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PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2006 10:42 pm 
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rs98762001 wrote:
And the Quay Brothers' cheerleading was fun to watch.

QUESTION MARK!

I love the Quay's but have never seen this film. Do you have a screen cap of this?


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PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2006 10:22 am 
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LightBulbFilm wrote:
Do you have a screen cap of this?

The Beaver does.


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PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2006 1:59 pm 

Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2005 6:04 pm
LightBulbFilm wrote:

I love the Quay's but have never seen this film.


I would really recommend then that you check The Cremator out. It's very much in that Svankmajer/Quay Brothers world. Pretty wild stuff. Those wacky Czechs.


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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2006 12:53 pm 

Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2005 4:09 am
Quote:
Bikey, anything to report from your research into the picture's lack of sharpness?



Sorry for not getting back to you about this sooner but we had a long hard look at this with our production people and to be honest we can't find any reason for the softness that some people have remarked on.

The disc went through exactly the same production process as all our other releases: same transfer, same encode, same QC. All on the same kit.

It passed all their and our checks (and I still think it looks pretty good for a film that's as old as I am) but I'd like to offer my apologies if anyone doesn't feel it is up to our usual standards.

If anyone is feeling genuinely aggrieved and/or ripped off please mail me via the forum.


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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2006 12:27 pm 

Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2006 2:39 am
Bikey wrote:
Sorry for not getting back to you about this sooner but we had a long hard look at this with our production people and to be honest we can't find any reason for the softness that some people have remarked on.
...
It passed all their and our checks (and I still think it looks pretty good for a film that's as old as I am) but I'd like to offer my apologies if anyone doesn't feel it is up to our usual standards.

Sorry if I'm a bit blunt, but it's not a case of softness that just some people can remark. Everyone can see it's a simple true fact if they just take a look at this comparison posted earlier.

Anyway, don't get me wrong. I'm keeping my copy of your The Cremator release and already have "Knights..." and "The Passenger" on pre-order as you keep doing a great job anyways!


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 8:27 pm 
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I actually saw the czech dvd first because I borrowed it from a friend. I bought the second run dvd because I thought it would be as good if not better but I was horrified when I watched it. If you have seen the czech release and know how good this film should look then this dvd is unwatchable. The difference is huge - it looks like someone forgot to focus. I've seen reviews where people assumed the look of the second run dvd was how the film was supposed to look but this just isn't true.

The subtitles on the czech dvd aren't all that bad either - there are quite a few mistakes and a few strange lines here and there but I've seen much worse including a number of British and American dvds.
I bought it from dvdr.cz and it came very quickly. I've got rid of the second run already on ebay.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 9:01 pm 
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I got the Czech DVD and can agree that the difference is astounding. The language of the subs isn't bad, it's that they lag behind in the first third of the film. I'm going to try and add the subs from the Secon Run disc to a rip of the Czech DVD. But even with the misplaced subs, I will only watch the Czech DVD, which I highly recommend. The Bros. Quay intro to the Second Run disc, however, is worth the price alone, if you're a fan.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 5:14 am 

Joined: Fri Nov 24, 2006 7:51 am
Does anyone know where I could get hold of the music from this film? Zdenek Liska's soundtrack is just so magical that I just need to have.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:00 am 
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T99 wrote:
Does anyone know where I could get hold of the music from this film? Zdenek Liska's soundtrack is just so magical that I just need to have.


Sadly, Liška's music is almost impossible to get hold of outside the original films.

Apparently his widow absolutely vetoes pretty much any proposal involving the repackaging of her late husband's music - which amongst other things torpedoed the Quay Brothers' original plans for The Phantom Museum, which was originally conceived with Liška's music in mind.

I've been privileged enough to see the original version, and it's quite extraordinary - in no way do I wish to detract from Gary Tarn's score, as he did an excellent job, but on watching the film with LiÅ¡ka's music it becomes obvious that the Quays devised everything from the editing rhythms onwards with LiÅ¡ka specifically in mind. Sadly, though, this version is unreleasable until Mrs LiÅ¡ková either changes her mind or the rights expire, and the impression I get (not least from a Prague-based friend who actually doorstepped her about this issue) is that both options will involve a wait of several decades.

