780 Code Unknown

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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Lowry_Sam
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Re: 780 Code Unknown

#26 Post by Lowry_Sam » Mon Nov 23, 2015 9:35 pm

I just watched my Mr. Smith Goes To Washington blu-ray for the first time & it too seems to have the same problem (among others) at least 4 times in the film.....so Criterion isn't the only one with quality control issues (and it's too late for me to send it back to Amazon).

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Re: 780 Code Unknown

#27 Post by giovannii84 » Tue Nov 24, 2015 6:47 pm

swo17 wrote:
Jon Mulvaney wrote:Criterion has been made aware of a possible problem with the release of CODE UNKNOWN and we are currently looking into it. As soon as we know more we will let you know.
Is this just in the bluRay, or does this impact the DVD as well?

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domino harvey
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Re: 780 Code Unknown

#28 Post by domino harvey » Sun Nov 29, 2015 12:39 pm

Great writeups in this thread, Colin! How has this guy not won Member of the Year yet? I enjoyed this a lot, with reservations, and I agree that there are a lot of memorable uncomfortable moments and lots of social politics never more relevant now fifteen years later. That said, I'm not sure the end result ever quite added up to a satisfying whole, and the intentionally cryptic construction is a little too cute for my taste, though I certainly appreciated it enough to second (or fifteenth) a recommendation. Ultimately, I think the film has one brilliant scene (the Metro abuse) and some others of varying degrees of interest, but too many vignettes that never went anywhere. And I didn't notice any of the technical problems alleged in this thread.

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colinr0380
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Re: 780 Code Unknown

#29 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Nov 29, 2015 4:34 pm

Aw shucks, thanks domino! One of the things that I like most about the Metro scene is the way that Binoche's character Anna is not really doing anything different to those two lads than she is to her husband at the end or her brother-in-law earlier on in the film - she's bluntly blocking them out (as many of the other characters in the carriage are trying to do as well) as a kind of standard response to being made uncomfortable, but of course runs up against people who take that blocking out personally and as a sign of Anna's inherent haughtiness towards them, either based on class or race or gender, or everything and nothing simultaneously. That in itself makes that small "Merci" at the end the most devastating part of the scene, as that has taken obvious effort on Anna's part to bridge that gap momentarily, even if there's nothing more that can be said at that point and the distance immediately returns. I also think this plays well against the scene of Anna and George at George's farmer father's home - Anna here makes the effort to reach out to comfort her father-in-law, but that brief touch is what causes him to immediately leave the table, this time blocking her own attempt to physically comfort and communicate with him (perhaps the first time she had done that with George's father) out.

This might just be because it was one of the earliest Haneke films I saw (the second, after the original Funny Games) but I've always been very taken with Code Unknown. It sort of feels like a key text in the same way that Cymbeline felt like an ur-text of Shakespeare themes. It encompasses lots of themes, sketching in ideas that are focused on in much more specific detail elsewhere in his filmography (for example the fantastic Piano Teacher really focuses in detail on the dangerous wish fulfilment fantasy-turned-harrowing reality idea of liberation and being 'saved' set against an oppressive day-to-day grind. What happens when your darkest desires are taken out of your hands and carried out for real by an outside force - the push and pull between wanting to be used set against actually being used and discarded, much as the title character does to her pupils), but this feels like the film that is smashing all of these core preoccupations together to see what results from the interaction.

It also works as an interesting bridge between the Austrian and the French work, re-fitting and re-introducing some previous ideas (particularly 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance) to a new country whilst starting to grapple with issues surrounding working with famous stars to integrate their persona into a narrative, as well as issues raised by working on a wider 'international' scale as well (and multiple languages is another key theme of the film).

The structure of this film, following the different shards of characters off into their own discreet worlds after their 'big bang' boulevard clash at the opening, does perhaps understandably leave all of the narrative threads hanging inconclusively, but then I suppose that's also life in a way (The issues of limitations surrounding 'concluding' a narrative could also be seen as something that Haneke has played with in his other films. Most obviously in the harrowing conclusions of something like The Seventh Continent or Amour, or the endless metatextual and cyclical nuclear family processing of Funny Games. But then there are also the slightly more open ended works too where a climax arrives but the characters still remain afterwards, dealing and processing with the aftershocks of those events. In Time of the Wolf for instance, the climax happens in the very first scene). I particularly like the climax to Binoche's subplot with her neighbour, in which she goes to a funeral (of the child she heard screaming?) and then catches up to and walks alongside the elderly neighbour, as if expectantly waiting for the neighbour to fill in the backstory and explain what happened in order to neatly tie up that situation and provide some form of necessary closure. Maybe also to let the elderly neighbour absolve herself of whatever 'guilt' we assume she has in light of the child's death. Yet the neighbour, and Binoche along with her, just walk on in silence. Is the neighbour completely innocent of all of Anna's suspicions? Or unable, or unwilling, or just uninterested in explaining herself to us no matter how much we feel that she has some kind of responsibility to explain herself to us, and justify catching Anna's, and the film's, attention over these scenes? How much is the audience's gaze one that demands to be satisfied and proven to be correct in its assumptions?

