28 Romeo, Juliet and Darkness

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Bikey
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2005 4:09 am

#1 Post by Bikey » Sun Nov 26, 2006 6:08 pm

Romeo, Juliet and Darkness

Image

A young man shelters a fugitive Jewish girl in the attic of his apartment building during the brutal 1942 Nazi occupation of Prague, becoming her only link to the outside world. Fear, anxiety and suspicion soon turn into gratitude and love between them. A poetic and beautifully-filmed drama which examines the consequences of their actions.

Jiří Weiss was a leading figure in post-war Czechoslovak cinema. Fleeing his homeland during the 1968 Soviet invasion, he settled in the USA and died there in 2004. This is the first ever DVD release of the film anywhere in the world.

Special Features

• Digitally re-mastered with restored image and sound.
• New and improved English subtitle translation.
• Image gallery.



....
Romeo, Juliet and Darkness (Romeo, Julia a tma)
A film by Jiri Weiss
Czechoslovakia / 1960
Second Run DVD 028

" In this restrained and tragic love story, set in occupied Prague, Weiss admirably captures the daily stress and consequences of living in fear." - The Guardian

Release date: end of Jan '07

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Subbuteo
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#2 Post by Subbuteo » Sun Nov 26, 2006 7:03 pm

Bloody Great News! :D
Love this little gem of a film, beautiful B/W photography... this has made my day!

Bikey
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#3 Post by Bikey » Tue Jan 09, 2007 5:21 pm

Release date has gone back to Feb 12th I'm afraid.

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What A Disgrace
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#4 Post by What A Disgrace » Wed Jan 10, 2007 9:34 am

When are we gonna get the full specs on this and the other releases?

Bikey
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#5 Post by Bikey » Wed Jan 24, 2007 6:25 am

Romeo, Juliet and Darkness
A film by Jiri Weiss
(Czechoslovakia / 1960)
Second Run DVD 028

1960 San Sebastian Film Festival / Winner Golden Seashell
1960 Taormina International Film Festival / Winner Grand Prix

A young man shelters a fugitive Jewish girl in the attic of his apartment building during the brutal 1942 Nazi occupation of Prague, becoming her only link to the outside world. Fear, anxiety and suspicion soon turn into gratitude and love. A poetic and beautifully-filmed drama which examines the consequences of their actions.

This is the first ever DVD release of this film.

- Digitally remastered with restored image and sound.
- New and improved English subtitle translation.
- Image gallery.
- Feature: 92mins
- OAR: 1:33 FF

This 1960 film has been digitally remastered and newly subtitled from the best source master available to us. However, due to the condition of the source masters, there remains visual 'noise' imperfections which could not be removed with affecting the integrity of the whole film.

** Though we have put this disclaimer on the sleeve the film actually looks pretty good for a piece of work that is 47 years old.

Bikey
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#6 Post by Bikey » Wed Jan 24, 2007 6:27 am

We are pushing hard for a Feb 12th release date.

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MichaelB
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#7 Post by MichaelB » Wed Feb 07, 2007 6:17 pm

The Second Run site now includes full coverage of this film.

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MichaelB
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#8 Post by MichaelB » Fri Feb 23, 2007 8:10 am

Bikey wrote:** Though we have put this disclaimer on the sleeve the film actually looks pretty good for a piece of work that is 47 years old.
I watched it last night, and agree with this. Although the definition is admittedly closer to VHS than DVD, and it was clearly sourced from analogue tape (there are unmistakable onscreen glitches betraying as much), it's all perfectly watchable and I found it very easy to tune out any problems, especially as the film itself is so engrossing. The aspect ratio is 4:3, which I believe to be the original - that's in line with the vast majority of other Czech films of the era, and there were no compositional eccentricities to indicate cropping.

I think the crucial point is that Second Run don't seem to have added any further problems when mastering it to DVD - there were no digital artefacting issues to speak of, and the subtitles are, as ever, clear, idiomatic, well-timed and removable. I can't help contrasting it with Facets' treatment of similar early-1960s Czech titles like Black Peter and Pearls of the Deep, where on top of poor source materials, they added a riot of digital noise and hideous, overlarge, typo-ridden, non-removable and (most damagingly) poorly-synchronised yellow subtitles - as a result turning something that was probably quite watchable (if scarcely state of the art) into a complete disaster area.

