Mr. Bongo Films

Milestone, Flicker Alley, Oscilloscope, Cinema Guild...they're all here.
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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Mr. Bongo Films

#451 Post by knives » Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:00 pm

As far as I know the main problems are that they're overly obscure about who they are licencing prints from and that they have consistently avoided following the law with regards to the BBFC

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swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: Mr. Bongo Films

#452 Post by swo17 » Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:04 pm

They've also illegally offered their UK products directly for sale on Amazon US.

kubelkind
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2011 4:42 pm

Re: Mr. Bongo Films

#453 Post by kubelkind » Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:02 am

On the plus side, their music reissues are superb, the two DVDs I have are not bad (Hourglass Sanatorium and L'Avventura) and the Underdevelopment blu-ray costs a mere ten pounds. If you order direct, things are sent out quickly and efficiently. And they are actually releasing stuff like this, and not the gore/exploitation schlock which most UK labels seem transfixed by these days. Can't say I'm in tears about them defying the will of the BBFC either, if that is the case.

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swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
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Re: Mr. Bongo Films

#454 Post by swo17 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 11:15 am

Well it directly hurts labels that play by the rules like Eureka, Arrow, BFI, Soda, New Wave, Artificial Eye, Indicator, etc.

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MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
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Re: Mr. Bongo Films

#455 Post by MichaelB » Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:16 pm

It's not "defying the will of the BBFC", it's breaking the criminal law. The BBFC won't be affected either way, unless for some inexplicable reason all the majors decide to stop supporting them - the Board has always been a creation of the mainstream film industry.

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TMDaines
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:01 pm
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Mr. Bongo Films

#456 Post by TMDaines » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:11 pm

I'll give an indifferent shrug with kubelkind on this one. There's lots of crap criminal laws that I don't agree with and breaking them is ethically fine and/or is victimless. Whether Bongo are undermining the BBFC for the right reasons or not, I don't know, but the sooner there is greater movement towards reducing their censoring influence, the better.
Last edited by TMDaines on Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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MichaelB
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Re: Mr. Bongo Films

#457 Post by MichaelB » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:13 pm

They're not "undermining the BBFC", they're (or were) trying to get away without paying them, which is in fact undermining every other boutique label that plays by industry rules. It makes no difference to the BBFC, so what effect is it going to have?

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TMDaines
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:01 pm
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Re: Mr. Bongo Films

#458 Post by TMDaines » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:20 pm

Why would we care particularly? You can make just as much of an argument that them not paying the BBFC means their releases are cheaper which means consumers have more money to spend elsewhere after buying their releases.

The BBFC are a bunch of parasitic censors and I feel for all of you who feel the need to engage with them in order to avoid leaving yourself open to criminal charges.

Publishers should be able to self-cert 18 and be done with it at the very least.

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MichaelB
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Re: Mr. Bongo Films

#459 Post by MichaelB » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:27 pm

TMDaines wrote:Why would we care particularly? You can make just as much of an argument that them not paying the BBFC means their releases are cheaper which means consumers have more money to spend elsewhere after buying their releases.
BBFC fees are unlikely to have much impact on the RRP, unless we're talking a really extreme case like Jacques Rivette's Out 1. The most likely scenario is that it might free up enough budget for an additional extra, although when Mr Bongo wasn't paying the BBFC their typical product was utterly barebones with dodgy transfers and subtitles, so the consumer clearly wasn't benefiting.
The BBFC are a bunch of parasitic censors and I feel for all of you who feel the need to engage with them in order to avoid leaving yourself open to criminal charges.
It's not that we "feel the need to engage with them", it's that we're legally compelled to in the same way that virtually any firm in any industry is compelled to deal with certain types of regulatory legislation - were I operating in the food or pharmaceutical industry, I suspect I'd be forced to jump through far more hoops. Personally, I find the fact that Sony has to be paid a hefty licensing fee per disc for the right to use the Blu-ray logo and encryption system to be rather more irritating - at least the BBFC has a discernible point in that its legal vetting can be genuinely useful (and much cheaper than hiring a specialist lawyer).
Publishers should be able to self-cert 18 and be done with it at the very least.
I completely agree, and I've been calling for such a system for literally decades. Just as I've been calling for the abolition of the ridiculous law that prevents R18 material from being posted from one UK address to another - abolish that law, and the possibility of curated UK special editions of films by people like Radley Metzger and Stephen Sayadian becomes a commercially viable possibility instead of a complete non-starter.

