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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2016 7:10 pm 
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Separate blu-ray and dvd releases September 26th.

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"A parable for the idea that revolutionaries must continually renew themselves" Miklós Jancsó

Revolutionary in form as well as content, Electra, My Love is one of the great Miklós Jancsó's finest works. Set amidst the open plains and grasslands of Hungary, and shot in twelve long, beautiful, intricately choreographed takes by cinematographer János Kende, it is a provocative call to arms against any system that rules without justice.

An expert in the symbolic expression of forbidden political ideas, Jancsó here radically reworks the ancient Greek myth as a philosophical reflection on the dialectics of power and oppression. Electra (seeking revenge for the murder of her father, the former king) attempts to rouse a cowardly and apathetic population against the rule of usurper tyrant Aegisthus. Jancsó's film examines issues of law, justice and power; the deliberate distortion of myth and reality reflecting the real horrors that Hungary had endured and was at that time still enduring. It s relevance for contemporary society is still potent and clear today.

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS
Electra, My Love (1974) presented from a brand new digital restoration of the film, supervised by the Hungarian National Digital Archive.
Original Hungarian soundtrack in Dual Mono 24-bit LPCM audio
Booklet featuring a new essay on the film.
New and improved English subtitle translation
MORE TBC


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 Post subject: Re: Electra, My Love
PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2016 7:21 pm 
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Nice! I wonder how many thousand percentage points of improvement this will be over the Facets release.


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 Post subject: Re: Electra, My Love
PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2016 10:01 pm 
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And on BluRay! I've only seen this (several times) in a well-worn 16mm print, but it was my first Jancso and it completely blew my mind that films like this even existed.


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 Post subject: Re: Electra, My Love
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 4:27 am 
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swo17 wrote:
Nice! I wonder how many thousand percentage points of improvement this will be over the Facets release.

The Facets disc is in fact one of their better ones, but that only translates as "you'd probably be quite pleased if you bought it on VHS in the 1990s". The subtitles are in sync, which is a major advance for them, but the analogue tape master has given it a very flat, televisual appearance which I'm sure isn't anywhere close to what Jancsó intended.

I'm certainly willing to bet that this negative IMDB review was derived from the Facets version:

Quote:
This movie lacks originality. The script is poor, the budget is probably less than that of a high school play, the costumes look horrendous, the performers are stiff as nails, the dialog is numb, the landscape is barren, the cinematography is amateur, the props look like they are about to fall apart, and the pace is slower than drying paint. It was made in 1974, but seems as though it was made in the 1940's and in someone's backyard.

...although it's still ludicrous: you don't get hundreds of horses into a film with the budget of a high school play! And the "barren landscape" is of course the great Hungarian puszta, the setting for many of Jancsó's major masterpieces.

Hopefully my own review is a bit more nuanced:

Quote:
There was always something inevitable about Miklós Jancsó’s Electra My Love (a literal translation of the Hungarian Szerelmem, Elektra, though it’s also known as Elektreia). In the films from The Confrontation (Fényes szelek, 1968) to Red Psalm (Még kér a nép, 1971), he had been refining an approach to film that could best be described as ritualised, his characters more akin to mythological archetypes than flesh-and-blood humans. And since Jancsó’s earlier work had more than their fair share of moments resembling Greek tragedy, what could be more natural than adapting an ancient Greek source?

In fact, Jancsó’s film was derived from László Gyurkó’s stage play, which offered a radical re-reading of the ancient Elektra myth. Jancsó in turn transports it to his beloved puszta, and while the film initially seems to be set in a timeless never-never land, by the end the costumes and music are recognisably Hungarian. It marks the most extreme refinement of his post-Confrontation style: there are just eight principal shots, each lasting an entire reel of film, with four additional fill-in shots making up a total only just scraping double figures.

As with Red Psalm, the narrative plays second fiddle to everything else, so it’s worth outlining in full – this is not the kind of film where spoilers matter. At a fifteenth-anniversary commemoration of her father Agamemnon’s death, Electra (Mari Törőcsik) is told by her younger sister Chrisothemis (Gabi Jobba) to put it behind her and move on. Electra indignantly replies that she must never forget the primary reason for her opposition to the tyrant Aegisthus (József Madaras). A mere woman, she cannot raise a hand against him herself, but she lives in hope that her exiled brother Orestes will return. Aegisthus plays various psychological games with her, in an attempt to convince her that Orestes is dead, but when he turns out to be alive, his appearance inspires the people to overthrow Aegisthus. After killing Aegisthus and his supporters, Orestes and Electra die and are resurrected, free to foment revolution elsewhere.

