Miklos Jancso on DVD

Discuss internationally-released DVDs and Blu-rays or other international DVD and Blu-ray-related topics.
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Barmy
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#76 Post by Barmy » Thu Feb 01, 2007 1:53 pm

Jancso's Cantata is imminent.

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zedz
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#77 Post by zedz » Thu Feb 01, 2007 9:43 pm

Cantata is a bit of a curio. For most of the film, it's slightly awkward socialist drama (the kind of thing done much better in Czechoslovakia at the time - Return of the Prodigal Son and the like), but there's a late sequence when the protagonist gets out into the countryside and you see the first glimmerings of Jancso's mature style. In My Way Home the style isn't fully formed, but the film is nevertheless magnificent; this film is even more embryonic.

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Barmy
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#78 Post by Barmy » Fri Feb 02, 2007 1:15 pm

I don't know why it's the earlier Jancso's that are getting released. I would have thought the color pageant films (such as the magnificent "Confrontation") would have broader appeal.

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tavernier
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#79 Post by tavernier » Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:07 pm

Maybe it's cheaper to pick up these early titles and gauge whatever interest there may be. Although I agree with Barmy.

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Barmy
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#80 Post by Barmy » Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:15 pm

The sublime "La Pacifista", starring the incandescent Monica Vitti, was released in Italy in 2006. No subs. I just ordered it, and will report on quality--it looks like a cheapie. Certainly one of Jancso's more accessible films.

The "La Pacifista" DVD is an excellent transfer, absolutely luminous. It does justice to Carlo Di Palma's cinematography.

As for the film itself, it is a bit on the wordy side. Also I'm pretty sure Vitti did not dub her voice.

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#81 Post by jsteffe » Fri Apr 06, 2007 1:00 am

ivuernis wrote:I received the DVD this week, haven't watched it yet but had a brief preview and it looks great. It also has Huszarik's short film Elégia among the extras. I'll post some screen-grabs when I get round to it.
So, what are your thoughts on the SZINDBAD disc? Good transfer? Good subtitle translations?

I saw an unsubtitled DVD from the Hungarian Film Archive and was astonished by how beautiful this film is. I'll go so far as to say it's one of the most beautiful color films ever made. It's not just because of the the pictorial quality of the images, but because of way he uses different lens lengths and film stocks/printing to shape their texture. Sandor Sara, the DP, is a genius pure and simple. The Gyula Krudy stories from which the film was adapted have been translated into English and are well worth seeking out.

With regards to another forgotten masterpiece, apparently Clavis has the rights to Ferenc Kosa's TEN THOUSAND SUNS / TIZEZER NAP (1967) and will release it on DVD eventually. I hope the subtitles are decent, because the script for that film was by a major Hungarian poet, Sandor Csoori and it conveys the peasant speech as a kind of poetry in itself. Kosa won Best Director at Cannes, but I think the film was barely distributed in English-language countries, if at all. It has stunning 'scope photography by Sara. So keep an eye out for this film and snatch it up if you get the chance.

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Private Vices Public Virtues (Miklós Jancsó, 1976)

#82 Post by MichaelB » Tue Mar 11, 2008 10:19 am

Just a quick warning for anyone tempted to pick up Televista's new release of Miklós Jancsó's notorious Private Vices Public Virtues (which ran for months at one of London's less salubrious soft-core sex venues) - although anamorphic, the transfer is interlaced and sourced from a pretty ropey old theatrical print with lots of damage, especially at reel changes.

The aspect ratio is exactly 16:9 - this looks more or less correct, and I'm assuming the original was 1.85:1 (pretty standard for Italian films of the time) rather than Scope.

The really bad news, though, is that credits and soundtrack are exclusively in English. Granted, the original would almost certainly have been post-synced, and Italian isn't necessarily the native language of the characters (the film's set in an unnamed central European kingdom), but it's still jarring.

The only extra is a stills gallery, staged to what I assume is the theme music.

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Barmy
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#83 Post by Barmy » Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:38 pm

Funny. I thought PVPV looked awesome. Print damage doesn't bother me in the slightest--just made it look more like film. Some of the actors (admittedly, not many) clearly spoke their lines in English. It's kind of a trashy movie so for me it just plays like a dub job on a European B flick. The colors are quite intense/bright.

Confession: I have no idea what anamorphic, interlaced, etc. even mean. I just pop the DVD in and set it on wide zoom.