But as an industry professional, I have to abide by the existing criminal law, and my colleagues and I reasonably expect other companies to do the same thing.

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peerpee
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:41 pm

Re: Mr. Bongo Films

#460 Post by peerpee » Fri Feb 24, 2017 6:01 am

Let's leave the BBFC issue to one side for a moment, along with the ill-informed indifferent shrugs:

i.) Multiple licensors have not been paid royalties by Mr Pongo.

ii.) Mr Pongo have released some films without properly licensing them from anyone. This makes them thieves.

iii.) Mr Pongo have no quality control and no qualms about releasing shocking quality discs – dreadful transfers of ropey prints, full of damage, burned in subtitles that are hard to read, NTSC > PAL conversions, the lot. They have been known to release discs with anamorphic menus but non-anamorphic features. Basically, all the no-nos – they just don’t give a shit.

iv.) Mr Pongo are known to reverse engineer encodes from releases in other territories. Presumably because they haven't paid a licensor for access to a proper master. There are numerous, proven examples of their DVDs and Blu-rays being repurposed illegally in this way.

--

For all the reasons above, and more, they deserve zero respect from everyone.

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tenia
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Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:13 am

Re: Mr. Bongo Films

#461 Post by tenia » Fri Feb 24, 2017 7:07 am

Would it be too expensive or problematic to just sue them ?

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kuzine
Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2005 9:37 am

Re: Mr. Bongo Films

#462 Post by kuzine » Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:39 am

Do similar practices occur with regard to their record label?

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domino harvey
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Mr. Bongo Films

#463 Post by domino harvey » Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:10 am

peerpee, you left out Mr Pongo's abominable persecution of local socialite Cruella DeVille

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hearthesilence
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
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Re: Mr. Bongo Films

#464 Post by hearthesilence » Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:46 am

peerpee wrote:Let's leave the BBFC issue to one side for a moment, along with the ill-informed indifferent shrugs:

i.) Multiple licensors have not been paid royalties by Mr Pongo.

ii.) Mr Pongo have released some films without properly licensing them from anyone. This makes them thieves.

iii.) Mr Pongo have no quality control and no qualms about releasing shocking quality discs – dreadful transfers of ropey prints, full of damage, burned in subtitles that are hard to read, NTSC > PAL conversions, the lot. They have been known to release discs with anamorphic menus but non-anamorphic features. Basically, all the no-nos – they just don’t give a shit.

iv.) Mr Pongo are known to reverse engineer encodes from releases in other territories. Presumably because they haven't paid a licensor for access to a proper master. There are numerous, proven examples of their DVDs and Blu-rays being repurposed illegally in this way.

--

For all the reasons above, and more, they deserve zero respect from everyone.
Three out of four of those reasons would get them into massive legal trouble, at least here in the U.S. If they ever get tangled with someone with deeper pockets and a more litigious attitude, I imagine they'd be taken down pretty hard. (Or has anyone else tried yet?)

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peerpee
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:41 pm

Re: Mr. Bongo Films

#465 Post by peerpee » Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:54 pm

kuzine wrote:Do similar practices occur with regard to their record label?
Worringly, they also operate a "royalties collection service" for musicians.

Calvin
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:12 am

Re: Mr. Bongo Films

#466 Post by Calvin » Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:14 pm

I spotted on the R3:store Studios (they’ve done recent restorations for Arrow, such as The Apartment) website that they’ve restored I Am Cuba in 4K for Mr. Bongo and say that a Blu-Ray release will be forthcoming

kidc
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:23 pm

Re: Mr. Bongo Films

#467 Post by kidc » Tue Jul 31, 2018 4:02 pm

Bongo have a sale on right now, most DVDs are £4, blu-rays £5, and postage seems to be a flat £3.25 regardless of how many you order.

