157 Orphans

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MichaelB
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157 Orphans

#1 Post by MichaelB » Thu Nov 07, 2019 5:13 am

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ORPHANS
(Peter Mullan, 1998)
Release date: 27 January 2020
Limited Edition Blu-ray


Pre-order here.

Renowned Scottish actor Peter Mullan (Trainspotting, My Name Is Joe) made his feature film directing debut with this fierce jet-black comedy of familial grief shot in and around the streets of Glasgow where he grew up.

As four siblings reunite for the funeral of their mother, Orphans blends realist drama, wildly absurdist humour, and moving social observation. Gleefully unsentimental and taking wicked delight in subverting audience expectations, Orphans is a dark, dangerous, funny and extraordinarily touching modern classic of Scottish cinema.

INDICATOR LIMITED EDITION BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES:

• High Definition remaster
• Original 5.1 surround sound and stereo audio tracks
• Audio commentary with writer-director Peter Mullan (2000)
Orphans Reunited (2019, 60 mins): Hopscotch Films’ 20th-anniversary documentary featuring interviews with Mullan, actors Douglas Henshall, Gary Lewis, Stephen McCole, and Rosemarie Stevenson, composer Craig Armstrong, and others
The Making of ‘Orphans’ (2000, 38 mins): archival documentary featuring behind-the-scenes footage
• Deleted scenes with optional director commentary (12 mins)
• Audition tapes with optional director commentary (17 mins)
• Three short films directed by Mullan: Close (1994, 17 mins), Good Day for the Bad Guys (1995, 23 mins), and Fridge (1995, 21 mins)
• Original theatrical trailer
• Image gallery: publicity and promotional material
• New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Limited edition exclusive 40-page booklet with a new essay by Michael Pattison, an archival article by Mullan, Mullan’s open letter to FilmFour, critical responses, and film credits
• Limited edition of 3,000 copies

#PHILTD157
BBFC cert: 18
REGION FREE
EAN: 5060697920048

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colinr0380
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Re: 157 Orphans

#2 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Nov 07, 2019 6:49 am

I'll just copy this post across from the "Indications of Upcoming Indicator Entertainments" thread:
colinr0380 wrote:
swo17 wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 7:09 pm
Image
"She ain't heavy...she's my mother"

Peter Mullan's first directed feature length film, about four siblings who separate early on and end up going on their own individual journeys of discovery in the night before their mother's funeral. Its darkly comic with a weirdly beautiful streak of magical religious Catholic realism. Its a really great (and very funny!) little film and deserves to be much better known than it is (I think it barely got screened on Film4 beyond once or twice a couple of decades ago)

Hopefully Indicator can port forward the extras from the old DownTown/MGM DVD edition. That has the trailer, a making of documentary, deleted scenes and audition tapes (both with commentary), two of Mullan's short films (Close and Good Day for the Bad Guys), an isolated score and a commentary with the all-time classic commentary opening "Welcome to the world of DVD, you sad anorak bastards...!"

This was also the film that caused Mullan to go on a tirade at Channel 4/Film4 as they apparently destroyed hours of behind the scenes material from the film without any consultation with him first. I wonder if there have been any developments since that point. He certainly lambasts Channel 4 for its behaviour throughout the commentary track, including their refusal to allow Mullan to change the ending of the film, which he completely ignored apparently!
Great news then from the list that MichaelB has posted, as whilst it looks as if the isolated score has been dropped everything else from that original DVD is there, plus a reunion documentary and an extra short film with Fridge.

Also whilst this is and always has been an 18 certificate (and does feature at least the aftermath of a stabbing and a very novel scene of "an unloaded gun meeting a loaded one" as described by Mullan in his commentary!), it is probably for that standard Scottish reason of the "c" word being used liberally throughout! There must be about thirty instances of it in the first ten minutes or so!

