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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2014 10:20 pm 
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FerdinandGriffon wrote:
And what would be the "public" definition that I am somehow operating outside of? This seems like an especially suspect idea when talking about loose movements like modernism, characterized more by periods of intense stylistic diversity and experimentation than by any inherent qualities or shared intentions.

The consensus dates for the modernist period in literature is the end of 19th century and the end of WWII. While the precise start and end points are debatable, I find it hard to believe that you don't know what the generally understood time-frame is for the modernist period in literature. You're too literate (you're certainly better read than me) not to have encountered it.

Your own definition could well be better, more accurate, more interesting, ect., but it shouldn't go unstated. The 50's is contested ground.

FerdinandGriffon wrote:
Really? Though the technique is certainly in the post-modern toolkit (wielded with less subtlety than it had been previously, I'd say) it didn't appear there without precedent. And I'd point to the very clear examples of this in the work of writers like Kafka ("Before the Law", "The Great Wall of China", The Trial), Capek (The Insect Play) Akutagawa (Kappa) and Tanizaki ("The Tatooer") as evidence, writers who definitely made their mark on Abe.

Enough so that the common term for that kind of allegory is post-modern allegory (assuming we are talking about the same kind of allegoresis? Rereading your definition, I'm no longer sure I understand it). But there is nothing in post-modernism that hasn't been done before, so this does not compel me to reconsider my point. Also--and please correct me if I'm wrong--but modernism in Europe and North America shouldn't be conflated with modernism in traditions outside of it, like Japan, which develop out of separate movements and periods according to different time frames.

Also, that's exactly four writers, none of whom exemplify the period/movement (except maybe Kafka--whom I don't consider an allegorist anyway). So it's not so much "Modernist writers tend..." as "Some modernist writers have...".

FerdinandGriffon wrote:
Are you sure that Brooke-Rose was arguing that about the nouveau roman movement as a whole, or just Robbe-Grillet? Though that's certainly an interesting approach to R-G, it doesn't apply at all to say, Sarraute or Pinget.

Movement as a whole. If you're interested I can find you the whole quote. Don't have time right now.

Ferdinandgriffon wrote:
I'd also like to point out that many of Abe's works, like The Ruined Map (novel and film) and White Morning, are totally lacking in the fantastical elements you claim are characteristic, while still being of a clear and consistent piece with the rest of his oeuvre. And that many of the fantastical features of the films of Woman in the Dunes and The Face of Another should be attributed to Teshigahara, not Abe, whose original novels are presented in a much drier, essayistic and pseudo-scientific style, without recourse to the baroque visuals of the films.

Yes, I've read both Woman in the Dunes and Face of Another. I thought them fantasies well before I saw the Teshigahara films. I consider them fantasies for much the same reason I consider Nabokov's novels fantasies (I remember a blogger once saying that Abe's novels resembled Nabokov's more finely ground fantasies like Bend Sinister, now that I think of it). I define fantasy more widely than simply 'impossible happenings.'

Also, that straight-forward, naturalistic manner of narrating contextually-specific actions and psychologies you mention is one of the reasons I don't consider Abe a allegorist. It's also not a manner that, by itself, precludes fantasy. I think of Ballard's story The Drowned Giant for instance.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 2:32 am 
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EditWhoa, just saw the debate that happened after my last few posts.

To clarify (maybe?), I prefaced that entire comment with, "taken in the context of Pitfall..." The reason that odd preface is there is that originally my post was perhaps three times longer as I rambled about the complexities and contradictions of Woman of the Dunes, I read back my post, thought the first paragraph didn't make sense, added that preface because my first reaction to the film was strongly colored by having seen Pitfall--an explicitly political film to me--the night before. The other reactions I experienced while watching the film were much more varied and much harder to pin down, ultimately I deleted everything except what I posted because that was the clearest response I had at the time.

I don't think Woman of the Dunes is a political allegory at all, but I think it has a political component given the time of its making and the people making it.

The film is a fascinating and complex social critique that manages to be both remarkably specific to the micro level of the relationship between two people, and enormously wide ranging in the macro level of community, culture, tradition.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 3:57 pm 
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Mr Sausage wrote:
While the precise start and end points are debatable, I find it hard to believe that you don't know what the generally understood time-frame is for the modernist period in literature.
I am fully aware of the rough start and end times of modernism, but have never come across a convincing attempt to pin either down to a particular date, year, or historical event. As you say, the 50s are contested ground, so works produced during them require more intense scrutiny before categorization is possible than those produced in immediately adjacent decades would. However, I feel you've repeatedly implied that the nouveau roman or works from the late 40s and 50s in general are somehow fundamentally exempt from consideration as "late modernist" works, though your reasons for doing so remain vague, beyond the controversial 1945 cutoff date.

