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 Post subject: Miklos Jancso on DVD
PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 3:11 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2006 5:39 pm
Location: London
I have just received the Clavis Jancso boxset which contains:

1. Psaume Rouge
2. Silence et Cri
3. Mon Chemin

and 'Les Sans-Espoir'...

I have only had the chance so far to have a look at The Round-Up on my humble laptop. I was a little disappointed and fully expect Second Run to do better job in a few months time. The DVD is **very** dark! I saw the film a few months ago on cinema and I don't recall it being as visually dark as this... the picture was also fuzzy and there was some print damage that I would expect to have been digitally cleaned (budget allowing). The subs were yellow (irritating esp. in a b&w film). I know the source material is likely to be in poor shape but still, i expected a little better. I have put my copy on sale.

Has anyone else seen this and do they agree with what I have to say?

QUICK UPDATE

I have flicked through the other DVDs:

1. Psaume Rouge: I was very pleasantly surprised! Clean, sharp image, (a few specks but no big deal at all). Includes 'Messages of Stones' documentary. A different episode to Second Run's documentary (and hopefully less tedious). This DVD underlines how shameful the American R1 release of 'Elektra My Love' really is. (yellow subs)

2. Silence & Cri & Mon Chemin both have yellow subs and (my initial impression) decent/very good transfers.

I suspect the disparity between these and the round-up is down solely to the source material (it must be).
I'm curious as to how Second Run will do with Mon Chemin and especially The Round-Up...

**note to 2nd run** please translate the songs at the beginning of The Round-Up and Mon Chemin! Clavis have not and it'd be nice to know what they are singing...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 4:40 pm 
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Thank you. I've ordered the box ("Red Psalm" is one of my all time favorite films), but will wait on the others. How irritating, yet apt, that the French DVD maker used yellow subtitles.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2006 5:48 am 
The Second Run 'Red & the White' DVD has to go down as most disappointing DVD release of the year. The picture quality somehow manages to be even worse than the already-dire Kino disc - out of focus, dark, dirty. And make no mistake, 35mm anamorphic prints of this film are beautiful to behold.

I won't be holding my breath for any other Second Run Jancso releases (French set prompty ordered, yellow subs or no).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2006 7:19 am 
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ugetsu wrote:
The Second Run 'Red & the White' DVD has to go down as most disappointing DVD release of the year. The picture quality somehow manages to be even worse than the already-dire Kino disc - out of focus, dark, dirty.

Is this true? Anyone own both discs? I was going to order the Second Run, but if this is true I'll save myself the shipping & skoink the Kino.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2006 4:19 am 
It's true, I own both discs... Both transfers would appear to be struck from the same materials (beaucoup dirt and scratches). The Kino disc is much sharper, but has suffered from what looks like a bad PAL-NTSC conversion and there is a disturbing amount of digital noise whenever the camera moves. However, this is preferable to the Second Run edition which is completely out of focus and cropped on all four edges.

I also just picked up the French 3-disc set of MY WAY HOME, SILENCE & CRY and RED PSALM.

MY WAY HOME is strangely rendered in 1.85:1 (when I saw this at the theatre it was 1.37:1). Having said this, the framing on the disc doesn't seem uncomfortable and it is quite a good anamorphic transfer.

SILENCE & CRY is a lot more disappointing, non-anamorphic 2.35:1
and somewhat murky, probably an old analog master. The US disc would appear to be a bad PAL-NTSC transfer of the same master and is thus inferior (the US disc claims to be anamorphic but is not).

RED PSALM is not bad. It would appear to be from an analog master, but sharp enough and the colours are strong. Watchable. Criterion really needs to back up on the Richard Linklater DVDs and put out some of the babies...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2006 10:24 am 
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ugetsu wrote:
Criterion really needs to back up on the Richard Linklater DVDs and put out some of the babies...

=D> =D> And Noah Baumbach too!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 22, 2006 12:05 pm 
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Location: North Carolina
ugetsu wrote:
SILENCE & CRY is a lot more disappointing, non-anamorphic 2.35:1 and somewhat murky, probably an old analog master. The US disc would appear to be a bad PAL-NTSC transfer of the same master and is thus inferior (the US disc claims to be anamorphic but is not).

