59 Father

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Second Run and the films on them.
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hammock
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59 Father

#1 Post by hammock » Sun Mar 20, 2011 4:57 am

To be released on June 27th, 2011
Last edited by hammock on Sat Apr 30, 2011 3:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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MichaelB
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Re: 59 Apa

#2 Post by MichaelB » Sun Mar 20, 2011 6:25 am

Also known as Father, this was István Szabó's second feature, and the second in the five-film Hungarian deal that Second Run recently signed (the first being Szindbád).

I'm honour-bound not to divulge the rest, but I can probably get away with saying that thr package includes a major Jancsó that has yet to be released with English subtitles on video anywhere (as far as I'm aware).
Last edited by MichaelB on Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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NABOB OF NOWHERE
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Re: 59 Apa

#3 Post by NABOB OF NOWHERE » Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:02 am

MichaelB wrote:Also known as Father, this was István Szabó's feature debut, and the second in the five-film Hungarian deal that Second Run recently signed (the first being Szindbád).

I'm honour-bound not to divulge the rest, but I can probably get away with saying that thr package includes a major Jancsó that has yet to be released with English subtitles on video anywhere (as far as I'm aware).
Interesting in that if there are only 5 (two being already dedicated to Szindbad and Apa) and since Cantata, Silence and Cry and Red Psalm are available with subs from Clavis that means one of these appears to have been sacrificed for, perhaps, La pacifista or The Confrontation that haven't yet been released with english subs. I am not trying to be disingenuous to enter into guessing games but it seems odd that all the 'outstanding' Clavis titles that could do with new subbing haven't been mopped up. That is of course if the other three are all Jancso. I seem to have tied myself in knots here but i think you get my point.

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zedz
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Re: 59 Apa

#4 Post by zedz » Sun Mar 20, 2011 3:31 pm

MichaelB wrote:. . .a major Jancsó that has yet to be released with English subtitles on video anywhere (as far as I'm aware).
"Five Hungarian films" was good enough for me, but this is the salt-lick on the steppe!

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knives
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Re: 59 Apa

#5 Post by knives » Sun Mar 20, 2011 3:32 pm

I like this one a bit(it was the first Hungarian picture I ever saw)even if it's not one of the greater films to enter the collection. Might pick it up if it's going for around seven pounds.

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Re: 59 Apa

#6 Post by charal » Sun Mar 20, 2011 11:15 pm

FATHER was released by Kino a few years ago. Their transfer is adequate [non-anamorphic 1.66.1] with removable white subs. Bare bones however.

This is a good film by Szabo. It can be confusing upon first viewing but it is a psychological story after all. A boy/young man needs to mature whilst coming to terms with the absence of a father. He moves from dreams to reality. What tends to dilute the film at times is the depiction of a post-war-communist Hungary that 'matures' along with the boy himself.

Well Michael, you have started a guessing game here. Personally I'd love to see THE FALCONS, COLD DAYS, TEN THOUSAND SUNS or THE VALLEY get a release. All great 60s classics of the day.

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Re: 59 Apa

#7 Post by antnield » Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:28 am

Artwork currently on Amazon...

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MichaelB
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Re: 59 Father (Apa)

#8 Post by MichaelB » Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:02 am

I've just watched it, and it's an absolute delight.

Essentially, it's a Hungarian Billy Liar, only it takes place over a decade and is much more conscious of the social/political context - in fact, the film doubles as a potted history of Hungary from the mid-40s to the mid-50s. The first half is seen through the eyes of a hyper-imaginative schoolboy, who progressively transforms his memory of his late father into something far more exotic and exciting than the mundane reality - he was a partisan who constantly cheated imminent death, he was a great political leader (a crowd marches holding multiple placards with his portrait), and so on. As he grows up, his lies become less exotic and more personal, as though he needs to maintain this fictionalised version of his father in order to give himself a stature that he doesn't feel he deserves.

