45 Diamonds of the Night

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charal
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45 Diamonds of the Night

#1 Post by charal » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:43 pm

The latest newsletter mentions the upcoming release of another "extraordinary film" by Jan Nemec. Sounds very much like DIAMONDS IN THE NIGHT

So will next year also see the promised releases of Jancso, Skolimoswki and Vlacil?

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NilbogSavant
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Re: New Nemec for 2010

#2 Post by NilbogSavant » Mon Dec 07, 2009 6:09 pm

YES!!! This is my absolute favorite movie of the Czech New Wave and also my favorite cinematic interpretation of the Holocaust. I hope even the people who weren't all that impressed with A Report on the Party and the Guests still give this one a shot.

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MichaelB
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Re: New Nemec for 2010

#3 Post by MichaelB » Tue Dec 08, 2009 5:30 pm

That reminds me - I must get round to writing the booklet sometime...

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Ben Cheshire
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Re: New Nemec for 2010

#4 Post by Ben Cheshire » Wed Dec 09, 2009 1:03 pm

Showoff!

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MichaelB
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Re: New Nemec for 2010

#5 Post by MichaelB » Wed Dec 09, 2009 1:33 pm

Not really - I'd genuinely forgotten that I was down to write the booklet, and this thread genuinely reminded me. So if I'm showing off about anything, it's clearly freakishly premature Alzheimer's.

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jbeall
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Re: New Nemec for 2010

#6 Post by jbeall » Thu Dec 10, 2009 6:00 pm

Great news, not least b/c MichaelB is writing the booklet. Yet another Czech title that I've avoided b/c of Facets.

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Gregory
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Re: New Nemec for 2010

#7 Post by Gregory » Thu Dec 10, 2009 6:23 pm

The FIlmexport Home Video DVD (with Audition/Talent Competition) has been a more than adequate stopgap, although it would have been nice if the transfer had been just a bit sharper. I also noticed signs of what I guess are compression problems -- e.g. in a closeup of flowing water the motion intermittently slows down for brief moments. Not a major problem in itself but still an indication that it could be improved upon.

I'm doing almost no double-dipping anymore, but if Second Run could include Nemec's early shorts in this release that would certainly seal the deal.

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jbeall
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Re: New Nemec for 2010

#8 Post by jbeall » Fri Dec 11, 2009 7:56 pm

My only double-dip was for Daisies (I had the Facets disc), and I've held off buying the Filmexport dvds precisely in the hope that SR will put some of them out. This is not to disparage Filmexport; it's just that I like the English-friendly supplementary materials that SR include, such as the booklet and extras.

The Party and the Guests is still one of my fave SR releases, so I'm a sure bet for any Nemec coming down the pike.

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MichaelB
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Re: New Nemec for 2010

#9 Post by MichaelB » Sat Dec 12, 2009 3:59 am

Filmexport's DVD is pretty good, but you're right that only the feature is English-friendly.

Incidentally, I had a slightly odd quibble about the Filmexport disc, which is that they subtitled everything, including the German dialogue towards the end. I had a look at the Czech HOH subtitles and saw that they left the German in German - and I think that's how it should be: it wouldn't have been translated for Czech audiences, and the film's protagonists aren't supposed to understand it.

Thoughts?

(For those who haven't seen the film, I should point out that it has so little dialogue anyway that deliberately omitting subtitles might seem perverse, but I think there's a genuine case for it here.)

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Re: New Nemec for 2010

#10 Post by sharunasbresson » Sat Dec 12, 2009 5:19 am

I definitely agree with you Michael.
First time i saw this movie it was in Italy, my own country, with Italian subtitles and no subtitles at all during the german dialogues.

seeing it in the dvd version with all dialogues subtitled was a bit of a schock... a kind of shift from the obsessive perspective I was drowning in...

well, the movie remain a masterpiece either way.

bye

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Re: New Nemec for 2010

#11 Post by jbeall » Sat Dec 12, 2009 9:54 am

I can only agree with MichaelB and sharunas. Theoretically, it probably has to be case-by-case for multi-language films, as I can imagine situations where the switch to another language isn't necessarily a plot point, but here it sounds entirely appropriate to leave the German dialogue unsubbed.

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antnield
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Re: New Nemec for 2010

#12 Post by antnield » Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:16 am

Cover art:

Image

(and is somebody able to change the name of this thread?)

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MichaelB
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Re: New Nemec for 2010

#13 Post by MichaelB » Mon Mar 29, 2010 4:47 am

Full specs announced, courtesy of DVD Outsider:
Made by Jan Němec, the acclaimed director of the 1966 The Party and the Guests / O slavnosti a hostech (voted by New York critics as one of the best films of the 1960s), the 1964 Diamonds of the Night (Démanty noci) is one of the most startling and thrillingly original works in cinema.

The film follows the tense and desperate journey of two teenage Jewish boys who escape from a train bound for a Nazi concentration camp. Hunted down by a brutal band of armed men, the film ultimately goes beyond the themes of war to concern itself with man’s perpetual struggle to preserve human dignity in the face of unimaginable horrors.

This was Němec's first feature film and was described by David Kehr in the Chicago Reader as "A remarkable directorial debut... Nemec's film is a bleak, alternately realistic and hallucinatory examination of four days in the lives of two young escapees from the Nazis - and its mood of desperation and paranoia works a grim magic."

Diamonds of the Night will be released on UK DVD on 26th April 2010 by Second Run at the RRP of £12.99. Featuring an all-new Digital transfer with restored picture and sound and new English subtitle translation, the disc will have the following extras:

* A filmed appreciation by author Peter Hames;
* Booklet featuring essay by Michael Brooke.