Ugetsu, are you talking about the R1 release from Canadian company Dreamquest? I wonder if you're confusing their two Hungarian releases: Silence and Cry and The Witness. As I recall, it was The Witness that was a bad PAL->NTSC port, not Silence and Cry. In fact, their release of Silence and Cry is pretty decent, especially since you can grab it for well under $20 (either Canadian or U.S.). I seem to remember that you're right about it not being anamorphic, though.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 22, 2006 12:28 pm 
wax on; wax off
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Tisk tisk...settling for a bad version of the Witness when an excellent one is availalbe right here on the forum </flagrant self-promotion>

Now if the Hungarians here would only get off their butts and start putting out Jancso....sadly he isn't highly regarded in his own country.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 22, 2006 1:11 pm 
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Yeah, I know, I know. (Mea culpa! Mea culpa!) But to be fair, I purchased both directly from Dreamquest a few months ago -- before you offered your copy up for sale, I think. I don't regret my purchase of Silence and Cry, but if I were to buy The Witness again, it would be from you. I guess I'll settle for the Dreamquest release for the time being, just as I've settled for similarly problematic releases from Kino, New Yorker, Milestone, etc. There are so many other DVDs I need to buy as it is.

Nevertheless, I'll recommend your offer to others, Skuhn. The Witness is great film, and I'm sure Skuhn's copy is superior to Dreamquest's.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 22, 2006 1:26 pm 
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To be honest, never saw how the Dreamquest Witness looks--have had the Hungarian release for a couple years now and they did an excellent job. That's why I keep a number of copies on hand for the forum members here. Wish Dreamquest would get their rights issues resolved regarding the future Keleti, Jancso and Szabo releases. I find the whole matter dubious as other companies seem to be able to come out with the goods, however slowly. I was in regular contact with Dreamquest until a couple years ago as I requested Tizedes meg a tobbiek before they even had it listed and have been waiting eagerly since. I have their Silence and Cry and I'm starting to wonder if Jancso opted for a bleery greyish look. Would fit in with his atmosphere.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 22, 2006 8:45 pm 
Yes, I'm referring to the Dreamquest SILENCE & CRY. I now hate to think what their WITNESS looks like ](*,)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2006 10:41 am 
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Well, as I mentioned above, I think you're exaggerating the badness of Silence and Cry, especially in your claim of a PAL->NTSC transfer, which doesn't seem to be the case (no tell-tale ghosting). Considering that the prices are very reasonable and that Dreamquest has included interesting extras on each disc, I don't think they're regrettable purchases at all. (And like Skuhn, I'm beginning to wonder if the overall bleariness of Silence and Cry was an aesthetic choice on Jancso's part, but I haven't seen enough Jancso to know for certain.) I do, however, think that Witness looks worse, so I definitely wouldn't recommend it to you.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2006 1:50 pm 
It's a blurry, distorted and scratched non-anamorphic analog PAL-NTSC conversion of a 2.35:1 film, contrast boosted and lacking in shadow detail. How am I exaggerating exactly?

There are many telltale signs of a PAL-NTSC transfer, ghosting doesn't have to be one of them. Silence & Cry displays classic symptoms - the source is identical to the PAL, however on the Dreamquest the image is vertically stretched and has a blocky digital quality, a lack of detail, as if a gauze has been stretched over the image. It took me about 1 second to spot the problem.

These films were shot 35mm anamorphic. To suggest they are supposed to look this way is an insult to Jancso and his cinematographers.

Anyway, for the purposes of ending this debate, I just timed both discs and the running time is identical.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2006 2:16 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2004 4:46 pm
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I'll definitely give you the blocky digital quality--very apparent to me and I've watched it on a tube tv, a laptop and projected. This is my only Dreamquest disc and I have to wonder--and worry--if this is a sign of things to come. As far as the "gauze"--it's not unlike Second Run's Red and White, and I wonder if Jancso strove for a low contrast quality to his films. Heck, I have a doc of his from '56 with same quality and it doesn't appear to be from any deterioration of elements or shabby transfer.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2006 2:34 pm 
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I've seen a number of MJ's films projected in 35mm, but not "Silence". Of the B&W films, "The Red and the White" was fairly low contrast whereas "The Round-Up" I would say was "average" contrast.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2006 5:13 pm 
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ugetsu wrote:
for the purposes of ending this debate

You seem to have been trying to do this a lot around here with your, to date, 18 posts.

I'm not terribly interested in carrying on this debate any further, either. But just a question about using run-time comparisons to verify if a given R1 transfer is PAL-sourced: isn't there always the possibility that the R2 transfer is a port of the NTSC? That's just as likely an explanation to account for the same run-time on R1 and R2 releases. I'm not saying that that's the case in this instance, but there are certainly notable examples. (The "extended version" on Warner's R2 release of The Wicker Man is one.) That's one of the reasons I tend to rely on the presence of ghosting, especially in those cases where the R1 predates the R2 by several years.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2006 5:49 pm 
Re: the 'gauze' I wasn't refering to the contrast, rather a layer of digital softening that is present on the NTSC edition and not the PAL. THE RED & THE WHITE projected on 35mm is indeed fairly low contrast, but it is also impeccably lensed and rich in detail.

tryavna wrote:
isn't there always the possibility that the R2 transfer is a port of the NTSC?

