New Silent Films from DFI

Milestone, Flicker Alley, Oscilloscope, Cinema Guild...they're all here.
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tryavna
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 4:38 pm
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#1 Post by tryavna » Fri Jun 30, 2006 3:36 pm

Doesn't look like we've ever had a thread dedicated to the Danish Film Institute (DFI), so I didn't know whether I should have posted this under Boutique or International. (Mods can move as they see fit.) Anyway....

Some folks might like to know that, after several months of being down, the DFI's online store is back up, and they're set to release two new DVDs: August Blom's Atlantis (1914) and two films by A.W. Sandberg. You can read descriptions at the top of their new releases page.

Or you can see all nine of their "Danish Silent Classics" releases here.

Now that their store is finally back online, I guess it's high time I buy their two Dreyer releases (and maybe their one Christensen, too). Does anybody know what the DFI charges to ship to the U.S.? I can see the prices for the DVDs themselves but can't locate an English-language page on delivery rates.

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Scharphedin2
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 7:37 am
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#2 Post by Scharphedin2 » Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:04 pm

Tryavna, this is good news, and being a Dane, I am ashamed to say that I do not yet own any of the Film Institute's releases... something I will of course remedy very soon.

I looked at the site, and apparently the English version of the ordering instructions are not yet up. However they can be found here in Danish.

150 Danish kroner translates into $25 (as far as I can make out this is regardless of the number of discs ordered) :cry: ... and here I thought that American e-tailers were robbing me on their freight rates

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Ashirg
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#3 Post by Ashirg » Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:04 pm

Atlantis is also available at Edition Filmmuseum shop

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Scharphedin2
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#4 Post by Scharphedin2 » Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:15 pm

Ashirg wrote:Atlantis is also available at Edition Filmmuseum shop
Yes, in fact they offer all of DFI's releases at basically the same price as DFI, but with slightly lower freight rates (available in English :D )

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tryavna
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#5 Post by tryavna » Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:22 pm

Thanks to both of you for the info. Looks like the Edition Filmmuseum shop is a slightly better deal. Strangely enough, though, Amazon.de offers better prices on Edition Filmmuseum's own DVDs.

Hmmm, now that I'm enthusiastically multi-regional, I have a much better sense of what our international friends here have been dealing with for years....

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Scharphedin2
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#6 Post by Scharphedin2 » Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:39 pm

To give you a little further insight, the authorities here levy a 25% VAT on goods (this is included in the prices you see at DFI -- and technically you really should not pay this, since your exporting the goods).

This we are also charged, when importing DVDs from outside EU. In addition, we are charged another 5% in customs, and then UPS (or another courier) will advance this payment to the customoms office, and charge you another flat fee of about $40 for that service.

It is all just "money," and the films are worth it many times over in the end. However, the Danish state sure is profitting far more than anyone else on my DVD purchases abroad.

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Tommaso
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#7 Post by Tommaso » Sun Jul 02, 2006 6:34 am

Great label apparently and I totally overlooked it. Any recommendations apart from the Dreyer DVDs (really obvious choices)? Has anyone seen that Asta Nielsen dvd? A fascinating actress, but sadly almost nothing seems to be available with her...

BrightEyes23
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#8 Post by BrightEyes23 » Sun Jul 02, 2006 7:28 am

i enjoyed the bejamin christenson disc quite a lot, i plan on renting the Alfred Lind and Asta Neilsen discs from nicheflix as soon as a couple of more discs i wanna see get back in stock (a la carte)

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zedz
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#9 Post by zedz » Sun Jul 02, 2006 7:02 pm

tryavna wrote:Doesn't look like we've ever had a thread dedicated to the Danish Film Institute (DFI), so I didn't know whether I should have posted this under Boutique or International. (Mods can move as they see fit.)
This label definitely deserves a sticky. I only have the Christensen set, which is absolutely essential - two of the greatest films of the teens in lovely presentations - and Dreyer's Der Var Engang, which is drastically incomplete but magnificent, and will give you a new understanding of the director. The first half is really eccentric comedy (reminds me of Dr Seuss, somehow) and the second half has some sublime location work (Kurosawan forests).

Any further information on the best / cheapest ways to get DFI titles would be greatly appreciated.

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peerpee
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#10 Post by peerpee » Sun Jul 09, 2006 1:20 am

Their new catalogue (pdf).