This section sort of suggests to me that Anna needs something to occupy herself as a distraction (or abstraction) from thinking about her relationship, her father-in-law, her movie, etc, and this overheard neighbour section is just the kind of relatively minor thing to occupy her and fill her time with for a little while. A "Funny Game", or entertainment for Anna if you will - a minor distraction from issues that are actually having significant impacts on her by filling her time with an inconsequential mystery that it would be nice to solve, but doesn't have a great impact if it is or not. (It has been a while since I saw it but I kept thinking this section was in the same vein as Woody Allen's Manhattan Murder Mystery!)

This feels like it plays into the title of the film itself as it feels that the biggest question we are left with by all of these open ended, unsolvable situations is "why are the characters doing what they are doing to each other?" (or perhaps "why are you doing this to me?" How have particular people been picked out for others to focus their attention on? What has been the trigger to the interaction?), with both an invitation to the audience to fill in the blanks tempered by cautionary tale(s) about doing so thoughtlessly and concretely.

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NABOB OF NOWHERE
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Re: 780 Code Unknown

#30 Post by NABOB OF NOWHERE » Tue Feb 02, 2016 8:10 am

And the answer is Encode unknown?

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tenia
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Re: 780 Code Unknown

#31 Post by tenia » Tue Feb 02, 2016 8:59 am

NABOB OF NOWHERE wrote:And the answer is Encode unknown?
I haven't read either any definitive answer from Criterion. It seems that people / reviewers / official places need to make some noise (like on Eraserhead) to get things moving, otherwise, here is Criterion’s communication for their regular customers : no answer.

Needless to say it’s not really a consumer-friendly way to treat such questions, but hey ! it seems they might finally have got round their compression issues (3 years after the first occurrence of the issue, in Koyaanisqatsi), so I guess we might have something for the Haneke around 2018.

Sadly, blu-ray.com doesn't have a review online which could have got (or not) this issue more visibility.

nitin
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Re: 780 Code Unknown

#32 Post by nitin » Tue Feb 02, 2016 9:39 am

re the improved compression (at least going by The Graduate and I Knew Her Well caps), wasnt it only recently that someone contacted Radius 60 direct? That might have done the trick.

As for Code Unknown, I reckon this will be fixed. The lack of a review so far on blu-ray.com is probably for a reason I would say given that every other Criterion release is reviewed.

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tenia
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Re: 780 Code Unknown

#33 Post by tenia » Tue Feb 02, 2016 9:53 am

I've contacted both Criterion and Radius60 by email mid of Nov '15, but I doubt I alone was convincing enough to make them have a go at it ! :lol:

Maybe others did so too. However, looking at how long some of Criterion's releases take to fully materialise, they might have been (hopefully) already looking at it since a few months.
nitin wrote:The lack of a review so far on blu-ray.com is probably for a reason I would say given that every other Criterion release is reviewed.
It would not be my way (as a reviewer elsewhere) to treat such an issue, but yes, it's likely Svet is awaiting a formal answer from Criterion before posting a review pointing an issue that is being looked at.
On the other end, it means being already 3 months late on this review, and us consumers having to sustain a 3 months radio silence.

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Re: 780 Code Unknown

#34 Post by nitin » Tue Feb 02, 2016 11:23 am

I've contacted both Criterion and Radius60 by email mid of Nov '15, but I doubt I alone was convincing enough to make them have a go at it ! :lol:
Might not have been as much about you being convincing but maybe Radius 60 just seeing the screenshots and going yep we can do better. Nov15-Jan16Feb is about the period when the Feb discs would have been authored.

Either way if it is addressed, will make the transfers closer to perfect as opposed to being very good-excellent.

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swo17
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Re: 780 Code Unknown

#35 Post by swo17 » Tue Feb 02, 2016 11:55 am

Well Criterion did say that they were looking into the issue, though that was two months ago.

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FrauBlucher
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Re: 780 Code Unknown

#36 Post by FrauBlucher » Tue Feb 02, 2016 10:02 pm

Not too long ago I had an email exchange with Dr Svet. He said he has info on issue and will share in his review. I guess he is holding off as a courtesy to Criterion until they figure out what needs to be done.

