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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2005 4:39 pm 
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Mother Joan of the Angels (original) (restored)

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Taking the infamous and documented 'demonic possession' of a group of nuns in Loudun, France in 1634 as his starting point (events subsequently also adapted by Ken Russell for his notorious film The Devils), director Jerzy Kawalerowicz created an intensely provocative and visually astonishing film. Aided by an extraordinary performance by Lucyna Winnicka as Mother Joan, the possessed Mother Superior of the convent, and Mieczysław Voit as the troubled priest Father Józef Suryn, Kawalerowicz's masterpiece is a profoundly disturbing exploration of faith, repression, fanaticism and sexuality.

Special Features (restored version)

• Presented from a new high-definition restoration of the film, supervised by the film's cinematographer Jerzy Wójcik.
• Newly filmed, exclusive appreciation by writer and
film historian Michael Brooke.
• New and improved English subtitle translation.
• 20-page booklet featuring a new essay by author and film lecturer Dr David Sorfa, and Michael Brooke on director Kawalerowicz.
• Optimal quality dual-layer disc.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 2:47 am 
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This movie looks fascinating. Can anyone tell me more about it?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:31 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:22 am
I'm a big fan of Jerzy Kawalerowicz; his films have a lot of psychological tension to them and this film is no exception. The closest film in tone that I can think of is Dreyer's Day of Wrath, but the style is probably more like chamber period Bergman.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 8:50 pm 
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acquarello wrote:
I'm a big fan of Jerzy Kawalerowicz; his films have a lot of psychological tension to them and this film is no exception. The closest film in tone that I can think of is Dreyer's Day of Wrath, but the style is probably more like chamber period Bergman.


Well, I love Day of Wrath and like chamber period Bergman, so I think I'll give this one a go.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2005 2:01 am 
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Source materials are analogue 1", and it's got a bunch of problems, but they say so on the back of the sleeve, and at the start of the film. It does look like VHS though.

Damn shame that this is all that's apparently left of the film, but it's still very watchable, and of course recommended to all fans of classic European cinema.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2005 3:43 am 
I saw the film on SBS TV in 1984 and it is the most impressive period piece from Poland I have ever experienced. It is a medieval tale about love: its abuses, restrictions and its elusiveness. The main actress is the director's wife. The camera work is a standout. In many ways it can be compared to RUBLEV but without the epic sweep of that Russian marvel. MOTHER JOANNA is a chamber piece of sorts. If you like Eastern European films do not hesitate to get this. In my opinion it is better than Wajda's films which seem to be flawed in minor ways.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 9:26 am 
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Oddly, my copy just shipped from Amazon, despite the fact that I requested it be grouped with Onibaba, Kuroneko, Konkurs, and Szerelum.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2005 4:45 pm 
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Location: Rheda-Wiedenbrueck / Germany
Link to our (German) review with screenshots.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 10:41 am 
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Location: Cheltenham, England
DVD Times review.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 1:33 am 
The last time I saw this film was 15 years ago [I taped it from SBS TV in 1985]. Watching it again I was struck by how much I still like it, i didn't expect to (since I watched it too manty times). I got tired of watching it years ago due to my uncertainty concerning the character of Mother Joanna. I know she fakes it at times but is she in love with Suryn or is she confused about that and everything else? The church excorcism scene seems bold, on behalf of the sisters. They seem to be playing with fire a bit but they do know enough to put on a good show which can only interest everyone present rather than cause trouble. How far can the authorities go, assuming the devils don't leave Mother Joanna? Would they burn her too?

What I especially like about the film is its structure [screenplay] and its camera-work [inventive for the time no doubt]. These help to give the film a cetain freshness that help it to remain both relevant and interesting. One particular example is when the camera [first scene] goes from Suryn, out the window and to the two stablehands outside. It then stays with them, almost documentary-like, while they talk.

Apart from Skolimowski's films this is my favourite 1960s Polish film.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2005 11:54 pm 
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A fantastic film. It's great that Second Run have made this available, even though the transfer is far from perfect. Kawalerowicz creates a great period feeling that Tarkovsky surely had in mind when making Andrey Rublyov: stark, grimy and grim.