Update coming soon at Masters of Cinema.

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HerrSchreck
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#11 Post by HerrSchreck » Sun Jul 09, 2006 4:31 am

I hope you guys caught that DFI is coming out with LEAVES FROM SATAN'S BOOK, which I'd imagine is going to be taken from the pristine nitrate seen in MY METIER, which means we can throw out that relatively new highly degraded disc from Shepard (with the actual maple leaves on the cover).

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peerpee
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#12 Post by peerpee » Sun Jul 09, 2006 8:25 am

I've seen Nordisk's master of LEAVES FROM SATAN'S BOOK, which I hope is similar to what the DFI have. It's longer and looks better than the Image disc, and of course, will have original intertitles left intact.

ShishidoJo
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#13 Post by ShishidoJo » Sun Sep 24, 2006 5:43 pm

I'm interested in buying one of the DVDs purchasable at the DFI online store, but I don't exactly understand how to input my address, since it never asks for information about what state I live in. I'd assume that you'd put it next to the city (i.e. "Dallas, Texas"), but I'm not sure. Has anyone in the U.S. ever ordered from them?

Sorry to ask a stupid question, but I'd be quite a nuisance to be charged $25 only to find out that I input my address incorrectly.

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ola t
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#14 Post by ola t » Mon Feb 26, 2007 12:28 pm

Leaves from Satan's Book will be released on March 13. Here's what the DFI say about the restoration:
The version that was distributed in several foreign markets included, towards the end of the film, a title that was meant to spare the audience from having to leave the theatre too depressed about
SpoilerShow
Siri's sad fate. As her husband rushes to her and takes her in his arms, the title asks: "Back to life. Shalt - shalt not. SHALT!"
This ending, which was not the one preferred by Dreyer, is included as an extra on the DVD that is being released [on March 13]. The restoration of the film entailed, among other things, removing some titles that anticipated this "happy end", and re-editing some other titles that had been put in the wrong place. The lighting has also been adjusted all through the film, and it now conforms as closely as possible to Dreyer's original intentions.
The DVD will include a piano score perfomed by one of the DFI's household pianists, Ronen Thalmay, and which is based on a surviving original score for the film.

On the day of release, there will be a screening at Cinemateket in Copenhagen, with Thalmay playing live and a half-hour introduction by Casper Tybjerg. It looks like it will be a digital projection; I take it this is not a film-based restoration, then? Anyway, I've booked my ticket!

Ledos
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#15 Post by Ledos » Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:43 am

Which of these two endings is presented on the Image release?

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ola t
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#16 Post by ola t » Wed Feb 28, 2007 2:13 am

Just had a quick look at the Image disc and it doesn't have the alteration that the DFI described. So it's Dreyer's preferred ending, I guess.

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HerrSchreck
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#17 Post by HerrSchreck » Fri Oct 10, 2008 5:14 pm

I've now seen DFI's fabulous Leaves From Satan's Book, which looks precisely like the camera-neg quality print of the film seen in My Metier-- a fabulous release. I've also seen the two Christensen films-- Mysterious X, and Blind Justice-- excellent releases.

Also have seen Atlantis/The End of the World -- fantastic release of pristine quality prints.

I have the Lind films, yet have still to go thru them beyond marvelling at the fabulous quality of the prints.

I don't know if these films didn't travel much beyond Denmark, thereby keeping the fine-grains and original negs in very good condition.. or that the Danes were just exemplary in the zone of preservation from getgo (these films are from the teens, man)-- either way, major kudos to these guys.

More!

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Knappen
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#18 Post by Knappen » Sat Oct 11, 2008 8:45 am

May I add that the DFI gave top-quality service with shipping the day after I placed my order? Price was very reasonable too, though shipping outside Scandinavia may be a bit more expensive?
Last edited by Knappen on Tue Oct 14, 2008 8:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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tojoed
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#19 Post by tojoed » Sat Oct 11, 2008 1:01 pm

I bought "Leaves from Satan's Book" from the DFI. Total price was 30 euros with shipping to the UK. Edition Filmmuseum charge less for shipping, but the disc price is about 7 euros higher.

All in all, it works out the same price. So I would choose the one with the best delivery record.

