The Taviani Brothers Collection

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rapta
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Re: The Taviani Brothers Collection

#51 Post by rapta » Tue Mar 08, 2016 8:30 pm

perkizitore wrote:The Human Condition is considerably less expensive than the Yoshida set? :-k
Yeah, if anything The Human Condition set is actually £5 more than the early-bird price for the Yoshida set (and £5 less than the current price). Much less of a gamble for me though - I already know I love Kobayashi.

£39.99 for this Taviani set is an attractive price for three blind-buys. I'm tempted to get this one once I have got my Kobayashi pre-order sorted out.
perkizitore wrote:Did Arrow stopped doing early bird discounts? If that is the case, it only makes sense pre-ordering during a sale.
Basically what everyone's planning to do, from what I can gather. I wonder if they'll figure out how to stop double points on regular items during sales between now and the next sale...I'm sure that would cause quite the stir!
Last edited by rapta on Wed Mar 09, 2016 9:36 am, edited 3 times in total.

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MichaelB
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Re: The Taviani Brothers Collection

#52 Post by MichaelB » Wed Mar 09, 2016 7:17 am

There are dedicated threads for The Human Condition, Arrow packaging and Arrow sales and offers.

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AidanKing
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Re: The Taviani Brothers Collection

#53 Post by AidanKing » Wed Mar 16, 2016 11:24 am

The extra features on the set look excellent. I'm particularly looking forward to Millicent Marcus' video essays and Michael B's overview of the Tavianis' career.

Interestingly (unless the final certifications haven't been confirmed), both Padre Padrone and Night of the Shooting Stars both have higher certificates than on the previous DVD releases: I wonder why that is?

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colinr0380
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Re: The Taviani Brothers Collection

#54 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Mar 16, 2016 11:30 am

Without knowing for sure it could potentially be that content in the extra features on the disc could have bumped up the overall rating as much as the film itself getting reclassified.

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swo17
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Re: The Taviani Brothers Collection

#55 Post by swo17 » Wed Mar 16, 2016 11:33 am

We know that MichaelB really likes these films. Maybe he can only express these feelings in an 18 certificate kind of way.

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MichaelB
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Re: The Taviani Brothers Collection

#56 Post by MichaelB » Wed Mar 16, 2016 11:37 am

It's a mistake on my part, and it'll be corrected in the final version. We're still waiting for the BBFC's verdict on Kaos, but it's very likely that the overall box set certificate will be a 15.

I'm currently reading the translations of the Pirandello stories, which started to hit my in-tray a few minutes ago - here's the opening of The Crow of Mizzarò (which I believe is a world premiere translation), and it's also the opening of the film:
One day some idle shepherds climbed up the steep hillsides of Mizzarò, and on their way they sneaked up on a big crow who was peacefully sitting on his eggs in his nest.
- Oh you dummy, so what are you doing? Just look at that! Sitting on the eggs! Your wife’s job, you dummy!
There is no doubt that the crow shouted out his own reasons: he did, but in his crow’s way; and of course they didn’t understand him. The shepherds had fun tormenting him all day long. One of them decided to take him home, but the following day the shepherd got tired of him, so he tied a little bronze bell around his neck as a keepsake and set him free:
- Enjoy yourself!
Only the crow knew what it was like, having that resounding pendant around his neck. Judging by the way he was flying up in the sky, he certainly seemed to be enjoying it, quite oblivious of his nest and his wife.
- Ding ding dingding …

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Lost Highway
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Re: The Taviani Brothers Collection

#57 Post by Lost Highway » Mon Mar 28, 2016 5:59 am

I got the Cohen set because I could not wait or resist the great price. So far I've only watched The Night of the Shooting Stars, which is one of my all time favourite films and IMO one of the most underrated films of the 80s. I never understood why this film isn't better known or more highly regarded, though Pauline Kael gave it a rave review at the time. That said, it's a film which probably gets better on revisiting it. On a first viewing it may look a little shapeless, but I think it is anything but. Its seemingly shaggy, episodic quality fits the randomness of death and violence visited upon civilians in war. The film is full of great visual conceits, which at times reminded me of Hitchcock in their visual boldness, like a scene where the camera moves in on several character's ears, listening from a distance for the sound of their town blowing up. I'm always struck how the Tavianis film the character's fleeing the Nazi's order to remain in the church. As a group, all dressed in black to evade detection at night, they often become like one entity.