Plus it does have a lady with cerebral palsy in a wheelchair telling someone falteringly attempting to 'deal' with her to "fuck off", so there's that too! :D

I went back and watched the film last night and it is an astonishingly good film (arguably better than many a Ken Loach because there's a real sense of cheeky humour to leven the drama). So many great scenes especially in the sister's journey through the dark streets only to encounter a group of young teen girls who 'adopt' her and whisk her through the streets and parks ("like a Fellini or De Sica film", as Mullan says) before just as quickly abandoning her. Or that moment that always gets me in tears just after this as one of the girl's mothers, after having been told to "Fuck off" but not taking that for an answer wheels the sister up the ramp by the side of their house whilst a elderly neighbour gets quickly to her feet and shouts at them through her window to "stay off ma ramp! It was put in for my use only!". Which initially makes her just seem nastily belligerent, but then in briefly holding on her shouting about her late husband having fought to put it in for her and then after being ignored shakily closing the window again and sitting back down staring out of the window as if on eternal vigilance of the ramp, feels heartbreaking in an awful way.
Last edited by colinr0380 on Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 157 Orphans

#3 Post by MichaelB » Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:04 am

colinr0380 wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 6:49 am
Also whilst this is and always has been an 18 certificate (and does feature at least the aftermath of a stabbing and a very novel scene of "an unloaded gun meeting an unloaded one" as described by Mullan in his commentary!), it is probably for the standard Scottish reason of the "c" word being used throughout almost as a verb! There must be about thirty instances of it in the first ten minutes or so!
Just three, as it happens, but 22 across the entire film. Plus four apiece in Close and Fridge and nine in Good Day for the Bad Guys, making it comfortably the sweariest disc that I've subtitled since Blue Collar a year ago.

I think it would comfortably qualify as an 18 even without the language, but it is indeed pure untrammelled Glaswegian, with all that that implies. In fact, I was amused to see that the subtitles on the old MGM disc significantly toned down what was being said onscreen, and there were times when overseeing the Indicator equivalent that the job mostly seemed to involve adding more swearwords (75 "fucks" in the MGM subs, a whopping 166 in the Indicator ones).
Plus it does have a lady with cerebral palsy in a wheelchair telling someone falteringly attempting to 'deal' with her to "fuck off", so there's that too! :D
There's a really sweet bit in the Orphans Reunited documentary where Rosemarie Stevenson (who really does have cerebral palsy; Peter Mullan insisted on that, even though it meant casting a non-professional as there were no professional Scottish actors who qualified) confesses that this was the hardest bit of the film for her to do, because she hates swearing, never normally does it, and was mortified at the thought that her family might see her do it onscreen. Although given what's happened in the film before that point, they'd most likely have fled the cinema already if they were that sensitive.

Incidentally, Orphans Reunited is one of the best retrospective docs I've seen in a long, long time - the mere fact that they've got the writer/director, all four lead actors, two significant supporting actors and the composer on board itself flagged up in advance that they were all fiercely proud of their work (and quite rightly), and there are some glorious anecdotes along the way.
I went back and watched the film last night and it is an astonishingly good film (arguably better than many a Ken Loach because there's a real sense of cheeky humour to leven the drama). So many great scenes especially in the sister's journey through the dark streets only to encounter a group of young teen girls who 'adopt' her and whisk her through the streets and parks ("like a Fellini or De Sica film", as Mullan says) before just as quickly abandoning her. Or that moment that always gets me in tears just after this as one of the girl's mothers, after having been told to "Fuck off" but not taking that for an answer wheels the sister up the ramp by the side of their house whilst a elderly neighbour gets quickly to her feet and shouts at them through her window to "stay off ma ramp! It was put in for my use only!". Which initially makes her just seem nastily belligerent, but then in briefly holding on her shouting about her late husband having fought to put it in for her and then after being ignored shakily closing the window again and sitting back down staring out of the window as if on eternal vigilance of the ramp, feels heartbreaking in an awful way.
There are lots of moments like that - Mullan has a real gift for switching from comedy in such appalling taste that even John Waters might think "Hang on a minute there, Pete" to something that's really properly devastating, and then back again. For all the film's wild raucousness, Mullan never forgets that the core subject is about the traumatic experience of going through bereavement, and it's fiercely honest about this throughout. (Incidentally, Douglas Henshall says in the doc that his own mother died six weeks before shooting started, and that in retrospect he really should have pulled out of the project, but... well, a lot of his performance basically isn't acting, and is all the more affecting for it.)

