684-690, 873-879 Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Project

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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giovannii84
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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#51 Post by giovannii84 » Mon Nov 25, 2013 3:56 am

That's one way of getting people to buy both releases

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#52 Post by MichaelB » Mon Nov 25, 2013 4:59 am

You'd have to be a serious Scorsese completist!

I can't speak for the Criterion, but the intros on the MoC discs are pretty superficial - it's more a case of "I'm Martin Scorsese and I approve this restoration" than an in-depth critical analysis.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#53 Post by cdnchris » Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:44 pm

I've only watched the first 4 so far but Scorsese's intros basically just explain how the respective films came to their attention and then offers a few thoughts on them. So far they range between just under 2-minutes and 2-minutes-40-seconds.

I was trying to watch Dry Summer while I was home alone with my son (who makes general life difficult--but I love him) and feel I missed a key plot point so was hoping someone could elaborate:
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There was a newspaper story about how Hassan was murdered in prison and of course Osman spreads this around town and tells Bahar. Did he somehow fake this or find out later this wasn't the case? It's suggested he always knew Hassan wasn't dead and lied, plus he wasn't at all shocked when Hassan showed up. Or did someone get the prisons confused, since Hassan was moved?

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#54 Post by knives » Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:22 pm

Does Wolof have no written component? I'm sure there could be a variety of reasons for the French throughout the film, but even the credits are one in French. I just thought that very interesting.


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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#56 Post by knives » Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:35 pm

Thanks.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#57 Post by tenia » Tue Dec 24, 2013 5:04 am

Looking at the editorial content of the Criterion boxsets, I'm not especially unhappy to have chosen the MoC way. It seems to me that the price asked by Criterion for this one is quite steep looking at the price they asked for other boxsets, especially the Pierre Etaix set, which has 5 movies and 3 shorts (so it's not far away from the 6 movies from the WCP Vol.1 set) and about the same amount of extras.

I do remember that the Etaix set is basically an Eclipse set which turned out to be released on BD in the end. I have the feeling that the WCP Vol.1 set is not especially remote from this situation.

Even more so, I'm surprised Criterion chose not to include the 25 min restoration featurette which was originally on the Korean BD, but has been licenced in France for the Carlotta release.

Anyway. Just my 2 cent of slight disappointment.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#58 Post by The Doogster » Tue Dec 24, 2013 8:37 am

tenia wrote:It seems to me that the price asked by Criterion for this one is quite steep...
I just picked up this set on Amazon for half price ($65). Not bad for six movies.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#59 Post by tenia » Tue Dec 24, 2013 8:45 am

Oh, absolutely, that's why I chose a common price base to compare. But if you use more common prices (the MSRP is indeed almost never used), the comparison still stands : the Etaix set went as low as $29.99 and usually is around £35, the Cassavetes is $64.99, the BBS $64.99 too (and went down to $52.99).

So when looking at all 4 boxsets, the WCP set seems to me to have a much less balanced price / content ratio, which was my point.

Then, of course, $64.99 for 6 movies is pretty neat, yes, but compared to other equivalent (either for their prices or their content) Criterion boxsets, this one feels a bit light.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#60 Post by med » Fri Dec 27, 2013 10:00 am

cdnchris wrote:I've only watched the first 4 so far but Scorsese's intros basically just explain how the respective films came to their attention and then offers a few thoughts on them. So far they range between just under 2-minutes and 2-minutes-40-seconds.