I'm also inclined to be nicer to Second Run because they've been honest enough to warn customers in advance - on both the website and the back of the box. And I really do sympathise with them re materials, as I've spent the past few months dealing with assorted Eastern European rightsholders myself, and know only too well what it feels like to be sent sub-standard masters and be told that there isn't anything better (or, to cite a genuine excuse I was given, that the original negative is "too fragile" to risk a fresh transfer, even if I was more than happy to pay for one). Even if you don't believe a word of it, if you're operating on tight budgets and deadlines, what can you do?

(Dare I suggest that this might also be why Criterion's Czech New Wave titles are less than stellar, at least in comparison with their usual standards? I haven't seen their Closely Watched Trains in ages, but I distinctly recall severe tramlining of a kind that could easily have been removed if they'd had access to 35mm originals and could wet-gate them during the telecine. And I notice their website merely says "new digital transfer", which suggests that the master originated elsewhere.)

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colinr0380
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#9 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Mar 08, 2007 4:28 pm


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MichaelB
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#10 Post by MichaelB » Sat Mar 10, 2007 9:20 am

That's a very good account of what I saw, and the screengrabs seem entirely fair.

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Morandi
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#11 Post by Morandi » Wed Mar 21, 2007 4:49 pm

my first comment! it should be positive!

i really like this movie, watched it some days ago, thanks to secondrun, and i was very pleased with the quality of this dvd. the screen captures at dvdtimes look worse than i've experienced the movie.

the movie itself is really a gem, calm, modest, very mature but still moving... and there are some (probably more than some) very lyrical (poetical), cinematic moments. there are not a lot of feature-movies about that time i would prefer (there are none of the last 20 years).

big thanks to secondrun

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Subbuteo
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#12 Post by Subbuteo » Wed Mar 21, 2007 6:15 pm

Yeah, I love this little gem of a film and was fortunate enough to see it in Prague in the early eighties. Rest assured folks this is worthy of your collection. The DVD is fine and a fitting addition to the Second Run canon.

Do yourself favour, order this with The Party and the Guests you won't be disappointed.

Bikey
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#13 Post by Bikey » Fri Mar 23, 2007 12:01 pm


Bikey
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#14 Post by Bikey » Wed Mar 28, 2007 12:08 pm

The latest MovieMail podcast by Graeme Hobbs is a lovely interpretation of Romeo, Juliet and Darkness twinned with Kalatozov's The Cranes are Flying.

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domino harvey
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#15 Post by domino harvey » Sat Aug 04, 2007 10:12 pm

I finally got around to seeing this film and I was shocked at how good it was. I guess I was expecting a "little gem" from this thread but to me, this stands among the best films ever made on the subject. Lyrical is right, and the constant stream of interesting events that keep happening just to the right of the expected kept the film moving at an incredibly inviting pace. One of the best blind buys I've ever made, kudos to Second Run for bringing this important film to light. =D>

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Person
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#16 Post by Person » Sun Aug 05, 2007 10:55 am

Jirí Weiss' 1947 film, The Stolen Frontier is available in the Czech Rep with english subs.

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MichaelB
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#17 Post by MichaelB » Sun Aug 05, 2007 11:08 am

I haven't seen this DVD, but the Filmexport Home Video label generally has pretty high standards.

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jbeall
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#18 Post by jbeall » Sun Feb 24, 2008 2:50 pm

I finally got around to watching Romeo..., and agree that it's a fantastic film. The classroom scenes were profoundly wrenching--I especially like the teacher, whose expression communicates exactly how he feels about having to submit to the Nazi occupation.

Also, even though I knew in advance what was going to happen (I read Alfred Thomas's The Bohemian Body about a month ago, which briefly discusses the film), the last three minutes of the film were terrific. Too bad the collaborator didn't get thrown over the ledge...

piano player
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Re: 28 Romeo, Juliet and Darkness

#19 Post by piano player » Sat Jan 31, 2009 7:00 am

I stand in awe. This one of the best films I've seen in a long time. I like how the entire movie is based on subtlety & simplicity, all the horrors of war, oppression & the holocaust are only hinted at from time to time, which makes the love story so much more realistic and engaging. Jirí Weiss knows his people, there is no real "character development", yet all the people in the film are real, such a simple thing as the grandfather sitting in the same place, working on his patent, is tremendously powerful, and I was not the least bit surprised when
SpoilerShow
he offered to shelter Hanka decpite the consequences.

The empathy was simply a part of his character to begin with. A great film of great simplicity and beauty. It is also clear to me that the dance in the attic must have inspired the scene from Tarkovskij's Ivanovo detstvo where Masha is dancing in the forest.

It's because of releases like these Second Run is a studio of great cultural importance.

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