Abbas Kiarostami on DVD

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Godot
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Abbas Kiarostami on DVD

#1 Post by Godot » Fri Apr 28, 2006 3:29 am

This website has almost all of Kiarostami's film on DVD, with English subtitles. The quality is ok, it's not first rate, it's better than VHS.
I bought one to try them out (Through the Olive Trees) last year and it was clearly mastered from a PAL videotape. Soft edges, some haloing, color smearing, burned in subtitles, the whole 9 yards. But until someone snatches the DVD rights from the Miramax vault, it will have to suffice.

I actually dropped by their storefront to pick up the disc, rather than pay shipping, and met the owner. Nice enough guy. He was surprised and bemused to meet a big doughy white guy that knew AK's body of work. He actually asked me twice, "So, you really like these movies?" Maybe he figured the cutural aspects (confusing to Westerners) were more interesting than the films' aesthetics (also confusing, as Roger Ebert shows).

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John Cope
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#2 Post by John Cope » Sat Apr 29, 2006 12:59 pm

I thought there was a rumor circulating that Criterion was considering some more Kiarostami. If so, what are the chances of a Koker Trilogy boxset? Of everything since Homework the relative unavailability of those titles is the most frustrating.

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ellipsis7
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#3 Post by ellipsis7 » Mon May 15, 2006 3:41 pm

BREAD AND ALLEY was on a Japanese disc of THE TRAVELLER...

Most are rare enough, I recorded about 5 shorts on VHS from Filmfour when they had rights to a package of AK films... Caught quite a few more at last years NFT retro...

It may be that MK2 may include some eventually on future AK releases (which are supposed to be in the pipeline)...

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#4 Post by Shahed » Fri May 19, 2006 6:37 pm

Does anybody know if "Ten" is in its OAR on the Zeitgeist DVD? Because IMDB lists it as 1.66.

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The Fanciful Norwegian
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#5 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Fri May 19, 2006 7:26 pm

If the OAR really is 1.66:1 then no DVD release of the film is OAR. The Zeitgeist, Optimum (UK), mk2 (France) and Atalanta (Portugal) releases are all full-frame. I suspect the IMDb is, uh, wrong.

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#6 Post by ChrisW » Wed May 24, 2006 3:32 am

I saw "Ten" at the cinema and can say it's definitely 1.66:1, made more obvious by the fact that the cinema used the wrong conversion lens for projection.

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ellipsis7
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#7 Post by ellipsis7 » Wed May 24, 2006 6:46 am

I saw a decent print in correct aspect ratio projected properly, but on a second separate showing in a different venue, the projectionist had cut off the animated numbers at the head of each reel, thinking they were part of the leader, resulting in an incomplete print minus several chapter headings!...

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#8 Post by spencerw » Wed May 24, 2006 8:46 am

Zeitgeist's own webpage for the DVD of 10, and its press notes, both give the aspect ratio as 1.66:1:

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#9 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Wed May 24, 2006 5:07 pm

Actually Zeitegeist's webpage for the Ten DVD gives the AR as 1.33:1. The info you linked evidently refers to the theatrical release (the DVD doesn't have DTS audio either). It may well have been shown in widescreen theatrically, but while I can sorta see Zeitgeist or Optimum screwing up the AR, I find it hard to believe mk2 would as well. 1.33:1 is also consistent with Kiarostami's other DV-shot features and the film subjectively looks like it was composed for full-frame -- you could crop the bottom of the picture without hurting it too badly, but it doesn't look quite as pleasing IMO. Barring some more definitive evidence, I'm going to assume that 1.33:1 is Kiarostami's preferred AR and 1.66:1 was used only for theatrical projection (for some reason).

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#10 Post by Wittsdream » Sat Aug 05, 2006 2:50 pm

Has anyone seen the edition available at IranianMovies.com? What is the picture quality like? Facets apparently has a VHS version of the movie available. I read on one internet site a DVD version of this film is so bad, that the film actually begins to rewind towards the end, as if someone inadvertently hit the rewind button on their VHS machines while mastering it to DVD. Can anyone corroborate that claim in reference to this particular DVD?

As you can you tell, I'm interested :?

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#11 Post by htdm » Sat Aug 05, 2006 3:04 pm

I have about 20 DVDs from this company (bought in two sets of ten at the same time). The first thing to be aware of is that they are 90% homemade DVD-Rs made from a variety of sources ranging from VHS to DVD. Out of the 20 I have, only 2 were legitimate factory presses. Ten is a DVD-R taken from the VHS (they didn't even bother to remove the VHS menu "PLAY SP" from the opening.) So, as you can imagine, it looks soft, subs are obviously non-removeable, and on top of that, it appears that the source VHS was PAL. This is less obvious in the action and most noticeable on the subtitles, which appear to have a waving effect. As I recall, it took forever to receive the DVDs as well. Overall, I would never buy from this distributor again.

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#12 Post by Wittsdream » Sun Aug 06, 2006 1:56 pm

dmkb said:
Overall, I would never buy from this distributor again.
'Nuff said, thanks for the reply!

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ellipsis7
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#13 Post by ellipsis7 » Fri Sep 29, 2006 9:55 am

Kiarostami's FIVE comes from Warner Home Video in France on 22nd November according to amazon.fr... Surprised this is not from MK2

here
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ola t
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#14 Post by ola t » Fri Sep 29, 2006 10:34 am

It is MK2 actually -- here's their page. Includes a "making of".