I was trying to watch Dry Summer while I was home alone with my son (who makes general life difficult--but I love him) and feel I missed a key plot point so was hoping someone could elaborate:
SpoilerShow
There was a newspaper story about how Hassan was murdered in prison and of course Osman spreads this around town and tells Bahar. Did he somehow fake this or find out later this wasn't the case? It's suggested he always knew Hassan wasn't dead and lied, plus he wasn't at all shocked when Hassan showed up. Or did someone get the prisons confused, since Hassan was moved?
Watched this last night without any distractions, and
SpoilerShow
you didn't miss anything. It's never explained if the story in the paper was some sort of ruse—though I doubt it—or simply someone with the same name as Hassan. Maybe there was a scene where Osman found out it was a different Hassan and it got cut? By the time he's released from prison, Osman was clearly ready for him, so it isn't as if he was as surprised as everyone else that he was still alive.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#61 Post by cdnchris » Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:30 am

Ah, thanks!
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I also wonder if a scene was cut. It was obvious Osman was not at all surprised when he showed up again, so that's why I felt I may have missed something.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#62 Post by FrauBlucher » Thu Jan 09, 2014 6:45 am


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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#63 Post by adavis53 » Sun Jan 19, 2014 11:50 pm

am i the only one who has a glitch on mine around the 8.30 minute mark of Touki Bouki where the audio cuts to a lot of static? or has that just been an unmentioned problem so far?

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#64 Post by swo17 » Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:13 am

I watched it a couple weeks ago and don't remember anything like that.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#65 Post by adavis53 » Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:42 am

Thanks! guess its time to email mulvaney

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#66 Post by ptatler » Fri Mar 07, 2014 4:22 pm

I've watched all the films and extras in the set and absolutely love it EXCEPT for the one I watched last night: TRANCES. I can't think of a film that I've seen recently that I found as repellent as this one. It's like watching the Moroccan equivalent of an Jesus Freak praise and worship service (or a really bad, late-period Dead show) for 90 minutes. There was one point -- where they began to delve into the Portuguese invasion -- that I thought it might start to open up a bit. But then it was forty more minutes of drumming.

My only takeaway was that this must have informed (perhaps subconsciously) the John the Baptist revelry scene(s) in LAST TEMPTATION.

I'll have more to say about the other films in the set (all of which I really enjoyed) once I can pull my thoughts together but I definitely feel like I went out on the worst note possible.

Anybody else?

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#67 Post by JSC » Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:08 pm

Personally, I found the film to be quite fascinating: an eclectic mix of elements utilizing the concert film, documentary, fictional narrative, and so forth. Also, having heard some of Nass El-Ghiwane's albums before seeing this, I liked seeing the interplay between the band members.

And yes, Scorsese did use some of their music in Last Temptation. It's most prominent in the scene where Jesus waits for Mary Madelene with the group of customers outside the brothel.

I actually thought The Housemaid to be the weakest. Despite the claustrophobic sets and the macabre nature of the film, the melodrama was so overwrought at times that it began to grate on me. Also, the ending (possibly tacked on at the insistence of censors?) was a real groaner.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#68 Post by movielocke » Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:54 pm

Redes was marvelous. On the other hand, I'm an utter sucker for any old pro-Labor propaganda, and the film assuredly fills that role, it might be one of my favorites of the genre, it's certainly better than the similar films on the Robeson set. I was sucked in by the performances and the scenario sketched by the fishermen, at times I felt like I was watching the impoverished cousin of the Tuna sequence in Rossellini's Stromboli. granted, the problem with the fishing sequences here is that there are no fish to be caught. The strident speeches, martyrdom and moustachio-twirling patrician villain were all well done and satisfying.

Touki Bouki is a pure fevre dream. It's an explosion of pride and angst in search of poetic coherence, and in a baffling and wholly delicious achievement they manage to completely pull it off. I think the only African films I'd seen from the era were from Sembene, which is sad and pathetic, but as Scorsese points out, true for far to many decades. This to me towers above those other films, though perhaps a big part of it is the high quality presentation. Sometimes those yellowish or pinkish 16mm prints with the blown out subtitles (completely unreadable 1/3 of the time) really interfered with connecting to the film. It's so damn satisfying to see Touki Bouki presented so well. Just stunning. Thematically I loved how the film gave us two outcomes at the end, by having the boy run away once he had achieved what he claimed he wanted he rejects change to return to the only life he knows, and by having the girl stay on the boat moving towards an entirely new life, in spite of her fear and worries and despite her companion bailing on her. I feel like in presenting that varied ending, the film avoids being shoehorned into a more structured narrative form and manages to be more realistic by showing us those two outcomes.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#69 Post by Lemmy Caution » Mon Jul 21, 2014 11:49 am

Just started in on this set.
Began with Touki Bouki which was was a wild ride.
Reminded me of The Harder They Come, with it's emphasis on rebellion, fashion and casual thievery. Always good to find more quality African films.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#70 Post by Lemmy Caution » Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:25 pm

This is really turning out to be a wonderful set.

