573 The Music Room

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kinjitsu
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573 The Music Room

#1 Post by kinjitsu » Fri Apr 15, 2011 4:10 pm

The Music Room

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With The Music Room (Jalsaghar), Satyajit Ray brilliantly evokes the crumbling opulence of the world of a fallen aristocrat (the beloved actor Chhabi Biswas) desperately clinging to his way of life. His greatest joy is the music room in which he has hosted lavish concerts over the years—now a shadow of its former vivid self. An incandescent depiction of the clash between tradition and modernity, and a showcase for some of India’s most popular musicians of the day, The Music Room is a defining work by the great Bengali filmmaker.

Disc Features

- New digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
- Satyajit Ray (1984), a feature documentary by Shyam Benegal that chronicles Ray’s career and includes interviews with the filmmaker, family photographs, and extensive clips from his films
- New interview with filmmaker Mira Nair
- New interview in which Ray biographer Andrew Robinson discusses the making of The Music Room and the film’s cultural significance
- Excerpt from a 1981 French roundtable discussion with Ray, film critic Michel Ciment, and filmmaker Claude Sautet
- New and improved English subtitle translation
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Philip Kemp as well as reprints of a 1963 essay by Ray and a 1986 interview with the director about the film's music

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: 573 The Music Room

#2 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Apr 15, 2011 4:16 pm

This musty mean that -- somewhere -- Criterion managed to come up with a good looking print of this (nothing like the dreadful looking DVD I got long ago).

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Tommaso
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Re: 573 The Music Room

#3 Post by Tommaso » Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:12 pm

Stating the obvious: probably the most important director new to the collection (with the possible exception of Rivette...still missing). I'm really, really looking forward to this.

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swo17
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Re: 573 The Music Room

#4 Post by swo17 » Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:21 pm

Pardon my ignorance, but wasn't this recently restored along with the Apu trilogy and possibly other Ray titles with all the rights tied up together, meaning that with this announcement, the floodgates are open?

Adam
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Re: 573 The Music Room

#5 Post by Adam » Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:29 pm

8 or 9 Ray titles were restored by the Academy Film Archive, but rights issues have held them all up from being released.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: 573 The Music Room

#6 Post by matrixschmatrix » Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:30 pm

I don't know anything about this movie, or Ray in general really- is there anything I should read to get a basic grounding? Is this up there with the Apu movies as something people are excited about? It looks really fascinating, but I get the feeling there's a whole world of background I'd be missing if I just jumped in head-first on this one.

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Re: 573 The Music Room

#7 Post by swo17 » Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:32 pm

Adam wrote:8 or 9 Ray titles were restored by the Academy Film Archive, but rights issues have held them all up from being released.
That's what I was thinking of. Was this one of the 8 or 9 titles?

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Re: 573 The Music Room

#8 Post by mteller » Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:44 pm

matrixschmatrix wrote:I don't know anything about this movie, or Ray in general really- is there anything I should read to get a basic grounding? Is this up there with the Apu movies as something people are excited about? It looks really fascinating, but I get the feeling there's a whole world of background I'd be missing if I just jumped in head-first on this one.
I've seen every Ray film (he's my favorite director, except for maybe Bergman) and it would make my top 10. I don't see any reason not to make it your first Ray film.

I'm super excited about this release, except for the awful cover art. I can finally junk that crappy import. Hopefully this is just the beginning. Apu trilogy, Calcutta trilogy, Devi, Charulata and Mahanagar are all at the very top of my want list.

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zedz
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Re: 573 The Music Room

#9 Post by zedz » Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:58 pm

matrixschmatrix wrote:I don't know anything about this movie, or Ray in general really- is there anything I should read to get a basic grounding? Is this up there with the Apu movies as something people are excited about? It looks really fascinating, but I get the feeling there's a whole world of background I'd be missing if I just jumped in head-first on this one.
The Music Room has long been considered one of his greatest films. Great though the Apu Trilogy is, its status as an axiom of 'World Cinema' tends to unfairly overshadow the rest of his achievement. Those films are only the tip of the iceberg, and a lot of enthusiasts prefer this film (which I've never seen), Charulata (probably my favourite), the Calcutta trilogy or Days and Nights in the Forest. Ray's work is culturally specific, to be sure, but it's also very accessible, so this is going to be a great place to start for anybody.

Also, it looks like a very good set of extras, so with luck a lot of context will be provided on the disc.

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swo17
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Re: 573 The Music Room

#10 Post by swo17 » Fri Apr 15, 2011 6:16 pm

This is less of an authority than zedz, but They Shoot Pictures currently ranks The Music Room as the 204th best film of all time, just below two parts from the Apu trilogy in the Ray canon.

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andyli
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Re: 573 The Music Room

#11 Post by andyli » Fri Apr 15, 2011 6:22 pm

Academy Film Archive restored quite a lot more than 8 or 9 titles. I think their goal is his entire life of work.

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Jeff
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Re: 573 The Music Room

#12 Post by Jeff » Fri Apr 15, 2011 6:37 pm

andyli wrote:Academy Film Archive restored quite a lot more than 8 or 9 titles. I think their goal is his entire life of work.
They don't, however, all necessarily have the same copyright holder. I'll be curious to find out who the credited licensor is for The Music Room. The Academy Film Archive has been working with the Satyajit Ray Film and Study Center at UC Santa Cruz to collect, restore, and catalog almost all of Ray's films. They are loaning prints, but presumably screenings must also be cleared via some unknown copyright holder. I'd like to think that they all ended up with one holding company who has licensed the lot of them to Criterion. I eagerly await the day when people start complaining about all the Satyajit Ray films in the collection.

