51 / BD 139 Edvard Munch

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Awesome Welles
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51 / BD 139 Edvard Munch

#1 Post by Awesome Welles » Thu Jul 12, 2007 6:50 am

Edvard Munch

Image Image

Famously described by the late Ingmar Bergman as "a work of genius", Peter Watkins' multi-faceted masterwork is more than just a biopic of the iconic Norwegian Expressionist painter, it is one of the best films ever made about the artistic process. Focusing initially on Munch's formative years in late 19th century Kristiania (now Oslo), Watkins uses his trademark style to create a vivid picture of the emotional, political, and social upheavals that would have such an effect on his art.

The young artist (Geir Westby) has an affair with "Mrs. Heiberg" (Gro Fraas), a devastating experience that will haunt him for the rest of his life. His work is viciously attacked by critics and public alike and he is forced to leave his home country for Berlin, where, along with the notorious Swedish playwright August Strindberg, he becomes part of the cultural storm that is to sweep Europe.

There have been countless film biographies of famous artists, but only a handful can be considered major works in their own right. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Watkins' extended 221-minute version, originally made for television.

SPECIAL FEATURES

• Director-approved high-definition restoration of the long version
• Newly translated optional English subtitles
• Optional SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
• 80-PAGE BOOK with a Peter Watkins self-interview, writing by Joseph Gomez, a Munch timeline, and numerous artworks

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#2 Post by Awesome Welles » Thu Jul 12, 2007 8:45 am

peerpee wrote:MoC will be releasing the longer, original TV version of EDVARD MUNCH (as will Project X via New Yorker at about the same time).

As much as I want to see this I can't help feeling that it's a shame that MoC won't release anymore Watkins. I'd love to see Privilege get the MoC treatment, I can't imagine it would be too difficult as it's in the public domain. Hopefully some time down the line, I guess there is more important stuff to release before then.

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#3 Post by Narshty » Thu Jul 12, 2007 9:15 am

FSimeoni wrote:I'd love to see Privilege get the MoC treatment, I can't imagine it would be too difficult as it's in the public domain.

Where'd you get this idea? As far as I know, it's Universal's property.

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#4 Post by Awesome Welles » Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:12 am

Narshty wrote:Where'd you get this idea? As far as I know, it's Universal's property.

I don't remember the source but remember thinking it was a reliable one...

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#5 Post by MichaelB » Thu Jul 12, 2007 12:32 pm

MoC is a UK label, and there are hardly any genuine public domain titles in Britain (or the rest of the EU, come to that), as the copyright situation is quite different from the one in the US.

Even if you had Watkins killed tomorrow you'd still have to wait 70 years.

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#6 Post by peerpee » Thu Jul 12, 2007 12:58 pm

(Don't say that! Peter's paranoid enough that folk are out to get him :()

Yes, PRIVILEGE is definitely not public domain.

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#7 Post by MichaelB » Thu Jul 12, 2007 1:02 pm

peerpee wrote:Yes, PRIVILEGE is definitely not public domain.

Copyright legislation is a minefield, but if I interpret it correctly I don't think ANY post-1936 film is public domain in Britain, and precious few before that qualify either. For the same reason, hardly any television is public domain either.

Even some films from the 1890s are technically still in copyright - R.W.Paul died in 1943 and G.A.Smith and Cecil Hepworth lived into the 1950s, though you're probably safe with Birt Acres (d. 1918) and James Williamson (d. 1933). But I don't think the BFI is going to get too many competitors on that kind of material!

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#8 Post by Don Lope de Aguirre » Thu Jul 12, 2007 2:12 pm

As much as I want to see this I can't help feeling that it's a shame that MoC won't release anymore Watkins.

This film in particular is all ready available from the US and France in very good editions, as are a number of his films including La Commune.

I can not recommend Edvard Munch highly enough. A very brilliant and moving film...

