911 The Hero

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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swo17
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911 The Hero

#1 Post by swo17 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:00 pm

The Hero

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In this psychologically rich character study, written and directed by Satyajit Ray, Bengali film star Uttam Kumar draws on his real-world celebrity to play Arindam Mukherjee, a matinee idol on the brink of his first flop. When Mukherjee boards an overnight train to Delhi to accept an award, a journalist (Sharmila Tagore) approaches him seeking an exclusive interview, which initiates a conversation that sends the actor reeling down a path of self-examination. Seamlessly integrating rueful flashbacks and surreal dream sequences with the quietly revelatory stories of the train's other passengers, The Hero is a graceful meditation on art, fame, and regret from one of world cinema's most keenly perceptive filmmakers.

SPECIAL FEATURES

• New, restored 2K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
• Interview from 2008 with actor Sharmila Tagore
• New program featuring film scholar Meheli Sen
• New English subtitle translation
• PLUS: An essay by author Pico Iyer and a 1980 tribute to Kumar by Ray

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Tommaso
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Re: 911 The Hero

#2 Post by Tommaso » Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:38 am

Good to see that CC are continuing their Ray series, even though I had hoped we would see "The Goddess" or "Days and Nights in the Forest" first (as "The Hero" is already out on the AE Blu set). But this one of course is a very fine film, too. Ray goes Antonioni, or something...

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Roger Ryan
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Re: 911 The Hero

#3 Post by Roger Ryan » Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:10 am

Tommaso wrote:...Ray goes Antonioni, or something...
I kind of saw this film as Ray's Citizen Kane with Mastroianni's "Guido Anselmi" from as the model for the lead character. One of my favorites from Ray so I'm happy to have a Criterion release even if the extras seem a little skimpy.

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chatterjees
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Re: 911 The Hero

#4 Post by chatterjees » Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:14 pm

This announcement was totally out of the blue for me. Who would have expected that they have time to release a Ray film as they are so busy re-releasing films already available multiple times. This is my 2nd best Ray film and my top Ray film is Days and Nights in the Forest. I hope we do not have to wait years for Days and Nights in the Forest. I don't want to be greedy, but I honestly hoped for The Holy Man (1965) to be added as an extra on the disc. The Coward has already been separated from it when it was used as an extra on The Big City disc. I can't imagine where else The Holy Man (1965) could fit as an extra thematically. This inclusion could have made The Hero release great. I guess I can't ask for too much. I am just thrilled that Uttam Kumar finally joined the collection.

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Shrew
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Re: 911 The Hero

#5 Post by Shrew » Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:26 pm

I haven't seen The Holy Man, but given the plot, couldn't it fit as an extra on Devi?

I agree that this film is pretty great. I can see the Antonioni and Fellini influences, but this far more human and far less grotesque than those respective sources.

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chatterjees
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Re: 911 The Hero

#6 Post by chatterjees » Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:49 pm

Shrew wrote:I haven't seen The Holy Man, but given the plot, couldn't it fit as an extra on Devi?
My interpretation of the connection was based on reference to acting as a profession. Devi is a spiritual film, whereas The Holy Man is a comical take on the spiritual exploitation by two crooked men. You may be right. Spirituality should be the common factor here and they can tag it along with Devi. Or, they can also do a collection - comical roles of Rabi Ghosh, and put it with The Adventures of Goopy and Bagha (1969) and Heerak Rajar Deshe (1980).

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nick
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Re: 911 The Hero

#7 Post by nick » Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:58 pm

I really like The Hero and already have the AE release. Visually I can see the Antonioni influence, though on my initial viewing I found this to thematically resemble Bergman’s Wild Strawberries: Instead of a doctor, here an actor is on a journey to receive an award, and during the journey he dreams and recounts moments of his career revealing his true nature and insecurities.