Jancsó’s hyperstylised approach sets the protagonists against a backdrop of not only the puszta but some five hundred extras. Their intricately plotted movements run through every scene, and the big set-pieces are closer to ritual theatre than cinema. Though there’s nothing quite as formally astonishing as the massacre towards the end of Red Psalm, the film is bursting with memorable images: the line of women wending their way round a spiral path around a mount studded with candles, Orestes running through a sea of prone bodies, the usurped Aegisthus treated as a plaything by being forced to balance on a large ball (which in turn encapsulates his own shaky hold on both power and, ultimately, life), the deliberately anachronistic (and clearly symbolic) red helicopter that descends like a firebird at the end to carry Electra and Orestes off, and seemingly endless lines of horses galloping across the screen from the opening to the closing seconds.

There are plenty of contemporary political allegories to be drawn. The frequent use of Hungarian folksong (performed onscreen) invites us to read the film as a portrait of Hungary under rulers as ruthless yet insecure as Aegisthus (apparently Gyurkó’s play was explicitly inspired by the Stalinist era. When Aegisthus proclaims a Feast of Truth, encouraging his subjects to offer direct criticism without fear of reprisal, they choose unstinting sycophancy – possibly aware that when Mao tried a similar tactic in the late 1950s, his assurances proved worthless. Aegisthus relies both on terror (his people are constantly surrounded by horsemen and whip-wielding thugs) and his subjects’ reluctance to take decisive action. However, he in turn feels powerless to discipline Electra, unless given a good excuse. When he is provided with one, such as her murder of the messenger bearing news of Orestes’ death, he takes the politically canny step of proclaiming that everyone is equal under the law, thus neatly hoisting Electra (who opens the film with a lament that without consistently-applied law, civilisation is impossible) with her own petard.

As in Red Psalm, János Kende’s camera is constantly zooming from long shot to close-up, though the overall pace is statelier, the compositions more measured, the complex blocking more precise, the movements more intricately choreographed. Dance is even more central to the film’s mode of expression than was the case earlier, and is often the primary means through which Electra communicates with her followers: the dialogue is not so much spoken as declaimed in a manner not unlike authentic Greek theatre. When Aegisthus is finally killed by Orestes, Béla Bartók’s pounding piano piece Allegro barbaro (the title of which Jancsó would later adopt for a 1978 film) implicitly proclaims the triumph of the people over the oppressor via its folksong roots.

In Red Psalm, revolution is seen as a sadly necessary corrective to centuries of exploitation by the ruling classes, with any violence to be deeply regretted. By contrast, Electra herself ends up a militant revolutionary, advocating bloody revenge as a legitimate end in itself, the people justified in expressing their hatred as hatred, if their ultimate aims are the creation of a wholly equal society. It’s an uncompromisingly absolutist vision that was hard to sustain even in 1974, and subsequent events (the journey from idealism to terrorism taken by the Red Brigades in Jancsó’s adopted Italy, ethnic cleansing in Rwanda, Bosnia and Iraq) have shown that it’s almost invariably unsustainable when applied in practice. Which may well be why Jancsó resorted to increasingly stylised treatments in the first place: practice was already sharply deviating from theory.


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 Post subject: Re: Electra, My Love
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 4:53 am 

Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 6:14 am
I found this an interesting if a little too cold film, but I couldn't connect with this as much as with Red and the White, but I will definitely give this another try, if on Blu ray no less.
BTW where did the upcoming second Run releases info was shown? Nothing on Arrow's or second run's site


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 Post subject: Re: Electra, My Love
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 5:52 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2005 4:09 am
Details are up on Amazon - Arrow store should follow later today.


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 Post subject: Re: Electra, My Love
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 6:01 am 

Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 6:14 am
And can I ask if the plans to put the entire catalog on Arrow's site is still in the works or will it not happen


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 Post subject: Re: Electra, My Love
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 8:20 am 
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I was expecting Silence and Cry to come first, so this is a lovely surprise. ...and of course, it bodes well for a Blu-ray of that. I would not have guessed we'd be getting any Jancso on Blu-ray, as I expected that format would be reserved for higher priority titles.