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#9 Post by peerpee » Thu Jul 12, 2007 2:38 pm

Don Lope de Aguirre wrote:
As much as I want to see this I can't help feeling that it's a shame that MoC won't release anymore Watkins.

This film in particular is all ready available from the US and France in very good editions

The version of EDVARD MUNCH currently available in the US is the 174 minute theatrical edition. The MoC edition will be the original TV version running 211 minutes. The version available in France is the longer version but does not have English subtitles.

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#10 Post by Don Lope de Aguirre » Thu Jul 12, 2007 2:46 pm

The version of EDVARD MUNCH currently available in the US is the 174 minute theatrical edition. The MoC edition will be the original TV version running 211 minutes. The version available in France is the longer version but does not have English subtitles.

I am very happy to be corrected! (I own the US DVD of this film). Even better news then! I look forward to picking it up...

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#11 Post by Awesome Welles » Thu Jul 12, 2007 6:27 pm

MichaelB wrote:Copyright legislation is a minefield, but if I interpret it correctly I don't think ANY post-1936 film is public domain in Britain, and precious few before that qualify either. For the same reason, hardly any television is public domain either.

Even some films from the 1890s are technically still in copyright - R.W.Paul died in 1943 and G.A.Smith and Cecil Hepworth lived into the 1950s, though you're probably safe with Birt Acres (d. 1918) and James Williamson (d. 1933). But I don't think the BFI is going to get too many competitors on that kind of material!

Well you learn something new every day. I knew that there were very few public domain films in Britain but I guessed (from my incorrect source) that Privilege was in the public domain because it was something like the situation with The Last Man on Earth which was never officially copyrighted. It does seem like there are a lot of public domain films in the US, but I've never heard the case for any British films (except for the incorrect Privilege information of course!).

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#12 Post by MichaelB » Thu Jul 12, 2007 6:47 pm

FSimeoni wrote:Well you learn something new every day. I knew that there were very few public domain films in Britain but I guessed (from my incorrect source) that Privilege was in the public domain because it was something like the situation with The Last Man on Earth which was never officially copyrighted. It does seem like there are a lot of public domain films in the US, but I've never heard the case for any British films (except for the incorrect Privilege information of course!).

US and European copyright legislation is quite different, which can lead to a lot of confusion in transatlantic forums like this! It's also quite a handy cover for unscrupulous UK-based eBay merchants, who frequently claim that a DVD-R such-and-such a rare British title is "public domain" when it's almost certainly nothing of the kind.

The phrase "officially copyrighted" is meaningless in Europe, where a film is copyrighted automatically as soon as it comes into being - if a production company doesn't lay claim to it, then it belongs to the primary creative contributors, or their estate up to 70 years after their deaths.

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#13 Post by Awesome Welles » Thu Jul 12, 2007 7:03 pm

I was aware of the 70 years rule I thought that there was some loop hole with Privilege, interesting to know that copyright comes into effect as soon as a film comes into being. Thanks for the info.

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#14 Post by TheGodfather » Sat Jul 14, 2007 6:41 am

And another great cover. From Watkins I`ve only seen the MoC version of Punishment Park, wich I loved. So I`ll be picking this up to see if I like his other work as well.

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#15 Post by davebert » Sat Jul 14, 2007 9:46 am

Not to disparage Edvard Munch, but if you're hopping straight from Punishment Park, I'd say an excellent detour would be War Game. Everyone loves War Game.

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#16 Post by Gropius » Sat Jul 14, 2007 10:41 am

davebert wrote:Everyone loves War Game.

Some have dismissed it as paranoid or quaint (the product of Cold War hysteria), but nuclear war remains a permanent theoretical possibility. I don't think that film can ever lose its visceral punch.

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#17 Post by Awesome Welles » Mon Jul 16, 2007 3:59 am

According to Eureka's website this will be released in October.