(Fingers are very tightly crossed that the Jan Švankmajer box set that I'm currently producing will feature both versions of The Ossuary, but... well, put it like this: if the end result doesn't feature the version with the Liška score, it won't be for want of trying!)


Last edited by MichaelB on Thu Jan 25, 2007 8:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 8:00 am 

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Since our release of The Cremator we have had three soundtrack / reissue record labels asking us for contact details for Liska's estate.

Michael correctly states that his widow vetoes any proposal regarding her husbands music.

Were this not the case we would be first in line to try and reissue some of this spellbinding music!


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 8:20 am 
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The more of his music I encounter, the clearer it becomes that Liška was one of the all-time great film composers - right up there with Nino Rota, Bernard Herrmann and Ennio Morricone.

Like many in Britain, I first came across his music accompanying most of Jan Švankmajer's early work (up to and including 1979's The Castle of Otranto) - which is a terrific showcase as in many cases the films are effectively silent, with the soundtrack entirely taken up with Liška's music (i.e. not even any sound effects). Švankmajer frequently sung his praises, saying that he could discover rhythms in his films of which he was previously unaware - and after Liška's death in 1983 he largely lost interest in the musical side of his films: most of his post-1983 shorts have no music at all.

The first time I realised just how distinctive LiÅ¡ka's music was was when I saw VÄ›ra Chytilová's The Fruit of Paradise at the NFT in the late 1980s, and guessed the composer immediately - and that's another film where the music is arguably a more vital part of the overall texture than the relatively sparse dialogue. And from that point on, although I never actually sought out films because they had a LiÅ¡ka soundtrack, his presence on the credits was a pretty solid guarantee that I'd get something out of the film, regardless of whether it was any good (though most LiÅ¡ka-scored films have a fair bit going for them besides the score).

More recently, I watched a Czech TV documentary about the famous Laterna Magika theatre which included a whole section of Czech film and theatre luminaries queuing up to sing his praises - apparently he was not only phenomenally inventive but also blindingly fast: a perfect combination for a deadline-driven industry.

It's a real tragedy that his music isn't more accessible - and tooth-grindingly frustrating that there's just one significant barrier. But without Mrs LiÅ¡ková's agreement, nothing can be done.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 9:33 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2005 4:09 am
A minor tangent:

If you are into soundtracks I'd urge you to listen to Jonny Trunk's OST show on Resonance FM.

" Original Soundtrack: the only soundtrack show anywhere in the world! The finest film music, rare library and very special guests"

16.30pm UK time every Saturday. It only broadcasts over the air to London but you can hear it online at www.resonancefm.com

Jonny really knows his stuff. I think I may have played some Liska last time I guested.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 9:52 am 
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Thanks for that, will tune in. However:

Quote:
Original Soundtrack: the only soundtrack show anywhere in the world! The finest film music, rare library and very special guests"

is a gross overstatement. I know at least another one that has been running in France for a few years, from Nicolas Saada (ex-Cahiers du Cinéma) on Radio Nova every sunday night (MK2 realeased a very good CD of Saada's selected soundtracks).


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 9:59 am 

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Hey, I'm only quoting from the Resonance site. I can't be held responsible for their marketing blurb.

I'm sure there are a number of soundtrack shows out there in the ether.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 4:24 pm 
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MichaelB wrote:
(Fingers are very tightly crossed that the Jan Švankmajer box set that I'm currently producing will feature both versions of The Ossuary, but... well, put it like this: if the end result doesn't feature the version with the Liška score, it won't be for want of trying!)

Oh, I thought the version with the Liska score was the one in general circulation. It's the only one I've seen, at any rate, and it might be my favourite movie score of all time. Certainly one of the contributing factors to the pilgrimage I made to Sedlec in 1998!