I suppose what many people initially find disorientating is that this is an ensemble piece with about a dozen characters of roughly equal importance and the film does a ruthless job in killing off several likeable characters which would make it to the end in another film. But hey, that's war for you ! There are similarities to the magic realism of Pan's Labyrinth in how the film looks at war through the eyes of a little girl, who creates her own fantasy world to deal with what she witnesses (here the film veers of into fantasy sequences of Greek mythology instead of fairy tales). San Lorenzo is less fussy in fleshing out its fantasy world (no doubt due to a far smaller budget) and more importantly, far less sentimental and morally black and white than the over-praised Del Toro film.
SpoilerShow
We may find the father and son Nazis loathsome but the father's intense animal grief when the boy gets shot dead should arrest any triumphant fist pump in mid-air.
One key sequence in The Night of the Shooting Stars which I find among the most wrenching of any war film
SpoilerShow
(the bombing of the church and the death of the young, pregnant wife)
and yet there is a lot of dark humour in the way it regards to the frequently absurd situations war puts the characters in. For our POV character, this is all a great adventure and for other characters the war becomes a liberation from social norms, be that for good or bad. Yet the film never makes light of the suddenness of death and even in its flights of fancy, it can be tremendously moving
SpoilerShow
(the death dream of the Sicilian girl!)
Considering its relatively short running time, the film does a great job in sketching in its large cast of characters, which becomes even more clear on revisiting the film. This group of people has become like a bunch of old friends, who I like to revisit every few years. There are several stand out sequences, not least a battle scene in a wheat field, which must have had some influence on Terrence Malick's similar battle scene in long grass in The Thin Red Line. In the Taviani film neighbours and former friends are pitted against each other, struggling with ambivalent emotions as they are forced to kill each other.

A wonderful film and I'm so happy to finally have it on Blu after having to make do with a DVD for many years which wasn't even anamorphic. It would be nice if Arrow restores the film to its European distribution title, the direct translation of The Night of San Lorenzo.

I had a brief look at the other two films in the set. Kaos, which I've never seen and am much looking forward to once I find the time, looks very good. Padre Padrone looks not so great, even for 16mm, but apparently that's the best it will ever look. I've only seen it once when it came out, so don't remember how accurate it is.

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MichaelB
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Re: The Taviani Brothers Collection

#58 Post by MichaelB » Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:20 am

Lost Highway wrote:It would be nice if Arrow restores the film to its European distribution title, the direct translation of The Night of San Lorenzo.
We debated this at length, but are going for The Night of the Shooting Stars.

This is partly because the film has been shown under no fewer than three titles in the UK (The Night of San Lorenzo theatrically and on VHS, The Night of Saint Lawrence on Channel 4, The Night of the Shooting Stars on DVD), so nothing has been firmly set in stone - but there's also the practical reason that two out of the three major contributors to the extras (Pauline Kael and Millicent Marcus) refer to it as The Night of the Shooting Stars, and the third (me) can easily be persuaded to follow suit. Similarly, all the Cohen-supplied posters and trailers refer to The Night of the Shooting Stars.

I'd feel differently if The Night of San Lorenzo was more firmly embedded in the British public consciousness - for instance, I pretty much instantly opted for Closely Observed Trains over the American Closely Watched Trains (even to the extent of arguing with the Czech National Film Archive over it) because both the novella and film are far better known in Britain by the former title. But in this case I think we could have legitimately gone in either direction. (I'll be discussing the multiple titles at the start of my commentary, so it's not as though we're airbrushing the alternative titles out of film history.)

Incidentally, the Kael review you mention (which must rank very high amongst the most breathlessly hyperbolic raves she ever wrote) will be reproduced in full in the Arrow booklet, along with her original pieces on Padre Padrone and Kaos. In fact, when I discovered that the Kael pieces were licensable, I decided not to bother with a newly-commissioned booklet essay, which helped keep the budget under control after spending a fair chunk of it on 20,000 words of new Pirandello translations.

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Lost Highway
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Re: The Taviani Brothers Collection

#59 Post by Lost Highway » Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:43 am

It's not a big deal, I'm just never a huge fan of the type of title which assumes the audience can't cope with foreign language terms or names. Your reasoning makes sense to me.

I assume you aren't as big a fan of the film as Kael and myself then ? ;)

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Re: The Taviani Brothers Collection

#60 Post by MichaelB » Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:48 am

Lost Highway wrote:I assume you aren't as big a fan of the film as Kael and myself then ? ;)
What a bizarre conclusion.

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Lost Highway
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Re: The Taviani Brothers Collection

#61 Post by Lost Highway » Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:52 am

MichaelB wrote:
Lost Highway wrote:I assume you aren't as big a fan of the film as Kael and myself then ? ;)
What a bizarre conclusion.
Your description of Kael's review being one of her most "breathlessly hyperbolic" makes it sound like her praise is somewhat OTT. I recently re-read her review after watching the film and it's one of the few instances where I'm 100% in agreement with her. I find it spot on and beautifully written.