...and on October 25, also from MK2: Through the Olive Trees. Looks like it will only have French subs, though.

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#15 Post by ellipsis7 » Fri Sep 29, 2006 11:59 am

Makes sense - MK2 produced FIVE, thus this is a slip up by amazon.fr... Good to see also AU TRAVERS DES OLIVIERS/THROUGH THE OLIVE TREES make DVD... Surprised that there are no Eng subs - MK2 has included them on all previous AK DVDs... May try and follow this up...

Update: have put question to my usual contact in MK2 - will report answer in due course...

And apparently Warner France now distribute MK2 discs, hence that red herring...

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#16 Post by Wittsdream » Fri Sep 29, 2006 2:54 pm

If MK2 are releasing "Through the Olive Trees," it is a safe bet that Artificial Eye will release a direct port of it soon thereafter, probably spring 2007.

In fact, did not Artificial Eye release the film on VHS?

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#17 Post by John Cope » Mon Oct 02, 2006 7:01 pm

Wittsdream wrote:If MK2 are releasing "Through the Olive Trees," it is a safe bet that Artificial Eye will release a direct port of it soon thereafter, probably spring 2007.

In fact, did not Artificial Eye release the film on VHS?
What we need is a Koker trilogy boxset.
ola t wrote:It is MK2 actually -- here's their page. Includes a "making of".
That better be one hell of a "making of" for nearly 30 Euros.

Do we know whether there will be English subs on this (the making of I mean)?

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#18 Post by ellipsis7 » Tue Oct 31, 2006 12:36 pm

THROUGH THE OLIVE TREES has disappeared from the MK2 website, and never appeared on amazon.fr...

FIVE is still on both, and on schedule...

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John Cope
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#19 Post by John Cope » Fri Dec 01, 2006 9:34 pm

OK, has anyone seen the MK2 Five yet? If so, how does it look? And are there subs on the making of?

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ellipsis7
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#20 Post by ellipsis7 » Sat Dec 02, 2006 6:09 am

Mine despatched from Paris last Wednesday (release was delayed a week to 29th)... Should arrive early next week... Will report then...

BTW the Erice-Kiarostami Correspondences catalogue is a lovely book - beautiful pictures and incisive essays.....

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#21 Post by NABOB OF NOWHERE » Mon Dec 04, 2006 5:43 am

John Cope wrote:OK, has anyone seen the MK2 Five yet? If so, how does it look? And are there subs on the making of?
Got mine today.There is a 74 minute 'making of' with farsi,french and english subtitles. Haven't watched it yet.

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#22 Post by whaleallright » Fri Dec 08, 2006 2:48 am

For what it's worth, Through the Olive Trees is available for pre-order at alapage.com along with Five, ABC Africa, Taste of Cherry, etc. They are available together in a box set as well

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John Cope
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#23 Post by John Cope » Fri Dec 29, 2006 7:02 pm

Five is now available via xploitedcinema for the low, low price of $36.95:

I don't know. I may wait till this gets picked up State side.

Then again, here's Jonathan Rosenbaum at the Chicago Reader blog to compel me otherwise...
Fans of Abbas Kiarostami who have been wondering when they'll be able to see Five (2003)—his 74-minute, five- part experimental film without dialogue, all shot on the seashore while he was scripting Jafar Panahi's Crimson Gold—should know that it's recently come out in France on a well-produced DVD released by MK2 and readily available from French Amazon for just under 28 Euros. (Like other overseas DVDs, it's playable on any multiregional DVD player, which includes a surprising number of stateside computers.) Apparently part of the reason for the long delay was Kiarostami's slowness in producing a "making of" documentary, though what he's finally come up with—his hour-long About Five, completed in late 2005, available with English subtitles on the same DVD—is quite fascinating. Responding to pertinent questions put to him by English critic and programmer Geoff Andrew, he views his own work with a lot of refreshing as well as helpful candor.

Much as the French DVD of The Wind Will Carry Us, also released by MK2 (and somewhat cheaper, even though it's a two-disc set), includes a couple of mind-boggling Japanese documentaries (also with English subtitles) that have done much to enhance my appreciation of one of Kiarostami's greatest films, his own account of his more modest Five is no less full of surprising revelations about the elaborate artifice that lurks behind most of his seeming causalness and off-handed methods as a filmmaker. And his remarks about what he regards as ideal viewers and viewing situations may also raise a few eyebrows. Not only does he approve of viewers falling asleep while watching Five and say so without the slightest trace of irony, he also recommends comfortable armchairs. So a DVD player at home with good speakers and a reasonable-sized screen is a much more ideal setting than any art museum—which is lamentably where this film has mainly been shown, when it's been showing at all. It still hasn't surfaced in Chicago in any form. But now it's accessible to anyone who bothers to order it, as I just did. And I hasten to add that under the right conditions, it's an immensely pleasurable experience, even if one stays awake. I actually prefer it to his 10--and About Five is better than his Ten on 10.

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#24 Post by denti alligator » Sun Mar 11, 2007 12:49 am

Who actually owns the rights to the pre-Taste of Cherry films in region 1? What are the odds that Criterion will get their hands on any/all of these? They are so badly needed!

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ellipsis7
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#25 Post by ellipsis7 » Thu Mar 15, 2007 11:16 am

Just viewing those 3 new AK MK2 discs - no Eng subs in contrast to previous 3 - but superb image quality and crisp clear sound...

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