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#84 Post by denti alligator » Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:49 pm

Barmy wrote:Confession: I have no idea what anamorphic, interlaced, etc. even mean. I just pop the DVD in and set it on wide zoom.
Well that explains your unusual tastes.

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#85 Post by MichaelB » Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:28 am

I see no-one's commented on Clavis' Cantata, so I will.

I didn't have high hopes when I saw the cover artwork with its obviously video-sourced images - but the actual transfer was a very pleasant surprise. The source print was exceptionally clean for its age (a few minor spots and scratches can be easily tuned out), and the transfer was clear, sharp and appears to be framed correctly (I'm assuming it's 1.33:1 - I think cropping would look pretty obvious). All in all, this is one of the best pictures I've seen on a Jancsó DVD.

The sound is less successful - there's low-level hiss throughout, occasional crackle and top-end distortion - but for all I know this reflects the original.

No extras, but the white English subtitles are fine bar the odd typo ('tracktor').

The film itself has been widely and accurately compared to Antonioni in its treatment of a young doctor's psychological crisis, and I believe Jancsó himself admitted that the then very recent La Notte was his major inspiration. But you can also see Jancsó's own distinctive style in embryonic form towards the end, especially in a scene about two-thirds in when the protagonist returns to his home village and encounters a former lover - it's shot in a single long take (approx 3 minutes) with the camera constantly alive to their position against the backdrop - inevitably, one of those infinite Hungarian plains that Jancsó would very much make his own. So not major Jancsó, then, but well worth a look.

My first attempt at a Jancsó DVD survey - all additions and corrections gratefully received!

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#86 Post by skuhn8 » Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:25 am

MichaelB wrote:My first attempt at a Jancsó DVD survey - all additions and corrections gratefully received!
I got this:
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You are accessing this site from a banned location.
It's about time they banned this location. Must be my end. Disappointing: I was looking forward to this.
Last edited by skuhn8 on Wed Mar 12, 2008 10:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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MichaelB
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#87 Post by MichaelB » Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:26 am

Works perfectly for me - anyone else have any problems?

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#88 Post by foggy eyes » Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:53 am

The link works fine for me, and looks like an excellent resource. Incidentally, I watched the Clavis disc of Red Psalm a couple of nights ago, and was thrilled by everything except the English subtitles. Although its difficult to know how accurate they are, my guess is that they probably need a radical overhaul (to iron out the grammatical awkwardness and fill in a number of gaps - for example, its a real shame that the song at the beginning is left unsubbed). Remarkable film - far more diffuse and abstract in design than The Red and the White and My Way Home, and a formidable indicator of just how versatile Jancso's extreme long take style could be.

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Barmy
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#89 Post by Barmy » Wed Mar 12, 2008 12:45 pm

A good Jancso survey.

In my opinion much of his best work remains unreleased on DVD. I strongly prefer his (mid-period) color films to the B&W. And in some cases, such as the transcendant L'Aube, he did outstanding work without using his trademark long-take style.

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#90 Post by Numéro 2 » Wed Mar 12, 2008 2:30 pm

Fantastic survey, Michael. Thanks a lot.

One addition is that the 1965 film The Precence is included on the american Silence and Cry.

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#91 Post by MichaelB » Wed Mar 12, 2008 7:42 pm

Numéro 2 wrote:One addition is that the 1965 film The Precence is included on the american Silence and Cry.
Thanks for that - I've updated the listing.

And I've also uploaded a full review of Clavis' Cantata.

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#92 Post by otis » Sat Mar 15, 2008 7:02 am

Screen caps from the Italian La Pacifista here. Packaging describes it as a "new digital transfer from the original negative".

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#93 Post by MichaelB » Tue Mar 18, 2008 7:06 am

otis wrote:Screen caps from the Italian La Pacifista here. Packaging describes it as a "new digital transfer from the original negative".
Thanks for confirming that it has Italian subtitles as well - I might take a punt on it. My Italian's horrendously rusty, but a simultaneous spoken and written version should help enormously.

But am I right in thinking that Mokép's Hungarian DVD of The Confrontation is (a) the only one out there, and (b) unsubtitled?

Full reviews of Second Run's My Way Home, The Round-Up, The Red and the White and Clavis' Silence and Cry are now up.