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rapta
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2014 5:04 pm
Location: Hants, UK

Re: Mr. Bongo Films

#468 Post by rapta » Tue Jul 31, 2018 6:20 pm

kidc wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 4:02 pm
Bongo have a sale on right now, most DVDs are £4, blu-rays £5, and postage seems to be a flat £3.25 regardless of how many you order.
Unless you order just the one, in which case it's £1.70...

I'd recommend Santa Sangre, and I also have The Hourglass Sanitorium but haven't watched the disc yet (it's a direct port of the Polish disc apparently). I'm tempted to get The Saragossa Manuscript despite the waxy transfer (DNR), and Memories of Underdevelopment just in case the Criterion never gets ported over (this is the cheapest I've seen it).

From what I've heard the Welles discs are a complete no-go (bad encodes/transfers), but Casanova is worth getting (but doesn't seem to be on offer, for some reason).
Calvin wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:14 pm
I spotted on the R3:store Studios (they’ve done recent restorations for Arrow, such as The Apartment) website that they’ve restored I Am Cuba in 4K for Mr. Bongo and say that a Blu-Ray release will be forthcoming
Interesting it has been 6 months since you've posted this and still nothing from Mr. Bongo's end. I'd be keen to get this on Blu-ray - I was given the DVD a couple of years ago but haven't had a chance to watch it. Obviously I'd get rid of it if a Blu-ray from the 4K restoration was imminent.

kidc
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:23 pm

Re: Mr. Bongo Films

#469 Post by kidc » Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:07 pm

I wasn't expecting great quality but I didn't expect their Kozintsev Hamlet DVD to be windowboxed... Ugh, even £4 is a rip-off.

Hilderic523
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:16 am

Re: Mr. Bongo Films

#470 Post by Hilderic523 » Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:29 am

Hi, is anybody able to comment on the quality of the Outskirts, By the Bluest of Seas and Lola DVDs? Thanks.

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Mr. Bongo Films

#471 Post by knives » Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:29 am

By the Bluest of Seas is a pretty high quality disc.

Hilderic523
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:16 am

Re: Mr. Bongo Films

#472 Post by Hilderic523 » Wed Sep 05, 2018 3:09 pm

knives wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:29 am
By the Bluest of Seas is a pretty high quality disc.
Thank you!

Another question (for anyone to answer): I have read in the posts above that the restored DVD of The Saragossa Manuscript is pretty good, while reviews on the Blu-ray mention problems of waxiness/smoothness/DNR. Should I buy the DVD, then?

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colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: Mr. Bongo Films

#473 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Sep 06, 2018 1:08 pm

I would probably recommend the Ruscico Hyperkino editions of Outskirts and By The Bluest of Seas though. They are both available on Amazon UK, currently slightly cheaper than the Mr Bongo discs and have a second disc containing a version of the film with a running video commentary thing on them!

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Michael Kerpan
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Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
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Re: Mr. Bongo Films

#474 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Sep 06, 2018 4:29 pm

How do the Ruscico and Mr Bongo compare in terms of picture quality?

Hilderic523
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:16 am

Re: Mr. Bongo Films

#475 Post by Hilderic523 » Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:50 pm

colinr0380 wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 1:08 pm
I would probably recommend the Ruscico Hyperkino editions of Outskirts and By The Bluest of Seas though. They are both available on Amazon UK, currently slightly cheaper than the Mr Bongo discs and have a second disc containing a version of the film with a running video commentary thing on them!
Thank you.
Michael Kerpan wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 4:29 pm
How do the Ruscico and Mr Bongo compare in terms of picture quality?
After some further research, I have found two online reviews (of which you may already be aware) which include some degree of comparison.
On Outskirts: https://www.thedigitalfix.com/film/cont ... outskirts/:
Of the two the Ruscico edges things in the presentation department thanks to a superior encode – the Mr. Bongo has the more prominent compression artefacts – and the slightly sharper image.
On By The Bluest Of Seas: https://www.theartsshelf.com/a-z/a-z/re ... t-of-seas/ (includes screenshots from the Mr Bongo edition):
The [Mr Bongo] image appears slightly sharper and more defined than the previously available Hyperkino edition.
Further feedback is greatly welcome, though.

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