What I find most beguiling about the film's style is Kawalerowicz's eerie mobile camera, which drifts through the scenes semi-autonomously, tracking in for emphasis, or scuttling away. At times the camera-eye starts out as the apparent subjective view of a character, then becomes independent. It's a smart, disorienting technique that creates the suggestion of an unseen third presence overseeing the powerful stand-offs between Suryn and Joan - an entirely appropriate suggestion, in terms of the plot, of course.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 7:10 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2005 4:09 am
For those who may not have heard as yet, director Jerzy Kawalerowicz passed away on December 27th. He was 85 years old.

We will try to arrange, in the new year, a screening of MOTHER JOAN as a tribute.

Ray Privett's short interview with Kawalerowicz for Kinoeye is here.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 6:13 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2005 4:09 am
...and the first Obituary we've seen for Mr Kawalerowicz, from the Telegraph.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 4:00 am 
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Comparison DVD BestFilm (Poland) / DVD SecondRun (UK):

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 4:25 am 
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Interesting... the Facets, despite coming from the same transfer, seems like it has more detail. Would it be possible to get this image resized to 640x480 from the new dvd for comparison?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 3:13 am 
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Bestfilm / SecondRun

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 3:52 am 
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The color is different which I think is what I was noticing, and I imagine jpeg compression doesn't help, but the close-up are rather identical, and the pal-to-ntsc combing is really the most important matter here


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 10:45 am 
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Finally removed this from my kevyip last night. I loved it. Mother Joan just goes to show that you don't need a pristine image in order to enjoy the film. In fact, given the mystery surrounding the narrative events, the print-quality only adds to the creepiness of it all, esp. in the later scenes after Suryn has "taken" the demon away from Joanna. I'll take Mother Joan over a thousand blu-rays of lousy movies any day; kudos to SR for putting this out in the best condition they could.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:41 pm 
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I watched this last night and was very impressed with it. I had low expectations for image quality but found it quite watchable on my modest system.

There's a ton of great camerawork (and play) in this. It's one of those films I'll be really glad to have in my library for years to come.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2011 11:08 am 

Joined: Wed May 27, 2009 10:18 am
I also loved this film. Shame about the transfer, is there no possibility of a tidy up in future? But what I wanted to say is it makes an excellent companion piece to The Devils. For those who rate Russell's film should also see this since both films are based on the same historical event, and it's interesting to compare and contrast.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2011 6:53 pm 
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A new version has been released in Poland and is reputedly much better. It is also reputedly getting a blu-ray upgrade, which is why I haven't grabbed the reputedly much better release.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 7:15 pm 

Joined: Wed May 27, 2009 10:18 am
John Edmond wrote:
A new version has been released in Poland and is reputedly much better. It is also reputedly getting a blu-ray upgrade, which is why I haven't grabbed the reputedly much better release.


I need English subs though. Encouraging that there has been an upgrade. It deserves one.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 3:56 am 
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Even the version in Best Film Co's 50 Years of the Polish School box was markedly better than the Second Run edition, and the trailer for the Blu-ray looks flat-out stunning.

The Poles have really got their act together in recent years - six years ago, their masters ranged from "barely adequate" to "barely watchable" (Polish releases were just as bad as Second Run's, because there really wasn't any alternative source), but the current Studio Kadr restoration programme has produced some revelatory improvements. I've bought four of their DVDs even though they don't have subtitles, because films I thought I knew well like Eroica are unrecognisable.

Don't follow my lead, though: Second Run will be bringing out the restored Eroica in the fairly near future. They were very lucky with the timing - they were just about to release a crappy VHS-quality version when a chance conversation revealed that the Kadr restoration programme had just got underway. So, very wisely, they scrapped it and waited nearly two years for what has turned out to be an infinitely better version.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 1:34 pm 
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That's great news. Hopefully Second Run can port over more of these new restorations in English subtitled editions.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 2:05 pm 
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I thought most of these Polish releases had english subtitles?


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