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colinr0380
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Re: 157 Orphans

#4 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:11 am

Sorry for the mix up on the swearing. I must have gotten the "c" words and the "f" ones conflated somehow! I did also notice that issue with the old DVD edition's subtitles too, which seemed to selectively translate a lot of the dialogue throughout, so that would be another thing that this new edition could improve upon.
MichaelB wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:04 am
There are lots of moments like that - Mullan has a real gift for switching from comedy in such appalling taste that even John Waters might think "Hang on a minute there, Pete" to something that's really properly devastating, and then back again. For all the film's wild raucousness, Mullan never forgets that the core subject is about the traumatic experience of going through bereavement, and it's fiercely honest about this throughout. (Incidentally, Douglas Henshall says in the doc that his own mother died six weeks before shooting started, and that in retrospect he really should have pulled out of the project, but... well, a lot of his performance basically isn't acting, and is all the more affecting for it.)
I had never realised that before, and Henshall's character does go on the darkest journey of all four characters in many ways. Though everyone else is facing their own 'dark night of the soul' too, facing the idea that there is nobody there to protect them anymore but their own, imperfect, siblings (A moment that really hit me badly whilst watching last night was the one in the bar early on where Thomas is talking with another person about their mother and when he finds out this this lady's mother is in her late 80s and still knocking around, and then she in turn asks how old his mother was when she died, he abruptly gets up and leaves. We only really find out for sure (though the childhood flashback of the kids huddled with mother in bed during a thunderstorm provides a clue) that the mother of these four siblings was decades younger than that other person's mother in the inscription on the grave in the scene at the very end)

On the comment about something that is humourous to devastating then back again, that's really what makes that revised graveside ending work so beautifully too. Better than the seemingly originally planned suicide one, because really life does (and should) go on for those left behind. Even if they may be back and forth in their ambivalence about whether they want it to or not!
Last edited by colinr0380 on Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:38 am, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: 157 Orphans

#5 Post by MichaelB » Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:18 am

It was a challenge to subtitle, but mainly because of the difficulty inherent in balancing a desire for verbatim authenticity with the practical need for the subtitles to be easily graspable in a second or two. It took quite a bit of trial and error (not least because we wanted to be consistent across all the subtitles - the shorts and the Orphans Reunited doc have SDH subtitles too), but I ultimately favoured using authentic Scottish words like "cannae" and "didnae" but sticking to standard British spellings for common words (so "out" rather than "oot").

I was faced with a similar challenge on Black Joy and took a very similar approach (i.e. "raas" and "bloodclaat", but not "dem" or "ting"), but those subtitles seem to have gone down pretty well - they don't normally get mentioned at all in reviews, but I can think of at least a couple of exceptions with this film, which suggests that the reviewers found themselves rather more reliant on them than is normally the case - and this might well happen with the Mullan films too. Crucially, we absolutely did not want to "translate" the dialogue for any of these films, as we felt that this was patronising and unnecessary (and indeed quite a few US reviewers of Orphans, who had to deal with burned-in subtitles, complained about this) - even if you struggle to make out the dialogue in spoken form, once you've got the written version it should be obvious what's being said from the context even if words like "greeting" (crying) or "wean" (child) are new to you.

And yes, I'm very happy to confirm that these are by far the most thorough and accurate subtitles that Orphans has ever had, and I'd say pretty much 99% verbatim - it's only in scenes where everybody's shouting at once that I had to be more selective. (Credit where it's very much due, the official transcript was admirably comprehensive, which is by no means always the case.)