Mr Sausage wrote:
Also, that's exactly four writers, none of whom exemplify the period/movement (except maybe Kafka--whom I don't consider an allegorist anyway). So it's not so much "Modernist writers tend..." as "Some modernist writers have...".
I confined myself to writers who I knew Abe had been exposed to and admired, which necessarily limits me considerably given how little writing there is on him in English. Without that restriction I would add Doblin, Broch, Joyce, Borges, Bernanos, Bioy Casares, even Faulkner and Beckett upon occasion. And I don't know how we can even have this conversation if you're not willing to admit that Kafka wrote many stories that have the form and appearance of allegory (or fables or parables), even if their significance can not be pinned down to the same extent as in classical allegory. Especially as Kafka was perhaps the single most important literary influence upon Abe's work.

Mr Sausage wrote:
Also--and please correct me if I'm wrong--but modernism in Europe and North America shouldn't be conflated with modernism in traditions outside of it, like Japan, which develop out of separate movements and periods according to different time frames.
. I'm not sure why comparing Japanese modernism to French should be any more questionable than comparing French to American. In fact, I think Kawabata has a heck of a lot more to do with Proust than Hemingway does. Of course developments in national literatures are going to happen within different time frames from nation to nation, and shaped by related movements particular to those nations. But modernism was a global phenomenon, with major works being translated and disseminated across borders and between continents. Translations of Joyce and Proust appeared in Japan very early and immediately became part of domestic literary discourse, which had already been heavily influenced by European literature, especially the French novel and Scandinavian drama, for decades. What was happening in Japan concurrent to European modernism was even called modernism, or rather, modanizumu.

Mr. Sausage wrote:
Movement as a whole. If you're interested I can find you the whole quote.
If you happen to come across it again, please do let me know. Have read Brooke-Rose's translations before, but didn't know she was a novelist in her own right. I'll have to track some stuff down.

Mr Sausage wrote:
I define fantasy more widely than simply 'impossible happenings.'
As do I.

Mr Sausage wrote:
I don't consider Abe a allegorist.
He isn't essentially an allegorist, just a writer who employs partial or ambiguous allegories as one of many techniques to connect a fantasy to a recognizable external reality that is rendered strange and ambiguous through this connection. I'm arguing for the complexity of a writer who I feel is decidedly not either a simple fantasist or allegorist (or a political writer, as you characterized my argument earlier).


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 7:13 pm 
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FredinandGriffon wrote:
I am fully aware of the rough start and end times of modernism, but have never come across a convincing attempt to pin either down to a particular date, year, or historical event. As you say, the 50s are contested ground, so works produced during them require more intense scrutiny before categorization is possible than those produced in immediately adjacent decades would. However, I feel you've repeatedly implied that the nouveau roman or works from the late 40s and 50s in general are somehow fundamentally exempt from consideration as "late modernist" works, though your reasons for doing so remain vague, beyond the controversial 1945 cutoff date.

The reasons aren't just vague, they are non-existant. I have, at no point, offered or tried to offer or even to imply anything about how modernism ought to be defined. Let me be clear about this: I am clarifying your terms. I don't intend to offer my own. I have none.

FredinandGriffon wrote:
I confined myself to writers who I knew Abe had been exposed to and admired, which necessarily limits me considerably given how little writing there is on him in English. Without that restriction I would add Doblin, Broch, Joyce, Borges, Bernanos, Bioy Casares, even Faulkner and Beckett upon occasion. And I don't know how we can even have this conversation if you're not willing to admit that Kafka wrote many stories that have the form and appearance of allegory (or fables or parables), even if their significance can not be pinned down to the same extent as in classical allegory. Especially as Kafka was perhaps the single most important literary influence upon Abe's work.

I can only guess that you take the widest and most imprecise possible definition of allegory, then. Indeed, you conflate fable and parable with allegory in your Kafka line, which are similar modes but not the same (and of course I think Kafka wrote using fables and parables as forms). Applying allegory or even anagogy as a hermeneutic mode when reading Kafka has a long tradition, but I don't buy into it very much.