Bikey
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Re: Diamonds of the Night

#14 Post by Bikey » Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:16 am

We've just had to move our release date back to MAY 10 as the retoration work we're doing has taken a little longer than anticipated.
Apologies to those who've been waiting for this release - please bear with us for those extra two weeks!

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anne_zombie
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Re: Diamonds of the Night

#15 Post by anne_zombie » Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:25 am

Diamonds in the night exchanging glances - sorry, but I couldn't help myself. You'll forgive me.

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MichaelB
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Re: Diamonds of the Night

#16 Post by MichaelB » Tue May 04, 2010 8:47 am

Oxford Times (scroll down past Valley of the Bees).

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MichaelB
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Re: Diamonds of the Night

#17 Post by MichaelB » Thu May 06, 2010 3:09 pm


Bikey
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Re: Diamonds of the Night

#18 Post by Bikey » Thu May 06, 2010 6:04 pm

MichaelB wrote:DVD Outsider
And it's so wonderful for us to read a review written with such care and where one can palpably feel that the film has had the same never-to-be-forgotten impact on the reviewer as it had on us when we first saw the film all those years ago.
Thank you L K Weston.

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RossyG
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Re: Diamonds of the Night

#19 Post by RossyG » Sat May 08, 2010 6:47 am

I watched this last night. I'm pretty sure it's the first Eastern European full-length film I've ever seen - what a terrible admission - and the only name on the credits I recognised was Miroslav Ondricek - Lighting Cameraman on my favourite film If....

Diamonds was also my first Second Run DVD.

I absolutely loved it.

For the first fifteen minutes I thought it was just good and the rest of it brilliant. But of course, thinking of it afterwards, I realised all of it had been brilliant; I just hadn't realised it at first.

I'm not a film critic, so I won't elaborate too much, but the use of images and sound is extraordinary and a scene involving a tram will be added to my list of the greatest film scenes of all time. It's also the best film I've seen since Au revoir les enfants (which I first saw c.1991) that conveys just how unjust, irrational, inhuman and just downright shitty racism (in this case, anti-Semitism) is.

The print had a bit of 'sparkle' and one or two shortlived tramlines - the latter possibly faults with the original negative - and also square cigarette burns at reel changes, but I've seen modern blockbusters in a similar state after a couple of weeks of screenings. The transfer to disc is excellent. It beautifully captures the unusual use of contrast and the depth of detail is excellent. There are some POV shots of a town seen from a tram window where you can look right down the streets without any unwanted blurring.

I'm often wary of DVD extras as I prefer to have my own instinctive reaction to a film rather than an expert's, but I greatly appreciated the filmed interview with Peter Hames and Michael Brooke's booklet. They enhanced my appreciation of the film and brought my attention to details I may have overlooked.

And all this for £7.99! Bargain! I really must watch some more Eastern European films from this era; they perfectly complement the amazing stuf that was coming out of Britain, France and Germany in the Sixties.

To make amends, I've just ordered My Way Home and Valley of the Bees. :)

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Re: Diamonds of the Night

#20 Post by Bikey » Sun May 09, 2010 9:37 am

RossyG wrote:I watched this last night. I'm pretty sure it's the first Eastern European full-length film I've ever seen - what a terrible admission - and the only name on the credits I recognised was Miroslav Ondricek - Lighting Cameraman on my favourite film If....

Diamonds was also my first Second Run DVD.

I absolutely loved it.
Welcome on behalf of Second Run, Rossy G, and thanks for your good words about the film and our release.

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MichaelB
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Re: Diamonds of the Night

#21 Post by MichaelB » Sun May 09, 2010 10:11 am

If you're interested in tracking Miroslav Ondříček's career, you could do a lot worse than pick up Intimate Lighting.

Not only is the film an absolute gem (both Miloš Forman and Krzysztof Kieślowski included it on their all-time top tens, and it's easy to see why), but Second Run's presentation could hardly be bettered.

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RossyG
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Re: Diamonds of the Night

#22 Post by RossyG » Sun May 09, 2010 1:15 pm

Thanks Bikey and thanks MichaelB for the recommendation. I shall definitely buy Intimate Lighting. The Beaver caps alone have whetted my appetite. :)

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otis
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Re: Diamonds of the Night

#23 Post by otis » Tue May 11, 2010 4:38 am


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RossyG
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Re: Diamonds of the Night

#24 Post by RossyG » Tue May 11, 2010 8:43 am

otis wrote:Beaver
I think the "visual issues with unexpected blown-out brightness" are an artistic choice rather than a lab error. They seem to occur only in flashbacks. I'm pretty sure this issue is covered in the booklet.

Those screen caps - possibly thanks to my six-year-old computer - look more flat and digitally smeary than the DVD did when I watched it.

I heartily concur with the reviewer's comments on the film itself, though. :)
Last edited by RossyG on Tue May 11, 2010 11:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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MichaelB
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Re: Diamonds of the Night

#25 Post by MichaelB » Tue May 11, 2010 10:14 am

Yes, there's very little question that it's intentional - as you say, the overexposure is exclusive to the flashbacks, and there's a clear artistic reason for this.

Cinematographer Jaroslav Kučera (the better known Miroslav Ondříček was the camera operator) was one of the most experimentally-inclined of all Czech New Wave DOPs, and was constantly trying out new effects by varying contrast, exposure and (in later films such as Daisies) colour - and Jan Němec was equally inclined towards taking visual risks, so was clearly a kindred spirit.

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