Rupert Pupkin
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Re: 911 The Hero

#8 Post by Rupert Pupkin » Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:17 am

S.Ray was influenced at that time by European and US cinema and vice versa. I discovered this great movie lately, so far the Apu trilogy were my favorite S.Ray movies.
I was constantly amazed by all the camera work (not simply "champ-contrechamp" like in the conversation between the "God" actor and the journalist). This is not a real-time movie but the the use of all the train sequence is fascinating.
The dream-sequences (especially the first haunting one and the girl audition are fantastic) and Hitchcock (the rupee bills sequence) "Spellbound" came to my mind. Then I thought about Kurosawa "Dreams". The use of short flashback are really great. All those sequence add in a subtle way during all the movies and give consistence, humanity and gravity to the "God" actor character (I can think about another kurosawa movie : "Iraki"). Are you referring to Antonioni regarding the "strike" sequence ? there's a lot of bitterness and deep regrets through all the movies but since there's some kind of funny sequence during though all the movies you could except a love story in a train... (well it is - kind of...) At first I was expecting something "lighter" like Charulata...

there's a lot of US actor reference and reflexion about cinema, actors in this movie. and inner reference to S.Ray's own movie and his way of making cinema...
This is the kind of movie you would re-discover some new things or layers each time you see it...

Is it me, or could the actor be inspired by Marlon Brando ? (Brando is admired by the actor in this movie and quoted as a reference) and there's a kind of similarities between Uttam Kumar acting (physically, attitude, torment, sudden moment of tenderness with the child in the train, then hopeless bitterness) (for instance the scene where he seems to have a kind of "actor-studio" playing in the scene were he felt humiliated by the star acting of the moment) ?
until the very end where it looks like an Hawai' Aloha (it reminds the look of M.Brando in "Muntiny of The Bounty"... just wondering...

purchase Day 1 for me- except that the I'm a bit afraid by the Blu-Ray transfer I've seen already released in another country where there is kind of edge-enhancement...

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: 911 The Hero

#9 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:40 pm

> At first I was expecting something "lighter" like Charulata...

"Light" is not a term I would ever apply to Charulata....

kekid
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Re: 911 The Hero

#10 Post by kekid » Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:46 pm

Any Satyajit Ray film is always welcome, but I was really hoping for "Devi" (the Goddess). The Hero has already been issued in region B for some time, and Devi is a better film. Both films have Sharmila Tagore, but her role in Devi is more accomplished. Let us hope it is the next to come.

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AK
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Re: 911 The Hero

#11 Post by AK » Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:01 pm

kekid wrote:Any Satyajit Ray film is always welcome, but I was really hoping for "Devi" (the Goddess). The Hero has already been issued in region B for some time, and Devi is a better film. Both films have Sharmila Tagore, but her role in Devi is more accomplished. Let us hope it is the next to come.
Thrilled that we're finally seeing more Ray. I agree with you about Devi, though, which might just be my favourite Ray – although I've come to realize I pretty much love everything I've seen from him. But hopefully Devi comes in 2018.

Rupert Pupkin
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Re: 911 The Hero

#12 Post by Rupert Pupkin » Sat Nov 18, 2017 2:37 am

Michael Kerpan wrote:> At first I was expecting something "lighter" like Charulata...

"Light" is not a term I would ever apply to Charulata....
sorry I didn't express what I had in mind. The experience I had with Charulata like the Hero when I watch it for the first time was something quite light at the beginning but quickly you are hooked by the complexity of all characters... and I like very much how S.Ray built this through every scene, signs here and there, small parts of dialogues, with some humour (dark or not) until the end of the movie like for The Hero.

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Ribs
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Re: 911 The Hero

#13 Post by Ribs » Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:10 pm


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Michael Kerpan
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Re: 911 The Hero

#14 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Jul 19, 2018 4:40 pm

Finally, saw The Hero Blu-Ray -- another splendid addition to the Criterion Collection. Loved not just the leads here, but all the ancillary characters. Not as devastating as Devi (which I would consider a genuine horror film), but plenty to reflect on. The CC can never rescue too many Ray master works (too many of which remain unrescued).

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bottled spider
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Re: 911 The Hero

#15 Post by bottled spider » Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:42 am

Well made, likable, and uninteresting. The acting and directing are good, the conception/script is not. My least favourite after Enemy of the People.

There's something inherently corny about dream sequences, so they need to be done very well if they are to be done at all. Ray's don't compare well to Bergman, Pasolini, Fellini, Kurosawa, Chaplin, Lynch... The nightmares are inadequately occasioned, and implausibly spur an unburdening the actor well knows is dangerous. Battles of wits or nerves between interviewers and interviewees have been done before and since and better. (Random example: David Lodge's novella Home Truths).

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