FerdinandGriffon wrote:
If you happen to come across it again, please do let me know. Have read Brooke-Rose's translations before, but didn't know she was a novelist in her own right. I'll have to track some stuff down.

Never read her fiction. I know her primarily as a literary critic and theorist. The passage is from A Rhetoric of the Unreal:

Christine Brooke-Rose wrote:
The 'nouveau ralisme' of the fifties, as it was then called, seems to me to mark a partial return to the seventeenth-century 'baroque' tradition, rediscovered in England during the twenties and thirties, and in France not until the forties, the French 'Baroque' poets having been more throughly over-shadowed than in England, indeed eliminated, by seventeenth and eighteenth-century French classicism and its long cultural aftermath. I say 'partial' because naturally such 'returns' are never total, too many other developments having occurred in between, notably, for the novel, that of realism.

It is interesting nevertheless that one modern study has defined the Baroque vision as having at its core "a systematic doubt in the validity of appearance, a doubt which expresses itself as an obsessive concern for appearance. Baroque poetry cannot 'imitate nature' as literally as either Renaissance or neoclassical poetry; in it the multiple realities of earthly experience are always melting together to emerge in new combination as the hard unity of art" (Warnke, 1961: 2)

She goes on to make a much more detailed analysis, which is too lengthy for me to quote.

Fredinand Griffon wrote:
I'm not sure why comparing Japanese modernism to French should be any more questionable than comparing French to American.

Because American, British, Irish, and French modernists were all intermingling at the time? Because that's been the tradition since Wilson's Axel's Castle analyzed the four along-side each other? Because Japan's traditions are far remoter from those four than the four are from each other?

But if you contend Japanese modernism is much the same thing, I'll take your word for it.

FerdinandGriffon wrote:
He isn't essentially an allegorist, just a writer who employs partial or ambiguous allegories as one of many techniques to connect a fantasy to a recognizable external reality that is rendered strange and ambiguous through this connection. I'm arguing for the complexity of a writer who I feel is decidedly not either a simple fantasist or allegorist (or a political writer, as you characterized my argument earlier).

"Partial or ambiguous" allegories aren't really, allegories, tho'. Partial allegory, if the idea makes sense at all, would just be symbolism. And I don't know what you mean by ambiguous: ambiguous in terms of what is being allegorized (in which case how are we identifying it as allegory?), or is the presence of allegory ambiguous? Plus this seems an unnecessary and over-complicated description of, say, Woman in the Dunes, which just uses the forms and techniques of realism to create the impression of a recognizable external reality. It's in the singularity and purity of the situation itself, and the intense, exclusive focus Abe gives to that situation, that the fantasy is derived. It seems you're interpreting the suggestion of a bizarre world operating behind the particulars of the story, whose rules and meanings we cannot know, as an allegory (or connected to the narrative through partial allegory or whatever plus a bunch of other techniques). I don't recognize how you're understanding allegory in this context. I'm unclear on most of your terms, actually.

Also, I can't tell if you aren't reading me, aren't remembering what you read, or just prefer to load your arguments with uncharitable or erroneous phrasings. You say I characterize your argument as that Abe is a "simple fantasist or allegorist (or a political writer...)" My actual words: "You: a complex political and social novelist who subsumed his ideas in ambiguous fantasies of a symbolic/allegoric nature."

We disagree. It's not because either of us is stupid or ignorant. We just have a difference of opinion. We've outlined our sides, can we stop arguing now and move on?


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PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2015 12:46 pm 
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Another Phantom Page associated with Man Without A Map, though the film is not currently available on Hulu: Etsuko Ishihara.

http://www.criterion.com/people/120833-etsuko-ichihara


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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 5:27 pm 
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Woman in the Dunes gets a Blu-ray upgrade in August


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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 5:29 pm 
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This is one of the more confusing upgrades in recent memory.

Is this actually a new transfer or is that just a holdover from the DVD?


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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 5:30 pm 
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Considering it's just listed as "high-definition" this could just be a blu-ray upgrade of an old master?


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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 5:34 pm 
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Does it mean the set is OOP now?

Never mind... It's OOP since October 2014.


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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 6:00 pm 
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Note that the "Supplements" disc from the box is also being included on the Dunes upgrade. Does Criterion no longer have the rights to the other two films, or might one of them turn up as another upgrade at some point?


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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 6:10 pm 
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All of the films are from Toho so there is no logical reason for this to leave one film in print if any have lost their rights.