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Re: 157 Orphans

#6 Post by MikeFH » Thu Dec 12, 2019 3:57 am

MichaelB thank you for the quality work you deliver on the subtitles. I am not hard hearing, but Dutch, so English is not my native tongue. The subtitles are for me - and a few of my online friends - important reasons to buy blu-rays that have them. Hearing and reading English at the same time make the movie much better to follow.

Sometimes it’s a pity the extras aren’t subtitled, so I am happy to read the extras on Orphans are.

Keep up the good work!

Mike

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Re: 157 Orphans

#7 Post by MichaelB » Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:08 am


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Re: 157 Orphans

#8 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:00 pm

He really does find the only moment of nudity in any film, doesn't he! (And rather spoiled a shock reveal)

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Re: 157 Orphans

#9 Post by MichaelB » Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:31 am


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Re: 157 Orphans

#10 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Apr 03, 2020 10:49 am

Despite having read colin and MichaelB's comments a few months back, I still found myself unprepared for this rattling composite of personalized grief as experienced through interpersonal relations. Right from the start Mullan hits very darkly comic notes, with absolutely hilarious scenes (the best come in the first ten minutes, with the family stunned with flat affect engaging passively in a proposed haircutting ritual, and the depression karaoke scene is basically tonal schizophrenia) juxtaposed sharply with anger, violence, and emotional pain. This film is rich with the blending and transient handoffs of dark and light; sad to humorous. An emotional breakdown leads to an awkward situational joke, which leads to a horrific brawl and injury, which leads to a visual silent gag, which leads to a touching familial moment, etc, just like life. There is one gross out gag that was too raw to be out of a teen sex comedy but so insane that you have to take it as such, if taken out of chipper fantasy-land and firmly rooted in bald happenstance - and that moment of course turns into armed invasion, presented as alarming and not the least bit funny. There are even surrealistic moments that defy the grim realism in their occurrences (colin's magical Christian realism is dead on) but the film is too gritty to feel hallucinatory so we are soberly grounded in spite of the impossible.

This is a film about a crisis, and while Mullan attempts to strike a difficult balance, he does it well without deviating from this acknowledgement that threatens repeatedly to drown the spinning narrative threads in its despair. I’ll admit that it was very hard for me to engage with this film’s tonal shifts at times because they are so sporadic and diverse while remaining fixated to solemnity even in the absurd gags. I wasn’t sure I had permission to laugh (the best analogy I can think of is when an authoritative teacher does something funny in class but you’re not sure if it’s okay to let loose and engage considering their overarching demeanor) though even with the overwhelming traumatic emotional flooding soaking everything here, there are some wholly originally ideas playing with mood and farcical comedy even if close to the chest, and in all its uneven turns was mostly riveting. Towards the end the wildness began to spin too out of control for my tastes, perhaps due to diving into its darker self-serious state too consistently, but as Michael mentions this has always been a narrative about an acute crisis that sends a family into emotional dysregulation, so expecting anything else would be to want a different movie. All of this thankfully returns to a connective space of humility and unity at the end and sticks the landing by stripping away the chaos to land at unconditional empathy from the audience and the characters as they emerge from their own tunnel vision to see their peripheral loved ones who do still exist, as reciprocal supports for grief but also simply people who they love and care for when unclouded by the burdening self-focused process of egregious loss.

I was not expecting such a bold effort and one that earns its emotional surge through a most peculiar exploration of aggressive externalizations of emotional disturbance. The collective impact of events paint a three dimensional composite on family dynamics, and the ability for Mullan to find absurdist gags in the stark sober realism of everyday life, including the most devastating of times, is what sells this as a unique piece to be studied and appreciated on its own terms as well as inevitably filtered through our personal affairs. Since I believe that one of the few things that ties all adult humans together is the experience of loss, this is a film full of possibilities to be triggered or affirmed in relatability, or perhaps struck numb by its foreign contrast to our comprehensions, but even if the latter - as was my own initial experience - that dissonance brought me back to the common denominator of dysregulated emotions that allowed for that validation to take place.

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