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colinr0380
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Re: 780 Code Unknown

#37 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:13 pm

A few fragments that came to mind from today's viewing of the Criterion edition:

- I had never previously noticed the poster for a Betty Page film on the wall of Anne and Georges' apartment! Its only really visible in the scene when Georges first gets introduced in the film. It might be reading too much into it, but it is perhaps appropriate for a couple respectively defined by performing towards the screen and capturing images through their camera lens!

- I really like that small quarrel between Francine and George during the meal at the restaurant, with Francine calling Georges out on his whole photojournalistic career by suggesting it treats people with contempt that they don't know about war or famine until being confronted with photographic 'truth' of an event. I'm sort of in the middle on that whole debate, as you need imagery to continually be captured and fed into a conversation about events in the world (the primary role of the news media), which validates George's position somewhat. Yet where I would side more with Francine is that being somewhere and experiencing a warzone or African famine 'for real' might lend a media personality like Georges (and his journalist buddies, like "Phil and his CNN contacts" who get them out of a brush with the Taliban later on) a privileged sense of being the only ones who could truthfully 'editorialise' on events, when they might be just as blinkered and operating from a certain biased perspective (either in what they are shown as members of the press, embedded or not, or what photographs best in terms of impact and where particular photos might get published. Let alone personal cultural biases!). I sometimes get the sense that the firsthand experience can sometimes be used as a weapon to brook no dissent by trading on 'shock and awe' of the vivid imagery, as compared to someone without that close contact but with a wider (historical, cultural, and so on) perspective who may have a different, and equally valid, response to events. Or that can at least put the immediate into a wider context that is often forgotten. That I think is also getting to the central theme of the film playing around with documentary-style still images set against the production process of Anna's fictional thriller, or on stage audition. Are the real life photographs inherently truthful, and the fictional film inherently false? Or do they both, imperfectly and with bias (in composition of what to include or exclude) capture elements, rather than the whole picture, of their wider world?

For some reason this makes me want to see that more recent Juliette Binoche film, A Thousand Times Good Night though!

- The above also leads me to think that perhaps Georges is an even colder character than Anna, in the sense of their relationship being troubled, and Georges not wanting anything to do with the neighbour next door problem (because Anna was the one who received the note), whilst he also seems comfortable intruding into and violating other people's personal space when it is behind a camera, whether in a foreign warzone or surreptitiously taking photos on the Metro. (I'd also agree with the comment Roy Grundmann makes that we are meant to be equating the two 'appropriations of public space for private agenda' scenes on the Metro, though I had not thought of it being based on the camera angle at which we are viewing Juliette Binoche before Grundmann made that comment!)

- Also, Code Unknown interestingly pushes one of Haneke's seemingly key character types - the watchful child, commenting on and problematically taking action that wrecks the lives of the adults (say the son in Funny Games, the boy at the end of Time of the Wolf, Benny in Benny's Video, the mysterious child in Hidden, or most obviously the kids in The White Ribbon) - almost completely out of the margins and into the almost Shakespearean chorus roles of the deaf children bookending the film, or the boy clutching onto the balcony that opens/ends the film within the film. Or even just into a disembodied screaming overheard from the next apartment! Even in a multi-cultural society, all of these children feel marginalised to the point of being fictional characters, voiceless, or ghostly screams without bodies!

- It was really interesting to see that the Criterion disc features three trailers! The old Artificial Eye UK disc only had two, which were the dubbing/"Sad?" and the Metro/"Guilty conscience?" ones, so it was interesting to see that there was a third teaser from another key scene: the supermarket argument/"Alone?". I wonder why the old AE disc dropped the third teaser, as I think all three beautifully capture the experience of the film. I was especially taken by the way that each of these teasers focus on a key section from the middle of a much longer scene, capturing the emotional centres which the longer scenes in the film build up to and then linger on the fallout of a lot more.
Last edited by colinr0380 on Sat Mar 05, 2016 7:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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FrauBlucher
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Re: 780 Code Unknown

#38 Post by FrauBlucher » Mon Feb 29, 2016 7:28 am

Bluray.com review
NOTE: There is a mastering error on the Code Unknown release. There are a few small segments with skipped frames. Examples can be seen at 00:08:38 and 00:10:07. We have confirmed with Criterion that they appear on discs from the First Pressing, though we do not know how many discs that are already in the retail system are affected. If you believe that your copy is affected, you can contact Criterion for a replacement at mulvaney@criterion.com.