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MichaelB
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Re: The Taviani Brothers Collection

#62 Post by MichaelB » Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:57 am

I'm referring purely to the writing style, which of course is very typical for Kael when she's really enthusiastic about something. In this respect it's very interesting to compare her Shooting Stars review with her more measured assessments of Padre Padrone and Kaos.

Anyway, this really isn't an argument that's worth pursuing, unless you seriously think that I'm recording a full-length commentary merely to pick holes in the film. (Spoiler: I'm not!)

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Lost Highway
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Re: The Taviani Brothers Collection

#63 Post by Lost Highway » Mon Mar 28, 2016 8:05 am

No need to get defensive, there was a reason I put a smiley at the end of my message. Maybe getting abrasive with your customer base on public forums isn't the best way to proceed, I've merely asked a question. While I've opted for the Cohen release this time, I have a shelf-load of Arrow releases, if that is what bugs you.

I'll leave it here.

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MichaelB
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Re: The Taviani Brothers Collection

#64 Post by MichaelB » Mon Mar 28, 2016 8:12 am

Lost Highway wrote:No need to get defensive, there was a reason I put a smiley at the end of my message.
I'm actually trying to keep this rather strange conversation light-hearted, but it's quite hard when you keep making unwarranted accusations!

Although the fact that you rewrote your last comment before I'd finished replying to it has been noted and appreciated - and just to make it absolutely clear, it makes no difference to me which version you opted for: I'm a freelance producer who works for multiple labels (nine in the last twelve months), some of whom have even put out rival editions of the same films.

I am of course sorry that you chose to miss out on the new extras, which I hope will collectively shed valuable light on these films (I'm particularly pleased to have shepherded the six Pirandello short stories from vague idea to concrete reality, as I've long been puzzled by the fact that most of them hadn't been translated before despite their Nobel-laureate author's stature), but as a Taviani fan of three decades' standing myself I entirely understand your impatience.

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Lost Highway
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Re: The Taviani Brothers Collection

#65 Post by Lost Highway » Mon Mar 28, 2016 9:28 am

I have no idea what you mean with "veiled threats" which I regard as a pretty serious slur but I think you may have missed the veiled compliment in my post. Considering how you worded your assessment of Kael's review, I don't see what is unwarranted about my question (or as you call it "accusation"). The Night of the Shooting Stars/San Lorenzo is not considered a masterpiece of world cinema (unfairly so IMO) and the least well known of the three films. I was genuinely interested where you are coming down on it, as I believe that just because you distribute a film does not oblige you to unreservedly love it or that implying so would be controversial in itself. It came in response to calling an Kael's enthusiastic review hyperbolic (English isn't my first language but I understand that calling someone's writing "breathlessly hyperbolic" is generally not considered a compliment) and I did not expect for you to come down on me like a ton of bricks.

In any case, if that's what you call "keeping it light-hearted" I don't want to know what "getting serious" looks like.

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Re: The Taviani Brothers Collection

#66 Post by MichaelB » Mon Mar 28, 2016 9:51 am

I assume you're responding to my original reply rather than the rewritten one, which was rewritten because you rewrote your earlier post! And since I don't have it to hand (particularly the original final sentence, which I recall being somewhat different), there's little point parsing it here.

But it's now much clearer to me what the issue is - so I'd better make it clear that I don't consider the phrase "breathlessly hyperbolic" to be the least bit pejorative. Some of my favourite writers (very much including Kael) are favourites precisely because they have a tendency to let their enthusiasm tip over into breathless hyperbole - and I particularly like it when a writer as distinguished as Kael does it. Which is why I pursued that specific review for the Arrow booklet, and only added the other two when I realised that I could afford all three.

Oh, and to clear up a final misunderstanding (given that you refer to "your customer base" and "just because you distribute a film"), I freelance for multiple labels - in the last twelve months, Arrow, the BFI, Criterion, Eureka, Second Run, Signal One, StudioCanal, Zeitgeist and the Polish outfit behind the Martin Scorsese Presents box sets have all hired me, in most cases more than once. My involvement with their various projects ceases the moment I sign off on my contribution: everything else is their concern.

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MaxCastle
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Re: The Taviani Brothers Collection

#67 Post by MaxCastle » Mon Mar 28, 2016 9:55 am

MichaelB wrote:I'm currently reading the translations of the Pirandello stories, which started to hit my in-tray a few minutes ago - here's the opening of The Crow of Mizzarò (which I believe is a world premiere translation), and it's also the opening of the film
It's not a world premiere translation - this story seems to have been published in English in the 1930's, in a collection which also includes two of the other stories used in the film (The Other Son and The Jar). Even so, it's good to know we're getting new translations of all the stories.