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Erikht
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Re:

#20 Post by Erikht » Fri Jun 19, 2009 4:40 am

tojoed wrote:I bought "Leaves from Satan's Book" from the DFI. Total price was 30 euros with shipping to the UK. Edition Filmmuseum charge less for shipping, but the disc price is about 7 euros higher.

All in all, it works out the same price. So I would choose the one with the best delivery record.
I have shopped at DFI, and if you are unsure about anything, just write an e-mail to them, and they will set everything right. If you live in the US, write them and ask what to do about the State/City problem.

I bought "Leaves out of the book of Satan" ant "The end of the world/A trip to Mars", and after about a week I got it in the mail (I live in Norway). What I got was "Leaves out of..." and the Psilander DVD. I wrote them back, and four days later my original order was in my mailbox with a lot of excuses, and a nice note asking me to please keep the Psilander DVD. All in all I think that was excellent service. I don't think they do many mistakes, and if they do any, they put them right immediately.

Conclusion: I would not hesitate to buy from them, nor to ask them about anything I wondered about in a nice e-mail.

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Tommaso
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Re: New Silent Films from DFI

#21 Post by Tommaso » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:30 am

The only thing that makes me worry is that after the release of "Satan's Book", their silent film releases seem to have completely dried up. Not a single film in the last two years or so. If they limit their releases to films actually made in Denmark, do they think that they've released everything important? I know too little about Danish silents to say what else might be interesting and is still unreleased, but I imagine that there is still a lot of valuable stuff out there that no has seen. And if they go for Danish directors as a criterion, Dreyer's "Die Gezeichneten" and "Bride of Glomdal" should be no-brainers, even though these films were made in other countries.

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Scharphedin2
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Re: New Silent Films from DFI

#22 Post by Scharphedin2 » Fri Jun 19, 2009 1:45 pm

Tommaso wrote:The only thing that makes me worry is that after the release of "Satan's Book", their silent film releases seem to have completely dried up. Not a single film in the last two years or so. If they limit their releases to films actually made in Denmark, do they think that they've released everything important? I know too little about Danish silents to say what else might be interesting and is still unreleased, but I imagine that there is still a lot of valuable stuff out there that no has seen. And if they go for Danish directors as a criterion, Dreyer's "Die Gezeichneten" and "Bride of Glomdal" should be no-brainers, even though these films were made in other countries.
I have no answer for you, Tommaso, but I am as baffled as you are at the apparent lack of enterprise on DFI's part in the sphere of releasing film treasures on DVD. Their film library is supposed to be quite extensive, and surely they have only scratched the surface when it comes to Danish silent films (if that were to be their sole area of interest).

On three different occcasions I have put the same question to various staff at the Danish Film Institute. One lady seemed to echo the sentiment that only restoration and release of culturally significant Danish films would be projects of interest to the institute to undertake. The other staff members I spoke to, both confirmed that nothing was being worked at present -- not a vauge "I don't know," but clear "nothing is being worked on at the moment."

Possibly, the reason is lack of interest in the titles already released. When I discovered that the ending of "The Balletdancer" on the Asta Nielsen disc is missing, which it clearly is, and the jacket lists a runtime 10 minutes longer than the film on the disc, I thought it was a matter of a defective disc. So, I went and had it exchanged, which was no problem with the people at the DFI. When I came home, the film still cut off, at which point I wrote the Institute about the problem. I received a very quick reply, telling me that the film actually is missing the last two minutes, and that they apologised for the confusion, especially since the jacket featured a typho, indicating the longer length of the film. However, I was also told that I was the first person to report the problem :shock: I mean, this disc came out years ago... how could no one else have noticed this? Or, maybe it was simply that this particular staff member had never heard the question raised before, still... It makes me wonder, how many copies they could have sold of this particular title (which is an awesome release, by the way!)

And that really goes for all the silent film releases, as already documented by others above. The prints are mostly in great condition, and the transfers look beautiful. The films themselves are amazing and eye-opening. I had heard and read that the Danish film industry was ahead of the game in the early teens, but seriously, many of these films are far ahead of the game in narrative sophistication and subject matter compared to just about anything else produced anywhere at the time. As an introduction, view Urban Gad's "The Abyss" (1910) on the Asta Nielsen disc.
Last edited by Scharphedin2 on Sat Jun 20, 2009 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Erikht
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Re: New Silent Films from DFI

#23 Post by Erikht » Fri Jun 19, 2009 3:18 pm

As well as "The Bride of Glomdal" and "Die Gezeichneten", I believe "Two People" and the short "Water from the land" are the only films by Dreyer that has not been turned out in a readily available format. Somebody did write somewhere on this orum that DFI was saving up the last films for some sort of anniversary; I just can't think of what anniversary that should be.