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tenia
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Re: 780 Code Unknown

#39 Post by tenia » Mon Feb 29, 2016 12:16 pm

I guess 5 months is enough time to post a late review without making the dropped frames issue look too bad...

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Re: 780 Code Unknown

#40 Post by FrauBlucher » Mon Feb 29, 2016 12:31 pm

In an email response to me Dr Svet said he was waiting for a Criterion response to his question about the issue.

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tenia
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Re: 780 Code Unknown

#41 Post by tenia » Mon Feb 29, 2016 2:41 pm

If it was a matter of a few weeks, why not delaying the review a bit, but in this case, the release date was early november 2015. He could have posted a review with an addendum rather than leaving customers in the dark for so long (especially since it was already disclosed that there was an issue and that Criterion was looking it). It's not like if only checkdiscs are affected. Customers are very likely to get faulty discs, and got one for sure if they bought the release between now and november.

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Re: 780 Code Unknown

#42 Post by ccfixx » Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:11 pm

E-mail response regarding replacement discs...
I hope this email finds you well. We don’t have the corrected disc
spindles for CODE UNKNOWN yet, but I’m happy to send you a disc once
they arrive. I’ll put you on the list. Thanks for your support!

Jon Mulvaney

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ZHansen
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Re: 780 Code Unknown

#43 Post by ZHansen » Fri Mar 25, 2016 6:11 pm

I had e-mailed Mulvaney a month ago about both this and another defective disc I had, and got the same reply posted above. Today in the mail was a Criterion envelope, which I expected to be my other disc, but it was Code Unknown! Says "Second Pressing" right on the disc edge before the running time and it runs smoothly at the times noted earlier in the thread!

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swo17
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Re: 780 Code Unknown

#44 Post by swo17 » Fri Mar 25, 2016 9:17 pm

I received my replacement disc today as well.

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Re: 780 Code Unknown

#45 Post by ianthemovie » Wed May 09, 2018 9:24 pm

I re-watched this for the first time in about eight years, and I think it remains one of Haneke's most rigorous and thought-provoking works--the use of the long takes is impressive and it seems to me much more ambiguous/less preachy in its attitude toward the bourgeois characters than Funny Games, Happy End or Cache (though I do still love the last of these).

Of all the "unsolved mysteries" in the film, the one I've been puzzling over the most: why does Anne change the code to her apartment at the end of the film, effectively locking Georges out? While we do see them having various spats over the course of the film, there does not seem to be any scene that would explain her sudden decision to break off her relationship with him so definitively...unless the scene of her laughing with her co-star during the post-sync sequence is meant to suggest that they have struck up a romance? This could help explain her strange giddiness in that scene, as well as the intimacy of their body language toward each other (he keeps pulling her close to him, touching her neck and head, etc., and she also starts giggling again when their director asks her "is it so hard to say 'I love you' to him?") Or is it possible that in the wake of the neighbor child's death Anne realizes that Georges was wrong to have urged her to dismiss her suspicion about the abuse, and she resents him for encouraging her to stay silent about it?

The chapter on this film in Peter Brunette's book on Haneke is extremely unhelpful and lazy, by the way. He clearly does not like the film to the point of being dismissive of it. On top of this his description of many of the characters and situations is cringe-worthy (at one point he describes the deaf children as "making animal-like noises")! The rest of that book is quite good but his chapter on this film consists of little more than a witheringly rendered plot summary.

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Re: 780 Code Unknown

#46 Post by Andrew_VB » Sat May 12, 2018 4:06 pm

ianthemovie wrote: Of all the "unsolved mysteries" in the film, the one I've been puzzling over the most: why does Anne change the code to her apartment at the end of the film, effectively locking Georges out? While we do see them having various spats over the course of the film, there does not seem to be any scene that would explain her sudden decision to break off her relationship with him so definitively...unless the scene of her laughing with her co-star during the post-sync sequence is meant to suggest that they have struck up a romance? This could help explain her strange giddiness in that scene, as well as the intimacy of their body language toward each other (he keeps pulling her close to him, touching her neck and head, etc., and she also starts giggling again when their director asks her "is it so hard to say 'I love you' to him?") Or is it possible that in the wake of the neighbor child's death Anne realizes that Georges was wrong to have urged her to dismiss her suspicion about the abuse, and she resents him for encouraging her to stay silent about it?
i agree that i wondered about this a lot too, however i don't think the bolded part is accurate, unless i misunderstood. he didn't encourage her to dismiss her suspicion about the abuse so much as he encouraged her to make a decision for herself about the situation that she knew intimately. i suppose it's possible she resents him for not being helpful in that situation, among others, but not what you describe.

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