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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 5:30 pm 
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Westfront 1918

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G. W. Pabst brought the war movie into a new era with his first sound film, a mercilessly realistic depiction of the nightmare that scarred a generation, in the director's native Germany and beyond. Digging into the trenches with four infantrymen stationed in France in the final months of World War I, Pabst illustrates the harrowing ordeals of battle with unprecedented naturalism, as the men are worn away in body and spirit by firefights, shelling, and the disillusion that greets them on the home front. Long unavailable, the newly restored Westfront 1918 is a visceral, sobering antiwar statement that is as urgent today as when it was made.

SPECIAL FEATURES

• New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
• Hour-long French television broadcast of World War I veterans reacting to the film in 1969
• 2016 interview with film scholar Jan-Christopher Horak
• New restoration demonstration featuring Martin Koerber and Julia Wallmüller of the Deutsche Kinemathek
• New English subtitle translation
• PLUS: An essay by author and critic Luc Sante


Kameradschaft

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When a coal mine collapses on the frontier between Germany and France, trapping a team of French miners inside, workers on both sides of the border spring into action, putting aside national prejudices and wartime grudges to launch a dangerous rescue operation. Director G. W. Pabst brings a claustrophobic realism to this ticking-clock scenario, using realistic sets and sound design to create the maze of soot-choked shafts where the miners struggle for survival. A gripping disaster film and a stirring plea for international cooperation, Kameradschaft cemented Pabst's status as one of the most morally engaged and formally dexterous filmmakers of his time.

SPECIAL FEATURES

• New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
• New interview with German film scholar Hermann Barth on the film's production
• 1988 interview with editor Jean Oser
• 2016 interview with film scholar Jan-Christopher Horak on the historical context of the film
• New English subtitle translation
• PLUS: An essay by author and critic Luc Sante


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:09 pm 
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I’m guessing for the cost-conscious of us, the MoC is the way to go?


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:13 pm 
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Well, there were some complaints about that editiion.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:40 pm 
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swo17 wrote:
Hour-long French television broadcast of World War I veterans reacting to the film in 1969


Sold.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 1:44 am 
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I'm surprised they advertise them both as High def restorations. IIRC, at least Westfront is a 2k restoration.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 5:12 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:28 am
tenia wrote:
I'm surprised they advertise them both as High def restorations. IIRC, at least Westfront is a 2k restoration.


Just for the record - 2K actually is HD.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:46 am 
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Gaumont told me a few years ago that resolution aside, "HD restoration" usually refers to an older workflow while "2k restoration" is fresher stuff.
That's why when Criterion advertises HD stuff, it usually means old pre existing material, and I'm surprised because these 2 are not (at least not Westfront).
And that's why there are these 2 different namings.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 5:06 am 

Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:28 am
Yes, it makes sense to speak of "2K", "4K", "8K", and I think Criterion doesn't fail to do so when something is 4K. But then, people who say "monaural" are likely to also say "high definition". Both films are 2K, but saying something is a "2K restoration" is no real indicator that it's recent work. "Digital restoration" and "new" are much more meaningful.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:07 am 
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There are four categories that I deal with regularly: 4K restoration, 2K restoration, HD remaster, HD transfer. That's notionally in descending order of quality, but obviously there'll be occasional individual anomalies.

(For instance, the truly gobsmackingly godawful Pathé disc of Le Samouraï, which I finally got to see in motion yesterday thanks to it being included in the French Melville box, would presumably fall into the "2K restoration" category, and yet it's one of the worst Blu-ray images I've ever seen. Conversely, I've seen mere "HD transfers" that look surprisingly acceptable.)


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:01 am 

Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:28 am
At least German archives also tend to keep 2K/4K transfers and 2K/4K digital restorations apart, the former being digitalised analogue restorations. But they usually wouldn't imply an inherent difference in "quality", because there is still some skepticism about digital film preservation and restoration.