Other than that, I did compile a list of how to get as much Dreyer as possible in a good quality with as few outlays as possible. The trick is to buy the feature films, and get the shorts as extras. I have gone for quality of the transfer first, and extras second. This is the result.

Danish Film Institute:

The President
Leaves out of the book of Satan(Image got one as well, but I would go for the Danish version)
Once Upon a Time

The British Film Institute got some very good transfers, possibly better than Criterion's. These are the ones to buy:

Thou shalt honour thy wife aka Master of the house (With the shorts Good Mothers and They Caught the Ferry as extras)
Day of wrath (with the shorts The Struggle Against Cancer and The Castle within the Castle as extras)
The Word (With the shorts The Storstrom Bridge and Thorvaldsen as extras)
Gertrud ( With the short The Dansih Village Church as extra)

As you can see, that gives all the available shorts as extras with the BFI editions, which makes them better than Criterions. The images are more or less the same, I think. Not that i am badmouthing Criterions Dreyer set, it's great, but you will have to double dip if you want most of these shorts.


Image

The Parsons Widow (With the shorts They Caught the Ferry and Thorvaldsen as extras)

Image got other films as well (As do Kino), but this is the only one I would buy from them. It is also the only one you have to buy from them.

Eureka/MoC

Michael
The Vampire

Image and Criterion got Vampire as well (and Kino got Michael). I have never seen Criterion's version, and have only heard good things about it, but I own Eureka's, and like it a lot.

Criterion Collection

The Passion of Joan of Arc

The one and only. If everybody owned sone free DVD-players, there would be no need to ever re-issue this film.

Now, as you can see, Dreyer is quite well covered, with only three features and one short missing from the Complete Dreyer list, and these films all exist in archives, so they are not lost. Not bad for a guy who made his first film in 1919!

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markhax
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Re: New Silent Films from DFI

#24 Post by markhax » Fri Jun 19, 2009 7:02 pm

Tommaso wrote:The only thing that makes me worry is that after the release of "Satan's Book", their silent film releases seem to have completely dried up. Not a single film in the last two years or so. If they limit their releases to films actually made in Denmark, do they think that they've released everything important? I know too little about Danish silents to say what else might be interesting and is still unreleased, but I imagine that there is still a lot of valuable stuff out there that no has seen. And if they go for Danish directors as a criterion, Dreyer's "Die Gezeichneten" and "Bride of Glomdal" should be no-brainers, even though these films were made in other countries.
Since "Die Gezeichneten" was recently shown on Arte, I am hoping that Absolut-Medien will release it in their Arte series.

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Tommaso
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Re: New Silent Films from DFI

#25 Post by Tommaso » Sat Jun 20, 2009 6:52 am

markhax wrote:Since "Die Gezeichneten" was recently shown on Arte, I am hoping that Absolut-Medien will release it in their Arte series.
Yes, but that one seems to have slowed down as well. I mean, they did release two Duvivier films recently, but these were direct ports of the two discs already out in France for a year or so (in the French arte series). Otherwise, though absolut medien has recently announced a lot of new titles for the coming months, there's not a single silent among them. That really doesn't bode well, and I'm with Sharph in thinking that the DFI titles probably didn't sell well, too.
Scharphedin2 wrote:However, I was also told that I was the first person to report the problem :shock: I mean, this disc came out years ago... how could no one else have noticed this? Or, maybe it was simply that this particular staff member had never heard the question raised before, still... It makes me wonder, how many copies they could have sold of this particular title (which is an awesome release, by the way!)
Yes, a wonderful disc. I too noticed the problem you mention, but didn't suspect I had a defective disc, so I didn't ask them about it. Silents in which something is missing are of course nothing unusual, and I probably didn't notice the run-time error anyway. But yes, there seems to be a certain careless attitude, which is also reflected in the lack of booklets or any significant extras for all these discs. But who cares when the films and transfers are as good as these?

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