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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:25 am 
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MARTIN SCORSESE PRESENTS: WORLD CINEMA PROJECT VOL. 1

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Founded in 2007 and overseen by Martin Scorsese, the World Cinema Poundation (WCP) has spearheaded efforts to preserve, restore, and annually re-present neglected masterpieces of world cinema, particularly those from areas of the globe that have not traditionally been highlighted in prevailing evaluations of film, or which have lacked the financial, technical, or governmental infrastructure to ensure their preservation.

As the WCP's mission statement announces: "Cinema is an international language, an international art, but, above all, it is a source of enlightenment. There are wonderful, remarkable films, past and present, from Mexico, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and Central Asia that deserve to be known and seen. Composed of filmmakers from every continent, the World Cinema Foundation breathes life into the idea that when a cultural patrimony is lost, no matter how small or supposedly 'marginal' the country might be, we are all poorer for it."

The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to act as the official partner of the World Cinema Foundation for the UK region. In this first in a regular series of Blu-ray box sets, we present the WCF's restorations of masterpieces from Turkey (Erksan's Dry Summer), Morocco (El Maanouni's Trances), and Kazakhstan (Shinarbaev's Revenge), with exclusive introductions by Martin Scorsese for each film in this set.

Dry Summer

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A brutal naturalist melodrama, Metin Erksan's masterful Dry Summer [Susuz yaz], which won the Golden Bear at the 1964 Berlin Film Festival, returns to the spotlight in a new restoration after decades of suppression by Turkish authorities: an arid fate for one of the most exciting films of the 1960s. Viscerally tactile, unsparing, and even on occasion outright lurid, Dry Summer has been described by filmmaker Fatih Akin as "one of the most important legacies of Turkish cinema."

During a particularly dry rural Turkish summer, a group of local workers enters into a dispute with a landowner when he decides the construction of new irrigation infrastructure must first and foremost service his own property. Wholly rapacious, the landowner foments a private war with his own kin after the brother takes a bewitching young wife. The battle between the factions plays out in stunning set-pieces: a pursuit with pistols amidst grass-stalks and dam-water before the setting sun evokes elements of Renoir (Toni), Ford (The World Moves On), Bergman (The Virgin Spring), and Shindô (Onibaba), while a scene set in a brush thicket wherein the landowner and his aggressors fight it out hatchet-and-club provides drama at least as exciting and gasp-inducing as the climax of Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai.

Dry Summer's sweat-dappled tone and baked images of promenade and labour recall Mexican period Buñuel as much as aspects of mid-'50s Italian commercial melodrama and, via the film's backdrop of agrarian agitation and its low angles — which effect a figural relief against blazing, albeit greyish mid-contrast summer skies — post-montage Soviet agitprop. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present the World Cinema Project's restoration of Metin Erksan's classic on Bluray and DVD for the first time in the UK.

Trances

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The inaugural film of the World Cinema Project's efforts, Trances [Transes] is a picture unlike any other: a poetic, roving documentary-portrait performance-film based around the Moroccan band Nass El Ghiwane.

In this rare, transformational work, Nass El Ghiwane perform their music at concerts at once fervidly rally-like and suffused with the spontaneity of a mass happening; recount their time working alongside the great chaâbi musician Boudjemaâ El Ankis in the 1970s; and generally philosophise and reflect upon life. As Martin Scorsese expressed at the time of the film's representation in 2007: "I became passionate about this music that I heard and I saw also the way the film was made, the concert that was photographed and the effect of the music on the audience at the concert. I tracked down the music and eventually it became my inspiration for many of the designs and construction of my film The Last Temptation of Christ. [...] And I think the group was singing damnation: their people, their beliefs, their sufferings, and their prayers all came through their singing. And I think the film is beautifully made by Ahmed El Maanouni; it's been an obsession of mine since 1981."

True to its title, Trances is an hypnotic, exhilarating masterwork. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Ahmed El Maanouni's film, restored from the original 16mm camera and sound negatives, on Blu-ray and DVD for the first time in the UK.

Revenge

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Set largely in Korea and China, and spanning the 1910s to 1940s, Ermek Shinarbaev's epic masterpiece unites the resonant pictoriality of certain Far Eastern cinema with a mysticism rooted in the Russian tradition: a fitting and harmonic convergence for this collaboration (one of three) between the Kazakh director and Korean-Russian writer Anatoli Kim.

A rural schoolteacher, Jan, murders a pupil, the young daughter of a family under whom he had previously been a tenant. The father, Caj [pronounced "Tsaiya"], tracks him to China to exact revenge — but at the moment of vengeance, Caj cannot act. He returns home only to take a concubine, who in turn bears him a son: Sungu, a prodigious composer of verse. At Caj's deathbed, the boy is informed he has been brought into the world purely for the sake of vengeance; he takes an oath to annihilate Jan.

Tonally, Revenge [Mest’] exhibits an extraordinary use of natural light that lends the figures an almost ethereal incandescence in the picture's first half; the second half of the film shifts into a no less-impressive palate that is ally to late-Tarkovskyan naturalism. A narrative broken into seven chapters, and constructed in a full-circle that creates a visual and spoken summary of Sungu's poetic universe, Revenge is, to quote the critic and WCP Artistic Director Kent Jones, "a true odyssey, geographically and psychologically. One of the greatest films to emerge from the Kazakh New Wave, and also one of the toughest." The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Revenge, restored from the original camera negative with the involvement of Ermek Shinarbaev, on Blu-ray and DVD for the first time in the UK.

