a 2k restoration on the Second Sight.

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Re: 918 The Color of Pomegranates

#10 Post by swo17 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:02 pm

This review suggests the Second Sight is also 4K sourced.

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Re: 918 The Color of Pomegranates

#11 Post by DeprongMori » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:07 pm

The “2K restoration” in the Second Sight only refers to the short film Kiev Frescoes, not to the feature film, which is a 4K restoration.

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Re: 918 The Color of Pomegranates

#12 Post by jsteffe » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:35 pm

Both Criterion and Second Sight editions use the same Film Foundation/World Cinema Project 4K restoration of the original Armenian release version. The great majority of it comes directly from the camera negative. I think the most obvious improvement from what we have seen before is in the revelation of fine detail and texture, some of which I have not seen before even on 35mm prints.

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Re: 918 The Color of Pomegranates

#13 Post by Rayon Vert » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:31 pm

Damn, zedz made me buy the Second Sight for the biopics list.

Just kidding, zedz - though I'll probably end up getting the Criterion also for the commentary.

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Re: 918 The Color of Pomegranates

#14 Post by SSF » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:55 am

Two new documentaries by Mikhail Vartanov have been added to this release.

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Re: 918 The Color of Pomegranates

#15 Post by jsteffe » Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:36 am

SSF wrote:Two new documentaries by Mikhail Vartanov have been added to this release.
That's great news, thanks for the alert!

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Re: 918 The Color of Pomegranates

#16 Post by L.A. » Thu Mar 08, 2018 4:35 pm

Beaver.

I think I’ll get the Criterion as well because of the interesting extras and also:
jsteffe wrote:Personally, I'm excited by the new, more complete subtitle translation that Criterion has commissioned.


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Re: 918 The Color of Pomegranates

#18 Post by jsteffe » Wed Apr 11, 2018 3:27 pm

Thanks, Ashirg. As I mention in the blog entry, the problems with the audio track in the restoration have been fixed as much as possible on both the Criterion and Second Sight Blu-ray/DVD releases, though they were required to retain the restoration's color timing.

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Re: 918 The Color of Pomegranates

#19 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:42 pm

What are LUTs (look up tables) and why would they be able to mess things up without anyone noticing -- until too late?

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Re: 918 The Color of Pomegranates

#20 Post by jsteffe » Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:41 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:What are LUTs (look up tables) and why would they be able to mess things up without anyone noticing -- until too late?
I wonder whether this part of the discussion should be moved to another thread?

I am still learning about all of this myself. Wikipedia offers basic definitions of color management and 3D LUTs, but obviously there is a lot more to say. Apparently part of the challenge is that you may need to convert between different color spaces depending on your working space and the output medium (such as film, DCP, standard Rec.709 digital video, etc.). If everything isn't set up correctly at every step in the chain, when you are working on a project you might see correct color on your monitor but the output could turn out significantly different. I'm happy to be corrected on any of this.

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Re: 918 The Color of Pomegranates

#21 Post by movielocke » Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:49 pm

I'm in television, not in restoration, but, ymmv:

LUTs are a set of color-interpretation values embedded in the meta data of a video clip file.

Someone may never notice because they're reviewing the material on extremely high end, professional, equipment, and they're only watching back the final from the computer, where everything is perfect, but also because they want to tweak and make changes, if you're reviewing from playback of a DCP, you can't just start making changes, if you're reviewing from playback of an HDCAMSR tape, changes in your sequence have to be punched into the tape. And blurays are really only going to be reviewed by QC people, not people involved with the restoration work.

And watching anything in a professional screening room, particularly a studio screening room, is a wildly different experience from any other projection, 3D is always phenomenal, for example.

LUTs have come into heavy use on the production side because digital cameras naturally shoot very low contrast (to allow for the best final grade), but most people do not like the look of very low contrast. So the DP programs a non destructive LUT at applied at time of capture so that on-set playback can approximate the proper look. This LUT can also inform post what the clip is supposed to look like.

Once the clips are in the computer system LUTs can go wrong (and right it's worth pointing out) in so many different ways. anyone handling the footage could inadvertently burn the LUT into the computer's MXF file by merely selecting (or de-selecting) the wrong toggle when ingesting. You can easily disable a LUT via a right click, or apply any of innumerable other LUTs. The menus navigating the LUTs in avid are... opaque is a good term, but iirc, they're not as bad in Resolve. Also it's rather easy for a LUT to get applied twice by the computer software, as simple as someone saying "that clip looks off to me, better apply the LUT" not realizing they're applying the LUT a second time, and doubling up the changes. It is also not uncommon for someone in post to simply decide that LUTs are far too problematic to deal with and completely delete them off the clips entirely, working only with low contrast media while cutting.

But for the most part, none of this is permanent, only once you get to final grading are permanent decisions made, and usually directors and dps are involved at this stage. A Colorist is going to receive a video reference file of what it is supposed to look like with LUTs (if post kept the LUTs), and then then colorist generally will delete all the LUTs and grade the entire sequence from the raw media. Many colorists will brag about never looking at a low res reference file until they've done their first pass because they believe all LUTs are garbage, or they don't want to be biased to go a certain direction simply because of the LUT.

Finally, the color space of different deliverable formats may require the implementation of different LUT after a final grade is completed so that the graded master will be correctly reproduced in the final format color space. So if you're making a 4K DCP, you're going to be in D3 color space, while a 4K broadcast might be in Rec2020, and your normal HD is going to be in rec.709. All of these will interpret color in subtle and different ways, and the color shifts you're going to be able to notice the most will be on neutral backgrounds of white or black.

there's also an interpretive angle to a DCP in that perhaps the color space LUT should be manipulated to reflect the typical color temperature of a projection bulb at the time and place of a film's release. In general, the color temperature of a projection bulb is going to have an enormous impact on how the colors of a print are displayed on the screen, shifting them little (if they are graded to the correct kind of bulb) or potentially substantially.

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Re: 918 The Color of Pomegranates

#22 Post by hearthesilence » Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:53 pm

I'm a little skeptical that the revisionist color grading is actually a problem with the workflow - not only has this happened multiple times, the choices have been called out publicly by more than a few individuals. It seems like a poor and deliberate choice.

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Re: 918 The Color of Pomegranates

#23 Post by jsteffe » Wed Apr 11, 2018 6:15 pm

I don't know how much it helps, but the color shifts that I write about have been consistently present and more or less identical at the various DCP screenings I attended both in the U.S. and abroad, and on the Blu-rays. This included the big screening at Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna. I did not see any of the earlier stages of work.

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Re: 918 The Color of Pomegranates

#24 Post by tenia » Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:50 am

It's been suggested that it's indeed a conscious choice from mostly Ritrovata. The issue is not realising it doesnt match any practical thing for the viewer.

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Re: 918 The Color of Pomegranates

#25 Post by Finch » Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:28 am

Reading about these issues really dampens my enthusiasm for any potential restorations of Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors (which I vastly prefer to Pomegranates) because, frankly, what are the chances of anyone other than Ritrovata doing it?

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