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MichaelB
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Re: The Taviani Brothers Collection

#68 Post by MichaelB » Mon Mar 28, 2016 10:01 am

MaxCastle wrote:It's not a world premiere translation - this story seems to have been published in English in the 1930's, in a collection which also includes two of the other stories used in the film (The Other Son and The Jar). Even so, it's good to know we're getting new translations of all the stories.
Yes, I decided it made a lot of sense to have the same translator tackle everything, if only because it guarantees a consistency of tone. Obviously, The Jar is well known, and I knew that The Other Son had been translated as well (but this 1934 collection is new to me, so thanks for that), but it seemed to me that it would most likely cost at least as much to license existing translations than it would to commission new ones. Pirandello himself is nine years out of copyright, but that's not necessarily true of translations of his work.

We should be laying out the booklet in the next few days - for the benefit of the designer I've strategically renamed the Kaos stills to identify which specific story they illustrate. (Thankfully, Cohen sent over a fair number of print-resolution ones for all three films as part of the package.)

Incidentally, thinking about it, I suspect I missed out on earlier English translations of The Crow of Mizzarò because it was only added to the translator's brief at a very late stage - I have Millicent Marcus to thank for this by highlighting which specific story the crow-based framing device came from. She also helpfully identified where the film's epilogue, Conversation with My Mother, came from - it's a fragment called Colloquii coi personaggi II that happily is about the same length as the other stories, so it fits in very neatly. In fact, I'm thinking of calling the collection Five Stories and a Conversation.

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Re: The Taviani Brothers Collection

#69 Post by AidanKing » Sun Apr 10, 2016 11:53 am

I am looking forward to reading Pauline Kael's review as I also enjoy instances of critics getting carried away into the realms of breathless hyperbole, especially when the object of their enthusiasm is worth it, as it is here. I think I find most film critics do their best, as well as most helpful, criticism when writing about films they like, to be honest.

I am also looking forward to the commentary on The Night of the Shooting Stars and wonder why this film is the one that has the commentary. Is it because, in its relation to historical events and storytelling around those events, it is the best placed of the films in the set for a commentary to be able to illuminate the Taviani brothers' approach to film making?

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Re: The Taviani Brothers Collection

#70 Post by MichaelB » Sun Apr 10, 2016 12:38 pm

AidanKing wrote:I am also looking forward to the commentary on The Night of the Shooting Stars and wonder why this film is the one that has the commentary. Is it because, in its relation to historical events and storytelling around those events, it is the best placed of the films in the set for a commentary to be able to illuminate the Taviani brothers' approach to film making?
Well, the practical reason is that I had no budget to hire someone else to do a commentary and didn't realistically think that I could plan and record more than one myself in the time available!

But I also think that this specific film is much better suited to a conventional full-length commentary than the others. The direct engagement with very specific aspects of Italy's history and geography and the fact that it's by far the Tavianis' most directly autobiographical film means that there's always plenty to talk about - for instance, when there's a close-up of a green cross on a building that marks it for destruction by the Germans, the very first house in San Miniato that was marked for destruction in this way belonged to an anti-Fascist lawyer named Ermanno Taviani, whose teenage sons Paolo and Vittorio were also living there at the time. Or when the resistance fighters are picking their "war names", this is an excellent excuse to talk about the mysterious "Giuliani" who's credited as co-writer. The other two films just don't have that backstory, or at least to anything like the same extent.

There will of course be plenty of "commentary" on the other two films in the form of the video essays, and the six Pirandello short stories means that the critical apparatus on Kaos is particularly rich.

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AidanKing
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Re: The Taviani Brothers Collection

#71 Post by AidanKing » Sun Apr 10, 2016 1:31 pm

That level of detail in the commentary sounds absolutely fascinating!

It's great that Millicent Marcus is involved so heavily, given her excellent writing on Italian cinema.

I also think the inclusion of the Pirandello stories is a really good bonus. All in all, it looks like the set is shaping up to be one of the best that Arrow has produced.

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Re: The Taviani Brothers Collection

#72 Post by Ribs » Tue Jun 21, 2016 8:27 am

Moved to July 11 according to Arrow Twitter.

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Re: The Taviani Brothers Collection

#73 Post by MichaelB » Tue Jun 21, 2016 8:35 am

I take full responsibility for this - the extras turned out to be slightly more ambitious in scope than the original production schedule allowed.

But I can now confirm that the unique-to-Arrow extras amount to almost exactly four hours (3:57:02, to be absolutely precise), so there's tons of stuff to get your teeth into. The two-hour Taviani interview is no slouch on the quantity-of-information front either.

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Re: The Taviani Brothers Collection

#74 Post by What A Disgrace » Tue Jun 21, 2016 9:13 am

Does that final run-time also include your commentary, Michael?

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Re: The Taviani Brothers Collection

#75 Post by MichaelB » Tue Jun 21, 2016 9:22 am

What A Disgrace wrote:Does that final run-time also include your commentary, Michael?
Of course - why would it not?

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