DUAL FORMAT RELEASE INCLUDING BLU-RAY AND DVD VERSIONS OF EACH OF THE FILMS

• Glorious new restorations of three neglected masterworks of world cinema, presented in a Dual Format (Blu-ray + DVD) edition, including 1080p presentations on the Blu-rays, and progressive encodes on the DVDs
• Exclusive new video introductions for each film by Martin Scorsese
• Optional English subtitles for each film
• 80-PAGE BOOK featuring writing by Phil Coldiron on Dry Summer, by Bilge Ebiri on Trances, and by Kent Jones on Revenge, alongside rare archival imagery


Last edited by neilist on Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:29 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 6:59 am 
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neilist wrote:
Quote:
We will be announcing our Volume Two titles in association with the World Cinema Foundation in the months ahead. An ongoing series. We will be releasing two box sets of at least three films a year, as restored by the WCF.

So that's basically a confirmation that Peixoto's 'Limite' is on its way! :D

Is it possible that not a soul either here nor Facebook nor Twitter is gushing over the fact that fucking DRY SUMMER is coming out on Blu-ray? Did I get out on the wrong planet this morning?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:36 am 
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Is everything from WCF a guarantee? Then we should be expecting A Brighter Summer Day, Touki Bouki, Mysterious Object at Noon, etc.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:38 am 
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Damn, the Scorsese intros are a nice touch. This is the kind of thing I'll be happy to blind buy, but has anyone actually seen any of these?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:29 am 
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I've seen Dry Summer and I can at least say it totally warrants a blind buy - I can't imagine anyone not being impressed by that film on some level. I don't want to spoil it, but I'll just say that the MoC cover art gives you NO idea at all of what you're in for; in fact it almost looks like it's been slyly designed to that effect...


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:37 am 

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Can anyone comment on the animal cruelty that I've heard is present in Dry Summer? Will it get past the BBFC uncut?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:34 am 
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So are these also forthcoming from Criterion?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:37 am 
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Considering Criterion announced these on Hulu, I would expect so.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:45 am 
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Criterion is the official US partner, so yes. Though it will be interesting to see how closely they mirror each other. For instance, I wouldn't be surprised if Criterion's first WCF release included different films.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:49 am 
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Revenge is streaming free on Hulu for the next two days if anyone wants to check it out before buying...


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:58 am 
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Calvin wrote:
Can anyone comment on the animal cruelty that I've heard is present in Dry Summer? Will it get past the BBFC uncut?

This is an interesting one - I haven't seen the film myself, but I understand that the cruelty involves
[Reveal] Spoiler:
a chicken being decapitated, with it continuing to run round afterwards.

Under most circumstances, that would constitute a clean kill, and so the BBFC would be fine with it, because it doesn't technically involve "the cruel infliction of pain or terror on any animal or the cruel goading of any animal to fury", which are the only things specifically proscribed by the law. But the fact that death doesn't appear to be instant might be an issue here.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 12:43 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2009 8:07 am
Calvin wrote:
Can anyone comment on the animal cruelty that I've heard is present in Dry Summer? Will it get past the BBFC uncut?


Looking at spoilers, there is no way this is going to be uncut.

Edit - Michael - There is another scene involving a
[Reveal] Spoiler:
dog
apparently and cannot be described as a clean kill.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 12:54 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:19 pm
Even though I have yet to see these films, this is still a very impressive announcement, and I will most certainly me importing this release, assuming that the Criterion release isn't of equal or greater quality.

The one thing that would give the MoC release an advantage is that I always assumed that some of the WCF films would be released from Criterion via Eclipse, though I may have misheard or misinterpreted this.

Now, I'm going to try to get around to watching some of these films on Hulu before they expire... Hopefully tonight.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 2:19 pm 
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This is nice to see, particularly since Criterion would be very likely to relegate it to an Eclipse box. I would love to see Ann Hui's Boat People (1982) included in one of the future sets. I seem to recall Scorsese's name associated with this film (ie. in promoting it) when it was originally distributed in the US & it hasn't had a proper home video release outside of Southeast Asia.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 2:26 pm 
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Lowry_Sam wrote:
This is nice to see, particularly since Criterion would be very likely to relegate it to an Eclipse box. I would love to see Ann Hui's Boat People (1982) included in one of the future sets. I seem to recall Scorsese's name associated with this film (ie. in promoting it) when it was originally distributed in the US & it hasn't had a proper home video release outside of Southeast Asia.


I think since these films are being fully restored and backed by the strength of Scorsese means they would/will be mainline releases.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 2:31 pm 
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After all the work WCF has done to restore these films, there's absolutely no way Criterion would relegate them to Eclipse. It's possible the Criterions will have less extensive extras or take much longer to come out, but they will definitely come out dual format when they do.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 2:54 pm 
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Given this and the Hulu announcement I wouldn't be too surprised if the first of the titles are to be the December releases.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:01 pm 
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I can see Criterion doing exactly what MoC are doing: affordable box sets of a few titles. In fact, I'm glad MoC made the announcement first, possibly forcing Criterion's hand a little.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:34 pm 
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This is the most heartening release announcement of the year. Especially the "Volume One" part.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:37 pm 
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zedz wrote:
This is the most heartening release announcement of the year. Especially the "Volume One" part.

That's what they said about "Naruse".


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:42 pm 
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Sshhhh!


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:43 pm 
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tojoed wrote:
That's what they said about "Naruse".


{runs off, weeping profusely}


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:45 pm 
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Remembers eclipse and smiles with hope.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:05 pm 
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Did they also say this about Naruse?

Quote:
We will be announcing our Volume Two titles in association with the World Cinema Foundation in the months ahead. An ongoing series. We will be releasing two box sets of at least three films a year, as restored by the WCF. Each release will feature exclusive-to-MoC video introductions by Martin Scorsese, and 80-page books.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:22 pm 
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swo17 wrote:
Did they also say this about Naruse?
Quote:
...Volume 2...


Nope.


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