In addition to the main narrative, Szabó peppers the film with telling details - a teacher asks her fatherless pupils to identify themselves, only to get around half the class standing up; a film crew attempts to recreate a round-up of Jews in Budapest, with the assistant director proving far more aggressive than the reluctant extras playing Nazis and collaborators; a woman briefly panics after the momentary disappearance of a key means that she is unable to remove a bust of Stalin from a glass-fronted cabinet prior to an official meeting; a broken-down tram is trundled towards the city and "restored" in makeshift fashion en route until it becomes a work of political art in itself. Stylistically, it reminded me very much of early Truffaut, with a constantly mobile camera (Sándor Sára, the visual genius behind Szindbád, shot this one too) and unexpectedly sudden cuts, often to/from yet another fantasy sequence.

Second Run has still barely scratched the surface of the Hungarian New Wave (probably the least known of the major 1960s 'new waves', though this is more thanks to poor distribution than lack of quality), though at least we have this, Szindbád and two more Jancsós to look forward to over the next few months. I'd love to see some more films shot by Sára, who on the evidence of this and Szindbád (and István Gaál's Current and Ferenc Kósa's Ten Thousand Suns) was one of the best cinematographers working anywhere at the time. Apparently he demanded an unusual level of creative autonomy from his directors, but on the evidence of the final result it was more than justified.

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knives
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Re: 59 Father (Apa)

#9 Post by knives » Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:32 pm

Did you not see this before? I figured with how widely available it is/ was at least in the US you would have had the opportunity before now. Anyways I agree with you (though never made the Billy Liar connection before), though I don't share your enthusiasm. I'll be picking this one up mostly for the nostalgia, but it never really had the right emotional impact for me. Something about how it tells it's story kept me distanced throughout. That said it's still a very interesting and entertaining movie that I can watch again and again.

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MichaelB
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Re: 59 Father (Apa)

#10 Post by MichaelB » Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:53 pm

I've known that Second Run had had their eye on it for some time, so there wasn't any point in my importing the Kino - especially not given the exchange rate over the last three years. I also didn't bother catching it when it played at that amazing Hungarian New Wave retrospective in Wrocław in 2009 - I couldn't see everything, so I prioritised titles that I might not have a chance to see again (though I couldn't resist treating myself to Szindbád in 35mm).

Anyway, while Apa was released in Britain in the 1960s and was shown on BBC2 in 1972, it's been pretty much invisible since - along with just about everything else that Szabó made before Mephisto. I can't find any record of a previous UK video release in any medium.

I didn't find it "distanced" at all - quite the opposite, in fact. Mind you, I suspect you need to be fairly well up on 1940s/50s Hungarian history, because Szabó often only hints at the exact period (I suspect this was at least as much a censorship-avoidance tactic as anything else, especially since much of the film is set in 1956), and recognising the year is often crucial to understanding exactly what's going on - for instance, when Takó's teacher mysteriously disappears (to his delight, though it was almost certainly for deeply sinister reasons). But if you have that advance knowledge, it's very easy indeed to get a fix on what's happening and to understand why Takó is so keen to create a fantastical alternative to what may well be disturbing truths - and why he carries on fantasising about his father's "achievements" well into adulthood. Hopefully the booklet will provide some context.

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knives
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Re: 59 Father (Apa)

#11 Post by knives » Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:03 pm

That's rather interesting. This was actually my first Hungarian film so to say that I had no clue as to the historical contexts might be a bit of an understatement. It would be fairly interesting to see how I react now though and can't wait for this release as a result.

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swo17
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Re: 59 Father (Apa)

#12 Post by swo17 » Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:07 pm

Haven't you seen some of Tarr's films?

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knives
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Re: 59 Father (Apa)

#13 Post by knives » Tue Jun 14, 2011 4:35 pm

Was the question directed at me? If so, than yes I've seen two of his films along with about seven other Hungarian films.

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Re: 59 Father (Apa)

#14 Post by swo17 » Tue Jun 14, 2011 4:39 pm

My question was in response to this:
knives wrote:This was actually my first Hungarian film
Did you mean earliest that you've seen?