I completely agree with you about Liska's ranking as a film composer. I'm not a great Rota fan, but I'd certainly rank him alongside Herrmann, Morricone and Takemitsu - all creators of great, unexpected music that throws their films into new dimensions but can also stand alone.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 4:30 pm 
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MichaelB wrote:
But the tour guide soundtrack now appears to be the official version - the recent Kino/KimStim DVD The Ossuary and Other Tales only features that soundtrack, and this was also the version that Krátký Film sent me on DigiBeta after I licensed it for UK release. But we're making enquiries about the other version, as I entirely agree with you about the gorgeousness of LiÅ¡ka's contribution - quite aside from the fact that most people will only be familiar with that version (which was the one released theatrically and on VHS by the BFI in the late 1980s/early 1990s).


Since this thread has been revived, I might as well take this opportunity to confirm that the new BFI Švankmajer set will definitely offer both soundtracks to The Ossuary - both fully subtitled. (The Liška version wasn't subtitled in previous UK releases).


Last edited by MichaelB on Fri May 11, 2007 11:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 7:49 am 

Joined: Fri Nov 24, 2006 7:51 am
Quote:
Michael correctly states that his widow vetoes any proposal regarding her husbands music.

What a pity! Does anyone know what is the reason for her not wanting to sell the rights to anyone?


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 7:59 am 
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T99 wrote:
What a pity! Does anyone know what is the reason for her not wanting to sell the rights to anyone?

No - the only thing that's absolutely certain is that it's her own decision, not that of an agent or other representative acting in her supposed interests.

And the most recent face-to-face "no" that I'm aware of was only about three or four years ago, so it's unlikely that she's changed her mind in the meantime (Liška himself died in 1983).


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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 11:33 am 

Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 9:26 am
I've been eyeing up many of the Second Run discs for some time now but today I finally took the plunge and made this one my first purchase.

It sounds like the kind of film that's right up my street and hopefully it'll be, as it has been for others it seems, a major discovery for me.


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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 7:47 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2005 4:09 am
Senses of Cinema on 'The Cremator'

Here's a great piece on 'The Cremator' from the most recent edition of Senses of Cinema.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 5:55 pm 
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I introduced a screening at Birkbeck College last week - text here.

It went down an absolute storm (I'd never seen it on the big screen before), and I reckon quite a few copies would have been shifted as a result - especially as I enthused about the Quay Brothers interview in the post-screening discussion without actually showing any of it.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 9:38 am 
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Rudolf Hrusinsky reminds me of a more sinister and creepy looking Peter Lorre, as if that was even possible. Chilling performance and a striking demonstration how his enthusiasm for his work descends into madness. There's all his Buddhist talk about reincarnation, that he's saving souls, his pride in turning a body into ashes in 75 mins. You can just tell something's up and that the greatest stage for his talents are on the way - the furnaces of the Nazis! And that really ominous phrase he comes up with about Germany being a humanitarian state, with excellent laws on cremation!

Watching his realisation that his family aren't pure because of his wife's Jewish blood and his pursuit of killing them is horrible - the way he hangs his wife and then as the cat claws at her feet to revive her, he pours the cat milk to distract it. So striking.

Interesting that Herz was both a friend and contemporary of Svankmajer (as well as being born just days apart). It really does seem the kind of film JS could have made - the use if really inventive camera angles, dizzying soundtrack, distorted voices, those opening title sequences - the hallmarks of surrealist cinema. A great film. Great work from Second Run again!


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2008 6:15 am 
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I saw and loved this film last night. I'd be interested in seeing more Herz, but I don't think much is available? This is the first Czech film I have seen (apart from Svankmajer and Trnka) what's a good next step?


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2008 1:28 pm 

Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2005 6:04 pm
The Czech films in Second Run's catalogue aren't a bad place to start. The mellow humanism of Intimate Lighting and the stark medieval epic Marketa Lazarova are wildly dissimilar to The Cremator, but equally brilliant.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2008 2:03 pm 
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I've had my eye on Marketa Lazarova for a while, following it's stunning reviews. I'll try and give both a go. Thanks for the recommendations.


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