Of course - but that is clearly not the case in this instance. Do you have a copy of both DVDs? Do you have shares in Dreamquest?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2006 6:40 pm 
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ugetsu wrote:
Do you have shares in Dreamquest?

Hmm, I thought I had explicitly stated:

Quote:
I'm not saying that that's the case in this instance

But don't let that stand in the way of your sarcasm.

My real stance, however, is that, like many other posters on this forum, I'm willing to cut some companies (Kino, Milestone, Artificial Eye, etc.) a little slack if they're making an effort, even when the results are less than spectacular. All of this is probably moot anyway, since Dreamquest hasn't released a Hungarian film in three years.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2006 6:58 pm 
well sure, there are financial issues that prevent smaller companies from doing a perfect job. However, the Masters of Cinema series shows that it can be done - and that the pay-off can be worthwhile.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2006 2:26 am 
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Dreamquest vs. MOC? No. Dreamquest is probably two guys in a woodshed outside Calgary or something. MOC has the well-appointed advantage of having the Eureka collosus behind them. Not to say that MOC is operating with a Warner budget, but with Dreamquest it's a matter of having it out there with a "decent" transfer. I haven't seen the doc dvds they've been putting out since this bizarre moratorium they're claiming but I suppose none of those are HD transfers either. Probably they outsource practically every step of the operation other than replying to emails and actually boxing stuff up for shipment.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2006 4:48 am 
skuhn8 wrote:
MOC has the well-appointed advantage of having the Eureka collosus behind them.

The Eureka collosus? Come now. I don't believe any UK DVD-only arthouse label can be called a collosus :) Basically, there a certain level, a certain amount of required capital, below which one should not stoop :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2006 4:25 pm 
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Felt like using a ten-point word. Sylvia Plath sort of mood. Anyway, I hope you know what I mean. MOC has far greater resources and greater control over the end product....as far as I can tell. And we can certainly see the results. Compare their websites and the frequency of releases. We could try to contact Dreamquest and ask just what the deal is but I suspect the dial up internet connection they use in the shed operates only in burps and jolts. Now, if you want to slap someone around, let's talk about Facets. On second thought, let's not.

Here's to MOC coming out with more Jancso before Dreamquest. Why wait for the best?

according to an arthouse bookstore/dvd shop in budapest the following titles are coming soon (JÖN!) from Jancso:

Jancsó Miklós: Csend és kiáltás JÖN!
Jancsó Miklós: Csillagosok, katonák JÖN!
Jancsó Miklós: Ã


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2006 4:45 am 
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Here's a "DreamQuest vs Clavis" comparison for Silence and cry.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2006 6:01 am 
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Does anyone own the other Clavis releases of Jancso and Szabo's films? Are these worth picking up? Has anyone been able to compare Clavis' RED AND WHITE with the Second Run release?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2006 6:52 am 
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Since my initial post I have only managed to watch 'Silence & Cry' :oops:

I (unfortunately) own Second Run's 'The Red & The White' of which I had high hopes. Sadly, it's pretty crap...I read on a french forum that the Clavis edition is not very good either (as to which is better, I can not say). Ugetsu says that the Kino one is better than the 2nd Run (though if there are decent prints available why are they all crap?? :? ).

Please, please avoid the Round-up at all costs!It is dire...
As to whether or not to buy the Clavis...I am pretty happy with my purchase. Putting this into perspective -which you have to- it is the best jancso on the market (I know that's not saying much). The only other Jancso on the horizon we know of for certain is the 2nd Run and they have a lot of work to do to make up for for the Red& White debacle, so yes I would recommend the Clavis boxset... :lol:

edit: from dvdclassik.com=

Quote:
Après un Psaume rouge, de très bonne facture, deuxième film visioné avec Rouges et blancs. Le constat est plus mitigé, avec blancs souvent crâmés, et un son avec du souffle et quelques saturations. Ca reste correct, mais rien de bien transcendant.

&
Quote:
Il serait bien que Clavis face un peu de publicité autour des dvd qu'ils éditent...Je viens d'acheter la version anglaise de Rouges et Blancs...


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