For example Joe May's Asphalt exists in a 2015 2K digital version which reproduces the analogue restoration from 1995 but is no "digital restoration". In a box set the process was worded, "the films were restored and digitalised...".


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:31 am 
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Yes, the source obviously matters too. A 4K scan of a projection print that's been stomped on by generations of projectionists is clearly going to look worse than an HD remaster of an absolutely pristine interpositive.

And, more pertinently, a 1990s photochemical restoration may well look better than a 2000s digital one, so age isn't necessarily an indicator either.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 2:28 pm 
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MichaelB wrote:
There are four categories that I deal with regularly: 4K restoration, 2K restoration, HD remaster, HD transfer. That's notionally in descending order of quality, but obviously there'll be occasional individual anomalies.

(For instance, the truly gobsmackingly godawful Pathé disc of Le Samouraï, which I finally got to see in motion yesterday thanks to it being included in the French Melville box, would presumably fall into the "2K restoration" category, and yet it's one of the worst Blu-ray images I've ever seen. Conversely, I've seen mere "HD transfers" that look surprisingly acceptable.)


It is also the remake-remodel 2nd version so you can marvel at what the original looked like!


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 3:00 pm 

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MichaelB wrote:

(For instance, the truly gobsmackingly godawful Pathé disc of Le Samouraï, which I finally got to see in motion yesterday thanks to it being included in the French Melville box, would presumably fall into the "2K restoration" category, and yet it's one of the worst Blu-ray images I've ever seen. Conversely, I've seen mere "HD transfers" that look surprisingly acceptable.)

Did you have a chance to see (or spot-check) other Blu Rays in the Melville box? If so, any comments on their image quality compared to corresponding DVDs? Thank you.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 3:04 pm 
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kekid wrote:
[Did you have a chance to see (or spot-check) other Blu Rays in the Melville box? If so, any comments on their image quality compared to corresponding DVDs? Thank you.

With my current workload, I'll be lucky to watch any of them properly for months - sorry! Certainly what I saw looked OK (Le Samouraï and a dreadful DVD of Les Enfants Terribles being glaring exceptions), but i haven't had the chance to delve into them in any depth.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:54 am 
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Anyone have opinions about these two? Unseen by me...


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:20 am 
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I saw Westfront 2 years ago and liked it quite much. It's probably not a masterpiece by any mean, but I find it rather well done and well written. I recall it felt oh so slightly overlong, but that was it.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:57 pm 
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There's some light, very light, discussion in the MOC threads, but to give me two cents here I find these easily to be Pabst's best films. In general I'm not actually a fan of his work, but his handling of the group as protagonist is really excellent and the highlighting element of these films.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:23 am 
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I'll certainly put in a good word for Kameradschaft, which is a remarkably realistic (and indeed viscerally vivid) piece of work given the limitations of early sound technology.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 8:54 am 
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Very good, thank you all...


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:19 am 
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Beaver


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:09 pm 
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MichaelB wrote:
Yes, the source obviously matters too. A 4K scan of a projection print that's been stomped on by generations of projectionists is clearly going to look worse than an HD remaster of an absolutely pristine interpositive.

And, more pertinently, a 1990s photochemical restoration may well look better than a 2000s digital one, so age isn't necessarily an indicator either.


Even SD is not always that bad, for instance, SD 1:1 MXF files (176 Mb/sec for 720x480 frame) is an enormous amount of resolution (functionally no compression, whereas the "equivalent" standard used for HD was DNXHD220 (220 Mb/sec for a 1920x1080 frame). (these are actually off by a bit for film, because I just now reflexively used 29.97fps because I'm in TV). But I've seen SD digibetas of films that looked outstanding, while side by side to an HD HDCAM of a film from an inferior source that was not nearly as impressive.

the equivalent HD 1:1 for a 1920x1080 frame would be about 1200 Mb/sec, and not only could computers or hardware not really play it, storage couldn't affordably store it.


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