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Thread: Criterion Collection

  1. #31
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    THE SEVENTH SEAL/ On Subs

    Glad to learn that both Johann and Sinjin own The Seventh Seal on Criterion dvd. There are three audio tracks: Swedish, English(dubbed) and commentary from a Bergman specialist. The dvd illustrates the importance of subtitling. I just saw it 3 times. There were clear discrepancies and omissions in the english subs compared to the English language track. It is a dilemma because if everything is subtitled the viewer has scarce time to observe the images. Obviously this is not an issue for Jacques Tati's almost wordless creations. But consider watching All about Eve or His Girl Friday as a non-english speaker. Frustrating. Likewise, it is practically impossible for the non-francophone -given the copious dialogue- to appreciate the genius of Renoir's The Rules of the Game in one viewing. I am curious about the audio tracks of the criterion edition which I plan to buy or rent. Anyone?

    The Seventh Seal, inspired by medieval frescos Igmar saw in the country churches where his chaplain father preached and biblical passages regarding the apocalypse, contains one of the grimest scenes in all cinema:
    A procession of flagellants approaches the plaza: a line of half-naked men lashing one another; monks struggling under the weight of huge crosses or holding skulls over their bowed heads, blood-stained faces of children who wear crowns of thorns; the ecstasy of masochism; eight soldiers taking a caged gal to the stake. The procession interrupts the skit of a traveling troupe and halts. A priest scolds, mocks and belittles those present. Glutted with hate, he joyfully proclaims the wrath of God, while throughout Sweden a third of the population meets the horrible death that was the "Black Plague".

    What I had forgotten was how Mr. Bergman managed to incorporate some humor and tender moments into an exploration of man's search for meaning. This is sublime cinema.

  2. #32
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    Re: THE SEVENTH SEAL/ On Subs

    Originally posted by oscar jubis
    Glad to learn that both Johann and Sinjin own The Seventh Seal on Criterion dvd.
    The Seventh Seal was my first Bergman film and I'm anxious to see more. I picked up Wild Strawberries that was highly recommended by a friend, but haven't watched it yet.

    Here's what I wrote about The Seventh Seal after watching it:

    The Seventh Seal (Det Sjunde inseglet) (1957) - ***1/2 (Out of 4)
    An excellent Swedish film, directed by Ingmar Bergman. A knight and his squire return from home the crusades to Sweden which is being swept by the plague. He is approached by Death who's come for him and the knight challenges Death to a game of chess to spare his life. Not knowing, I expected this movie to be focused on the game of chess, when it's really more telling the story of how people dealt with the tumultuous times dealing with the black death that is killing off the people. I'm glad this was the case as it is what really drew me into the story. So many interesting elements. Seeing how the religious officials were blaming people for their sins and telling them it was punishment from God. The most telling scene in the movie was when they were talking to the girl who was about burned alive for being involved with the devil. There was one scene that amused me, probably more than intended...when Death was cutting down the tree with a saw. I really enjoyed the lighter scenes that contrasted the serious ones in the movie. Ultimately I believe it was never the knight's intention to really try and beat Death, but to try to prolong life as long as possible in hopes of accomplishing something positive...in this case helping the couple and their child. This is my first Bergman movie, but it makes me anxious to explore more of his work. While watching, it was easy to spot many parts that have been borrowed/parodied in future films...it was good to finally see the source.
    Rank: #3 in 1957
    Last edited by SinjinSB; 06-18-2003 at 10:34 PM.

  3. #33
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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by SinjinSB
    So many interesting elements. Seeing how the religious officials were blaming people for their sins and telling them it was punishment from God.
    Clearly Bergman's position is anti-clerical. Notice how the same seminarist who talked the knight into joining the Crusades is a rapist and a thief.

    The most telling scene in the movie was when they were talking to the girl who was about burned alive for being involved with the devil.
    The key scene for me was when Jof and Mia share a meal of wild strawberries and fresh milk with the knight, the blacksmith, the squire and the silent woman he saved from the seminarist. Bergman provides an alternative to the sacrament of the Eucharist. Bergman celebrates the natural world, the family, and the love for our fellow men. Then complicates readings by showing Jof having lovely visions of Mary and child(Jesus?) and excluding the pure "silent woman" from the procession led by Death in the famous final scene.

    Ultimately I believe it was the knight's intention to try to prolong life as long as possible in hopes of accomplishing something positive...in this case helping the couple and their child.

    Absolutely.

  4. #34
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    THE SEVENTH SEAL

    While the commentary by Peter Cowie is good, his voice aggravates me. Hence I've only seen the film with commentary once. (Cowie also does the commentary on Wild Strawberries-he knows his stuff, Peter does, but that voice...)
    I love the "dance of death" scene.

    Speaking of Bergman, Criterion is releasing a box set with
    Through a Glass Darkly
    The Silence
    and
    Winter Light

    They just keep cranking 'em out...
    Last edited by Johann; 07-11-2003 at 11:08 AM.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  5. #35
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    MORE Kurosawa: Donzoko (1957)

    Yet another Kurosawa film is getting the treatment. (Are they doing them all?)

    THE LOWER DEPTHS

    Mifune's performance in this one is one of my favorites.
    Last edited by Johann; 05-19-2007 at 01:37 PM.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  6. #36
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    The second Soderbergh by CC

    Schizopolis (probably my favorite Steven Soderbergh film) is getting the Criterion treatment.
    I learned this today while sipping my morning double shot espresso. Life is good.