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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 6:14 pm 
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They are still on Hulu. Seems like we've got a repeat of the Louis Malle box, where Au revoir les enfants got a blugrade with the all (?) of the extras from the (now OOP) box set's supplements disc.


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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 6:19 pm 
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I'm disappointed they didn't upgrade the entire set but this is easily my favorite announcement this month.


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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 7:13 pm 

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I thought about the Malle set comparison too. However, the remaining films of that set are available individually, with just the box going OOP.

The Teshigahara set isn't officially listed OOP, but you can't order it, and the the other films are still only available with it. What happens next is a mystery to me. Maybe we get upgrades of the remaining films (likely the best case scenario, now that a set upgrade seems but only a dream). Maybe when/if the box goes OOP, it takes the other two films with it (please, no!). Or maybe they reprint the whole set on DVD and put it in a plastic case??

I don't know, but I may lose sleep on this one.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 4:11 pm 
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Beaver in the Dunes


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 8:02 pm 
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Looks quite nice. I wish we were getting all three films as I prefer the other two. But I'm eager to revisit this film on Blu-ray.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 9:39 pm 

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Perhaps we are getting a new boxed set that includes A Ruined Map/The Man Without a Map in place of Dunes?


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 9:54 pm 
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Is that a fan mock up or official concept art?


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 9:58 pm 
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Fan cover.


Last edited by Gregory on Fri Jul 22, 2016 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 9:59 pm 
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It's a fan mockup.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 7:24 pm 

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Am I correct that the Criterion DVD never offered the shorter cut of Dunes via seamless branching, and so the Blu is unlikely to do so as well? In that case I'm glad I've saved my Asmik disc.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 12:14 pm 
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Jack Phillips wrote:
Am I correct that the Criterion DVD never offered the shorter cut of Dunes via seamless branching, and so the Blu is unlikely to do so as well? In that case I'm glad I've saved my Asmik disc.


Most likely not. They err on the side of what the director wants over any alternates, unless the alternates are of great significance or if the director approves its inclusion (i.e. the television edit of Brazil)

Criterion has never employed seamless branching on their releases.


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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 12:59 pm 

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Hi guys,

I am new to the Criterion Collection, so I don't really know all the tricks and how to "read the tea leaves" in terms of upcoming releases, so I apologize if this question is pointless.

But anyway, is there any chance that this set will be rereleased either on blu ray or DVD. I know that _The Woman in the Dunes_ is on blu ray, so should I just go ahead and buy that, or hold out for a rerelease of the box set?

Also, part of why I am asking, is I'm wondering if it's OOP status is a rights issue? Or was it not selling? I don't know. I guess any information or advice you guys could give me would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!


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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 7:47 pm 
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CyRo3 wrote:
I am new to the Criterion Collection, so I don't really know all the tricks and how to "read the tea leaves" in terms of upcoming releases, so I apologize if this question is pointless.

But anyway, is there any chance that this set will be rereleased either on blu ray or DVD. I know that _The Woman in the Dunes_ is on blu ray, so should I just go ahead and buy that, or hold out for a rerelease of the box set?

Also, part of why I am asking, is I'm wondering if it's OOP status is a rights issue? Or was it not selling? I don't know. I guess any information or advice you guys could give me would be greatly appreciated.
There should be no rights issues to the films - as they are all licensed from the same source (Toho). That they broke up the boxset and released Woman in the Dunes on its own was a surprise to all of us and really doesn't make any sense from any perspective. They've done this before with Au revoir les enfants and technically 400 Blows (part of a boxset, but also released individually). So there is precedence, but it really makes you wonder what's going on with the other films in the set and wonder when they will be released as well.

The only thing I can think of is that only Woman in the Dunes was HD ready, so they just decided to go ahead and release it on its own. They've also been more inclined to not boxset films lately - by breaking up the Demy and BBS sets with individual releases - as I guess boxsets don't sell as well as individual films in many cases. Although for a counterpoint - MOC took their Teshigahara OOP because they were such poor sellers that MOC didn't want to reprint another batch to just sit on them for another 10 years.

Whatever the case, Criterion hasn't lost the rights to the other two films and they'll most likely be released eventually. Until then, I'd suggest holding off paying exorbitant reseller prices and instead just watch them on Filmstruck.


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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 8:42 pm 
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They're all HD ready, as the DVD masters were HD and were/are on Hulu/Filmstruck.


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