Redes is very well done. The non-professional actors really make it feel authentic and the lead who gets martyred has a strong screen presence. I really liked how the fishermen finally get work, do a good long hard day's work successfully, only to depressingly get paid a few meager coins for their efforts. The music was quite effective adding to the heroic portrayal of the workers and their cause. Good stuff.

The Housemaid is fairly delirious and I liked how it kept taking everything further and nastier. The titular maid is edgy and nutso and seems like she strolled in from a different world, which is sort of the point. The acting is terrific. While the satire includes the belief that keeping the factory job is so important to the family that it's worth any humiliation and even committing murder.

There is a lot of nice camerawork, especially the tracking shots along the 2nd floor exterior. But also small bits such as when the husband is crawling to his wife at the end, and the camera is down at ground level pulling back from him.

The film reminded me of Bigger Than Life, where a perfect nuclear family goes off the rails, and things keep getting pushed to further melodramatic extremes. The commentary also relates the film to Bunuel and Imamura.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#71 Post by chatterjees » Wed Jul 23, 2014 10:37 pm

I just finished watching The Housemaid, which I think is an excellent film with a wicked story and some great acting performances. I am surprised by the PQ. It was bad, really bad. I hope this is not a disc issue, but a general problem. The PQ was terrible 47th minutes onward on my 55" LED screen. I just checked the forum review and the PQ got an 8! Did you guys encounter the same issue?

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#72 Post by swo17 » Wed Jul 23, 2014 11:20 pm

Did you not read this part of the review?
The Housemaid possibly has the most interesting restoration. Most of the transfer comes from the original negative but reels 5 and 8 are apparently missing. The best source for these missing segments was a release print that had burned-in, handwritten subtitles that took up half of the screen. These segments went through a vigorous restoration process to remove the subtitles. Unfortunately this process appears to have left behind some artifacts that are plainly visible, such as blocks of pixels that appear to be dancing about. These segments are also heavily damaged with scratches and tram lines, and rather brutal contrast levels. The rest of the film on the other hand looks fairly spotless, so this makes the weaker sequences all the more noticeable.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#73 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Jul 23, 2014 11:25 pm

We are lucky to have a complete version of Housemaid at all -- it seems to have been pretty close to having been "lost".

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#74 Post by chatterjees » Wed Jul 23, 2014 11:40 pm

swo17 wrote:Did you not read this part of the review?
The Housemaid possibly has the most interesting restoration. Most of the transfer comes from the original negative but reels 5 and 8 are apparently missing. The best source for these missing segments was a release print that had burned-in, handwritten subtitles that took up half of the screen. These segments went through a vigorous restoration process to remove the subtitles. Unfortunately this process appears to have left behind some artifacts that are plainly visible, such as blocks of pixels that appear to be dancing about. These segments are also heavily damaged with scratches and tram lines, and rather brutal contrast levels. The rest of the film on the other hand looks fairly spotless, so this makes the weaker sequences all the more noticeable.
I read it an year ago, but watched the disc only an hour ago. That's what happens when you buy stuff and put it on the shelf for ages! I just quickly checked the rating before I posted, sorry about that. It makes a lot of sense now. Thanks swo17. I really appreciate it.

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Re: 684-690 Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, No. 1

#75 Post by Lemmy Caution » Thu Jul 24, 2014 1:08 am

If you check out the MS intro on The Housemaid disc, he mentions the missing reels and the less than optimal alternative source. And provides a brief clip of the film with the very large English subs. It is unfortunate and a bit jarring at first, but the rest of the film looks terrific.

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