    It's even better today because I have the day off, it's payday and I'm going to make some studios a tiny bit richer by attempting 4 screenings in one day of the summer "bankers":

    Charlie's Angels 2: Full Throttle
    Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
    Gore Verbinski's Pirates of the Carribean
    and
    The Italian Job

    Better take my vitimins and sunglasses- the sun is blinding when you leave a matinee....
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  7. #37
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    Changing gears on the fly *SPOILERS*

    Well, things went completely awry today.

    I didn't see the 4 films as planned due to running into someone from work. But I did get to 2 films in the afternoon that blindsided me:

    I was "ordered" to see WINGED MIGRATION . I reluctantly agreed. The guy was very adamant that I would be blown away. And I was. This was one of the most incredible viewing experiences I've ever had. Holy Mary, what an achievement these filmmakers have on their hands. This is what the film medium is all about. It appears birds use every ounce of their being to just exist on this earth, and I have never felt so ashamed to be of the human species. Just get your ass to a theatre showing this work of sumptuous art. You will not regret it. I can see why it got an ovation at your festival, Oscar.
    And I thought "KOYAANISQUATSI" was all about images of power! The outer space shot of earth with the geese flocking to the north pole was simply jaw-dropping. No recommendation or words can express this piece. See it and have your eyes opened WIDE>

    Next, the eye-catching poster for Ozon's Swimming Pool told me to see that instead, and of course it was pitch-perfect. (I must confess that I correctly predicted the ending halfway through- hoping to be wrong , but no matter- it's damn good all the same).
    Last edited by Johann; 09-30-2003 at 01:13 PM.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  8. #38
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    Re: Changing gears on the fly *SPOILERS*

    Originally posted by Johann

    I was "ordered" to see WINGED MIGRATION . I reluctantly agreed. This was one of the most incredible viewing experiences I've ever had. Holy Mary, what an achievement these filmmakers have on their hands. This is what the film medium is all about. Just get your ass to a theatre showing this work of sumptuous art. You will not regret it. I can see why it got an ovation at your festival, Oscar.
    The outer space shot of earth with the geese flocking to the north pole was simply jaw-dropping. No recommendation or words can express this piece. See it and have your eyes opened WIDE>


    ...and I used to think my recommendation and a standing O from Miami's tough crowd would suffice. Glad ya saw it J. Do you think those who'll catch up with it at home will be able to soar like we did? I'd rather not watch it at all.

  9. #39
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    Surfin' Birds

    I hope those who can get to a theatre do so.

    WM was the best documentary I've ever seen. It's even replaced "My Best Fiend" because MBF was sinister. Subtle power beats agressive power I always say.

    This film had it all- tragedy, comedy, drama, terror, horror, etc etc.
    How they captured flying with the birds with the sound of only the air, I'll never know. This was a powerful, powerful movie.
    Last edited by Johann; 07-22-2003 at 06:16 PM.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  10. #40
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    serious new releases

    Criterion are setting the bar higher and fucking higher....


    Fellini's La Strada- my favorite Fellini film.
    Ozu's Tokyo Story
    Cronenberg's Naked Lunch


    and

    Fassbinder's Bundesrepublik Deutschland trilogy (box set)


    all before christmas! What's on your wish-list?

    All of these flicks and Polanski's Knife in the Water are on mine...
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  11. #41
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    Get ready to mark your calendars.

    Criterion just announced the release of The Rules of The Game

    and Kurosawa's IKIRU
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  12. #42
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    This is great news. Glad I didn't invest on the french import dvd of RULES because the extras were not subtitled. Did Criterion decide to scrap plans to release Ozu's FLOATING WEEDS? Well, they did release TOKYO STORY with a ton of substantial extra features.

  13. #43
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    Hmmm...

    Floating Weeds appears to have been shelved for the time being. (the same thing happened to La Strada a year ago).

    I'm sure it will hit stores in the new year.

    January 20th is the release date for Ikiru & Renoir's masterpiece, btw.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  14. #44
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    Fellini's La Strada

    "La Strada" will be released November 18th by Criterion. Amazon is asking $28. Both the Italian and English versions will be available on the SAME dvd.

    Memory: It was my first year out of high school. I attended the first week of film screenings at the local film club organized by older film school students. The first screening was "La Strada". I had never seen it, coming from a small mid-western town where there were few art houses. I wept as I have never wept for a movie before. When the house lights came up at the end, I was ashamed of how wet my face was, and struggled to use my sleeves to wipe off my tears. I've never forgotten how just obverving the reflected light and moving shadows off a flat surface could move me to react so strongly until my gut ached with misery. Whoever dismissed film as shallow has never seen "La Strada"

  15. #45
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    I agree

    I was completely altered after seeing La Strada the first time, like you, cinemabon.

    A 70 year old former teacher friend of mine taught me the genius of Fellini. He said before we watched the vhs: "Prepare to see Guiletta Masina. The director married her. You will not forget her".

    Sobbed like a baby. It's my favorite Fellini film just because of how I was introduced to it. (and my reaction). My friend (I'll say his name: Constantine) was a major influence. He showed me The wages of Fear (a film that terrifed him in Cyprus as a boy), Gilda with Rita and Glenn- "Jason! Do you want to see Gilda dance?" he would say whenever we'd watch it for the gazillionth time.

    The Greatest Show on Earth, Maureen O'Hara, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Gone With The Wind and all of Orson Welles' films were introduced to me by this wonderful man- Con.

    Sorry to sound sappy, but I miss him and the times we spent watching those classic movies....
    I hope you learned to forgive the Greeks, Con....
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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