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bunuelian
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Re: 573 The Music Room

#13 Post by bunuelian » Fri Apr 15, 2011 6:38 pm

I recall enjoying this film quite a bit when I saw it at the Stanford retrospective years ago. An interesting and surprising way for Ray to enter into the Collection. Most exciting CC title to be released in a while for me.

I'm also hoping for a nice edition of Charulata. The Calcutta Trilogy would make a great Eclipse release. This has probably been said before....

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Re: 573 The Music Room

#14 Post by rrenault » Fri Apr 15, 2011 6:40 pm

They Shoot Pictures isn't the be all, end all list though, but I guess it provides a pretty good idea of the reputation a film has in the English-speaking cinephile community. Either way, I can't take a list seriously that has Jaws and Star Wars in the top 100 while Marketa Lazarova and Love in the Afternoon don't even crack the 1000, even if they both did at one point.

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andyli
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Re: 573 The Music Room

#15 Post by andyli » Fri Apr 15, 2011 6:44 pm

Jeff wrote:They don't, however, all necessarily have the same copyright holder. I'll be curious to find out who the credited licensor is for The Music Room. The Academy Film Archive has been working with the Satyajit Ray Film and Study Center at UC Santa Cruz to collect, restore, and catalog almost all of Ray's films. They are loaning prints, but presumably screenings must also be cleared via some unknown copyright holder. I'd like to think that they all ended up with one holding company who has licensed the lot of them to Criterion.
I was only commenting on the restorations. Yes I agree the copyright situation would be much more complicated. To quote Nick in the Abhijan thread:
peerpee wrote:Many of his films were produced, and are thus owned, by different people. Many of the producers are elderly or not with us anymore.

The Ray FASC in Santa Cruz and AMPASA have the best elements, but no-one's really been willing to pony up the dough to gain access or pay the producers for the rights (Columbia USA didn't bother with the restorations for their rubbish APU set, and neither did Artificial Eye, to the best of my knowledge) ...

The problem is with the various Indian producers who own the rights. They don't believe in royalty payments and thus require a large payment upfront (which Eureka paid for ABHIJAN).

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Re: 573 The Music Room

#16 Post by broadwayrock » Fri Apr 15, 2011 7:20 pm

It would have been nice if they managed to get an interview with Jack Nicholson as this is his favourite film.

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Re: 573 The Music Room

#17 Post by MichaelB » Mon Apr 18, 2011 9:56 am

Another of the Academy Film Archive restorations has already been released, courtesy of Mr Bongo's Company Limited.

It's nowhere near perfect, and I'm not sure perfection is even attainable with these titles given their history and India's substandard archival practices, but it's light years ahead of their other Ray discs (The Adversary is borderline unwatchable, and The Goddess and Two Daughters merely adequate).

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Re: 573 The Music Room

#18 Post by stroszeck » Mon Apr 18, 2011 5:22 pm

\:D/ \:D/ \:D/ Wow. Just wow. i'm so ecstatic I can't speak. I've been DYING for this movie to get the criterion treatment and now i can throw away my tattered 15 year old VHS copy!

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Re: 573 The Music Room

#19 Post by Napier » Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:45 am

I need two! \:D/ \:D/ more of these to convince me.

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Re: 573 The Music Room

#20 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 4:50 pm

I also like Charulata the most out of all of the 'early period' Ray films, but The Music Room is a wonderful, melancholic film in its own right. While I don't want to overplay it too much (just in case it gives people the impression that this will be similar to House!), I find it to be almost like a psychological ghost story in the way that the film feels about the many different ways of self destructing by holding onto, and tormenting yourself, with fading memories of what could have been and over the lost potential to have changed things (though they are quite different in many ways, I think you could make a good double bill of this and Whistle And I'll Come To You).

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Re: 573 The Music Room

#21 Post by Shrew » Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:31 pm

I've only seen 7 Ray films, but I think this is the best. Though all are certainly great, and moments of the Apu trilogy reach fantastic heights unmatched by few, this may be the most consistent.

And I think a good point of reference may be Shakespearean tragedy. This is a very dark film, though in a growing way not apparent at first, and the main character is done in just as much by his own faults as the old world being replaced by a new world around him. There's even a sort of a fool/devil character in his attendant.

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Re: 573 The Music Room

#22 Post by stroszeck » Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:52 am

Napier wrote:I need two! \:D/ \:D/ more of these to convince me.
\:D/ \:D/ There you are good sir!

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andyli
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Re: 573 The Music Room

#23 Post by andyli » Thu Jul 07, 2011 2:21 pm

Beaver. Sublime.

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Tommaso
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Re: 573 The Music Room

#24 Post by Tommaso » Thu Jul 07, 2011 2:50 pm

Unbelievably good, even without the comparison to the crappy FsF dvd.

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Re: 573 The Music Room

#25 Post by TMDaines » Thu Jul 07, 2011 3:06 pm

This is an absolutely perfect example of why people get disappointed when Criterion (and MoC) just a port an already exisiting release, instead of putting another film out there in all its glory. It looks stunning!

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