I'm hoping to get Red Psalm (Clavis), Electra My Love (Facets) and Private Vices Public Virtues (Televista) up before the Easter break - after which I might, workload permitting, have a go at the six Pepe and Kapa comedies.

Also, I cocked up the frame grabs on Silence and Cry, which are slightly trimmed at the sides (I don't have FTP at work and knocked them off very quickly first thing this morning). I'll replace them tonight, but in the meantime please rest assured that the DVD is indeed the full 2.35:1 Scope ratio.

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#94 Post by otis » Tue Mar 18, 2008 5:09 pm

Screen caps from the Italian Vizi privati, pubbliche virtù here. Seems to show some ghosting when paused, but I didn't notice when watching. Perhaps my mind was on other things - like Teresa Ann Savoy's dick!
MichaelB wrote:My Italian's horrendously rusty, but a simultaneous spoken and written version should help enormously.

Michael, a lot of the "dialogue" in La Pacifista is actually interior monologue, which can be rather confusing until you get the hang of it (especially as even Monica Vitti is dubbed by another actress).
But am I right in thinking that Mokép's Hungarian DVD of The Confrontation is (a) the only one out there, and (b) unsubtitled?
skuhn confirmed that it doesn't have English subs on the previous page of this very thread. I asked one of the guys from Second Run about the possibility of more Jancsó after the Curzon screening last Friday, and he said they'd like to eventually but the problem was finding decent materials. I mentioned the Hungarian Confrontation disc, and it was the first he'd heard of it. He did say they might get round to Red Psalm, but stressed that it wouldn't be for some time. (He also confirmed they're working on Valerie & Her Week of Wonders).

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#95 Post by MichaelB » Tue Mar 18, 2008 5:27 pm

otis wrote:I asked one of the guys from Second Run about the possibility of more Jancsó after the Curzon screening last Friday, and he said they'd like to eventually but the problem was finding decent materials.
Well, Clavis' Cantata is pretty good, though if the Clavis Silence and Cry represents the best master currently available, they've got problems! (The source print seems very clean, but the image is very soft and the transfer non-anamorphic.

Assuming that that's the "official" Hungarian master for that particular film, it's unlikely that Second Run will be able to do much better except clean up the subtitles. But it sounds as though their Round-Up is a distinct notch above the Clavis version, so hopefully I'm completely wrong.

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Barmy
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#96 Post by Barmy » Tue Mar 18, 2008 5:28 pm

I have the Confrontation DVD. You might be able to get it from skuhn. There's a Hungarian dude on eBay that sometimes sells it.

Rather than releasing DVDs that have already been done by Clavis, Second Run might consider subtitling the AWESOME transfer of Confrontation (or La Pacifista). I don't see how that could fail to make a profit.

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#97 Post by tavernier » Tue Mar 18, 2008 5:50 pm

Barmy wrote:I don't see how that could fail to make a profit.
Well, you've been wrong before.

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#98 Post by MichaelB » Tue Mar 18, 2008 5:53 pm

Bear in mind that last Friday saw the first 35mm screening of The Round-Up in London for many, many years, with Jancsó in attendance for (let's be realistic here) probably the last time, highlighted in Time Out as the most important screening of the week...

...and it still didn't come close to selling out!

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#99 Post by otis » Tue Mar 18, 2008 6:05 pm

MichaelB wrote:Bear in mind that last Friday saw the first 35mm screening of The Round-Up in London for many, many years
Actually, The Round-Up was shown at the Ritzy last year as part of their short season of films chosen by Scott Walker (a tie-in with 30 Century Man). And that print had the original prologue, not the English-language crawl title shown at the Curzon. Unfortunately, it was shown on the Ritzy's smallest screen, and the projectionist managed to cock up the aspect ratio, so the first reel was non-anamorphic 1.85:1 with the subtitles chopped off. Still blew me away. And no, I don't think Scott was in attendance.

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#100 Post by MichaelB » Wed Mar 19, 2008 6:35 am

Red Psalm now published. It's a shame about the subtitles on the Clavis edition (which is otherwise excellent), though as it's not exactly a dialogue-driven film (a bit of an understatement) the frequent typos, awkward phrasings and even occasional cropping are less of a problem than they might otherwise be. I suspect on subsequent viewings I might switch them off altogether.

Curiously, the DVD Beaver review claims - with supporting framegrab evidence, so I'm not about to disagree - that the subtitles are white. But mine are definitely yellow: the film's playing on my laptop as I write this!

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