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 Post subject: Re: Electra, My Love
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 8:23 am 
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We're getting two Jancsó BDs this year, because Mondo Macabro is prepping Private Vices, Public Virtues.

In fact, I assumed that would be the first, but it looks as though Second Run has sneaked under the wire.


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 Post subject: Re: Electra, My Love
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 12:09 pm 
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Besides the booklet, curious of the extras. MaNDA's DVD edition offers the following:

• Illúziók – Jancsó Miklós / Illusions - Miklós Jancsó excerpts (1996) 7’25 *
• A hosszú snitt alakulásai / The Evolution of the Long Shot (János Kende) 28’23’
• Gondolat és tér / Notion and Space (Ferenc Grunwalsky) 32’

* with optional English subtitles


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 4:48 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 4:50 pm 
Dot Com Dom
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Literal 'cock blocking


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 Post subject: Re: Electra, My Love
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:31 am 
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L.A. wrote:
Besides the booklet, curious of the extras. MaNDA's DVD edition offers the following:

• Illúziók – Jancsó Miklós / Illusions - Miklós Jancsó excerpts (1996) 7’25 *
• A hosszú snitt alakulásai / The Evolution of the Long Shot (János Kende) 28’23’
• Gondolat és tér / Notion and Space (Ferenc Grunwalsky) 32’

* with optional English subtitles

A hosszú snitt alakulásai / The Evolution of the Long Shot listed as an extra for the Blu-ray.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:33 am 
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Here's a standard-definition glimpse of the restored HD master that Second Run will be using.

And, just for a laugh, here's a clip from the Facets version, which is all that most of us will have been able to see.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 5:39 pm 
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I have the MaNDA DVD of that same master. The image looks a bit soft compared to their other Jancsó DVDs, and indeed, most of the recent Hungarian digital restorations. I suspect this might be due to limitations in the existing film elements. But the color is vastly improved compared to the Facets edition, and I love the widescreen aspect ratio. I have no doubt that the transfer will benefit from the superior technical specs of the Blu-ray format.

Once again, I applaud Second Run's dedication to underappreciated but brilliant films. They're one of the few video labels that has truly transformed and deepened global film culture.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 2:06 pm 

Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2005 4:09 am
Thanks, jsteffe, for your very kind words.
One may not think so at first but it's really heartening for us to hear from the community that they also do care for the films we love and release.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 5:06 am 
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Bikey wrote:
One may not think so at first but it's really heartening for us to hear from the community that they also do care for the films we love and release.

OK, so let me chime in: Ever since I saw some excerpts of the Movie in a film history class this is the one Jancso Film I hoped will get a decent release the most. The Facets was appaling and I truly look forward to this promising package.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2016 3:59 pm 
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I just received an email from Arrow that this Blu-ray dispatched along with some other titles that I ordered from them. I can't wait to look at it!


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2016 4:25 pm 

Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2005 4:09 am
Unfortunately that note from Arrow must be an error.
We only signed that project off today to begin manufacture, so no physical stock yet exists.
Release date is still 26/09


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2016 4:49 pm 
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Bikey wrote:
Unfortunately that note from Arrow must be an error.
We only signed that project off today to begin manufacture, so no physical stock yet exists.
Release date is still 26/09


That's good to know, but it's no problem for me if they ship it separately at a later date. I also ordered The Shop on High Street (yay!) and Arrow's BDs of The Fireman's Ball and Closely Observed Trains.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2016 9:06 am 

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Pre-order price drop alert!
ELECTRA, MY LOVE now just £12.99 pre-order at Amazon!!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2016 4:59 am 

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Full details on this release now up at our website


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 7:18 am 
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And now showing as In stock on Arrow's webstore.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 2:00 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 4:18 pm 
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I haven't received the Second Run Blu-ray yet, but I've been watching the MaNDA DVD of the same restoration. I am struck by how extraordinarily complex this film must have been to photograph. Not only did they use an extreme zoom lens, but in some places it appears as if they may have had to adjust the aperture on the fly to compensate for changes in light, such as shifting direction toward the sun versus away from the sun earlier in the same shot. All of this must have had complicated effects on the exposure and color density of the image in places.

This also leads me to believe that one of the artifacts I have noticed in places, slight color fringing around objects, is a product of the specific lenses used.

I'd be interested to hear what people who know more about the technical aspects of cinematography think about this.


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