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#18 Post by evillights » Mon Jul 16, 2007 11:18 am

davebert wrote:Not to disparage Edvard Munch, but if you're hopping straight from Punishment Park, I'd say an excellent detour would be War Game. Everyone loves War Game.

I don't know about that. Either the "everyone" part or the "loves" part. Everyone, because word has it that everyone loves 'The Double Life of Véronique' and 'The Battle of Algiers' and 'Schindler's List' and 'Requiem for a Dream,' all films which I, at least... don't think too highly of. No big deal. The "loves" part — trickier. 'The War Game' is very powerful and, I think, a great achievement. I love being in the presence of a great artist, and so sharp an intelligence as Watkins. But I draw attention to this "loves" in order to provide a disclaimer for anyone going into the film for the first time. Do not expect wonderment and charm, nor the happy quickening of the heart. For me, it's an -extremely- upsetting film. It depressed me for days afterward, watching it on DVD for the first time since viewing a 16mm print ten years earlier in college. Its vision of annihilation, of the inevitability of humanity's nuclear self-destruction, is so convincing, so total, that I fear the film is capable of inducing as similar a kind of catatonic despondence and melancholy in the spectator as it augurs as a side-effect of actual nuclear war. And I wonder about the usefulness of the gesture. Perhaps it's only for me that the work is less galvanic than completely... "unhinging".

I suppose things like 'The War Game' must exist, as we all need to stare into the abyss sometimes; cf. Lanzmann's 'Shoah' and Malle's 'Calcutta.'

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#19 Post by Gropius » Mon Jul 16, 2007 11:50 am

evillights wrote:Do not expect wonderment and charm, nor the happy quickening of the heart. For me, it's an -extremely- upsetting film. It depressed me for days afterward


That's rather how I felt as well, but I also watched it with someone else who simply smirked at its supposed naivety (an obnoxious reaction, I thought). The logic of mutually assured destruction is no guarantee against the future detonation of more nuclear warheads, especially when they continue to proliferate in such numbers, with every country following America's belligerent lead.

All of the Watkins films I've seen seem to constitute a similar embittered cry against human injustice, one of the most electric in the medium of film.

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#20 Post by domino harvey » Mon Jul 16, 2007 11:55 am

You can imagine how confusing this thread was for me until I realized everyone was discussing the War Game and not War Games.

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#21 Post by tryavna » Mon Jul 16, 2007 12:24 pm

domino harvey wrote:You can imagine how confusing this thread was for me until I realized everyone was discussing the War Game and not War Games.

I don't know.... I'm not sure that WarGames's cheesiness wouldn't cause "catatonic despondence" in its own right.

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#22 Post by ola t » Wed Aug 01, 2007 4:56 am

What languages are spoken in Edvard Munch? Is it all in Norwegian, or are there scenes or narration in other languages?

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#23 Post by What A Disgrace » Thu Aug 02, 2007 2:40 pm

My recollection of the original cut is that the performers speak Norwegian, while the film is narrated in English.

This and the two Laloux films appear on Amazon and Play with release dates of October 22. Other than subtitles and a new transfer, they list a 112 page booklet as supplements.

They aren't up for pre-order on Amazon, but you can put them on your wish list.

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#24 Post by MichaelB » Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:02 am

What A Disgrace wrote:My recollection of the original cut is that the performers speak Norwegian, while the film is narrated in English.

This is absolutely correct - and I'll be doing a comparison of the MoC and New Yorker releases for an upcoming Sight & Sound.

(They're both excellent, though MoC comfortably wins on running time, and while I haven't seen their booklet yet, it looks as though it duplicates all the material in the New Yorker one and adds tons more on top).

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#25 Post by Don Lope de Aguirre » Thu Aug 16, 2007 9:36 am

(They're both excellent, though MoC comfortably wins on running time, and while I haven't seen their booklet yet, it looks as though it duplicates all the material in the New Yorker one and adds tons more on top).

Is the reverse not true for the upcoming New Yorker DVD Michael?

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