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knives
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Re: 59 Father (Apa)

#15 Post by knives » Tue Jun 14, 2011 5:10 pm

Yes, I first saw it back in 2008 and while I had mixed emotions it had the right level of unique to it's story and character that I wanted to search out the culture further. I think I was most disarmed by how ordinary stylistically it was (this was around the time I was really getting into film and was looking at some of the more experimental stuff). I'm sure now that I know what to expect I'll like it a lot more, but even now I would say it is a very good film with a complex heart.

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Re: 59 Father (Apa)

#16 Post by skuhn8 » Thu Jun 23, 2011 4:56 am

Bikey, any plans to release the rest of the Szabo 'Trilogy'? The Hungarian DVDs include contextual special features as well as short films, but are sadly lacking in English subs (though the main features do have subs).

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Re: 59 Father (Apa)

#17 Post by Bikey » Fri Jun 24, 2011 3:32 pm

skuhn8 wrote:Bikey, any plans to release the rest of the Szabo 'Trilogy'? The Hungarian DVDs include contextual special features as well as short films, but are sadly lacking in English subs (though the main features do have subs).
skuhn8, although that is something we are considering, the likelihood is that we will follow FATHER with the film which Mr Szabo himself has said to us that he would really like to see released next.
As much as I would like to, I feel we need to have the master material properly with us before mentioning its title. Hope you will bear with us for awhile.

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knives
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Re: 59 Father (Apa)

#18 Post by knives » Fri Jun 24, 2011 3:48 pm

At least this means there will be more Szabo to which I say thanks.

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Re: 59 Father (Apa)

#19 Post by skuhn8 » Sat Jun 25, 2011 5:37 am

Bikey wrote:skuhn8, although that is something we are considering, the likelihood is that we will follow FATHER with the film which Mr Szabo himself has said to us that he would really like to see released next.
Though consumer demand for 'Mephisto' would probably be about highest, I suspect he'd shoot for something a little more recent? Any clues you can share? 'Film where Szabo speaks for Menzel'?

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Re: 59 Father (Apa)

#20 Post by MichaelB » Sat Jun 25, 2011 5:48 am

I don't think it's out on DVD anywhere - which may well be another reason why Szabó is so keen for Second Run to take it on.

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Forrest Taft
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Re: 59 Father (Apa)

#21 Post by Forrest Taft » Sat Jun 25, 2011 7:40 am

Edit: Nevermind...

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Re: 59 Father (Apa)

#22 Post by Bikey » Tue Jul 26, 2011 6:42 am

Final artwork
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MichaelB
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Re: 59 Apa

#23 Post by MichaelB » Tue Jul 26, 2011 6:56 am

charal wrote:FATHER was released by Kino a few years ago. Their transfer is adequate [non-anamorphic 1.66.1] with removable white subs.
It seems that the Second Run version will be in 4:3 - but before you reach for the pitchforks and torches, this was at Szabó's personal request.

Although the film was shown at 1.66:1 in cinemas, Szabó hated the way that this cropped the newsreel footage, and thinks that the film looks much better when opened out to the full negative area. I've only seen it in 4:3, so can't comment on specifics - but compositionally it looked absolutely fine.

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Re: 59 Father (Apa)

#24 Post by Bikey » Tue Aug 02, 2011 4:43 am

Michael Brooke's review at MovieMail

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skuhn8
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Re: 59 Apa

#25 Post by skuhn8 » Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:11 am

MichaelB wrote:
charal wrote:FATHER was released by Kino a few years ago. Their transfer is adequate [non-anamorphic 1.66.1] with removable white subs.
It seems that the Second Run version will be in 4:3 - but before you reach for the pitchforks and torches, this was at Szabó's personal request.

Although the film was shown at 1.66:1 in cinemas, Szabó hated the way that this cropped the newsreel footage, and thinks that the film looks much better when opened out to the full negative area. I've only seen it in 4:3, so can't comment on specifics - but compositionally it looked absolutely fine.
FWIW, the Hungarian edition--which I believe was made with Szabo's participation--is also 4:3.

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