Forthcoming: Hands Up!

Discuss DVDs released by Second Run DVD and the films on them.
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MichaelB
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Forthcoming: Hands Up!

#1 Post by MichaelB » Sat Feb 21, 2009 11:03 am

Announced in Second Run's ad in the Kinoteka programme - one of two confirmed Jerzy Skolimowski releases announced for 2009 along with Barrier (Bariera, 1966)

No idea about extras etc, but Second Run is well aware of the Polish release's shortcomings in the subtitle department - so even if they're forced to use the same transfer, it should still be a substantial improvement.

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MichaelB
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Re: Hands Up! (Ręce do góry)

#2 Post by MichaelB » Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:14 am

I finally caught up with this over the weekend - it didn't blow me away quite as much as Barrier, though it was towards the end of a Skolimowski marathon so the element of surprise might have been less effective.

One thing that immediately struck me was that the 1981 opening now seems just as removed and otherworldly as the 1967 material - if not more so, since the allegorical nature of the original film has paradoxically ensured that it's dated less than the additional material. Skolimowski said that he added a prologue because he was concerned that the film might no longer make sense (it was banned and shelved in 1967, and only disinterred in the cultural thaw of early 1981), though this now needs as much interpretation as the original. (I wonder if the original 1967 cut still survives? Was it ever screened in public?)

It's much more concentrated and focused than its three predecessors - once the Beirut/London/Poland prologue is out of the way, virtually the entire film takes place in a sealed freight wagon travelling God knows where (the parallels with transportation to concentration camps are certainly intended) and inhabited by four men and one woman whose reunion is progressing along unexpected paths. The restricted location doesn't in any way inhibit Skolimowski from pulling off visual magic on a regular basis (the shots of hundreds of candles are particularly effective), and the flashback with the four-eyed Stalin (in a literal rather than euphemistic sense) is genuinely chilling - did Stalin's face turn up that much in 1960s Polish films?

The Polish DVD is in much better condition than Barrier - I doubt too many people would mind if Second Run simply licensed that and cleaned up the subtitles. Which may well be what happens.

titanium
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Re: Hands Up! (Ręce do góry)

#3 Post by titanium » Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:06 pm

MichaelB wrote:I wonder if the original 1967 cut still survives? Was it ever screened in public?
Yes it does! It runs 68 minutes long. Basically, to shorten the 1967 huis-clos to 55 minutes in the 1981 version, JS didn't delete any complete scene (except an incredibly bitter dialog ending scene between JS ans Joanna Sczerbic), but cut little fragments all along the way.

I must admit i do prefer the 1967 version because the allegory of the 1981 prologue is somewhat too obvious. The 1967 and 1981 are alternatively screened regularly on polish TV. The 1967 version is rarely (but sometimes) screened in international retrospectives

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MichaelB
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Re: Hands Up! (Ręce do góry)

#4 Post by MichaelB » Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:07 pm

Thanks for that - that's very useful. I wonder if Second Run is planning to include both versions?

(There's certainly plenty of room - the combined running time is less than two and a half hours, so it'll easily fit on one disc)

titanium
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Re: Hands Up! (Ręce do góry)

#5 Post by titanium » Tue Mar 17, 2009 3:10 pm

1981 version: In addition, these red and green tints on the 1967 material are, imho, awful.

Note: this is the film where the parallel with his paintings is the most obvious

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Re: Hands Up! (Ręce do góry)

#6 Post by multivitamin » Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:15 am

I'd love to see the original 68 minutes version. been a huge fan of "hands up" since i bought kino polska box with skolimowski's early polish masterpieces.

do you know that the movie was supposed to get grand prix at the venice festival but was withdrawn from the competition because of intervention made by some top people from the ministry of culture of poland?

skolimowski still reckons it's his best one. zulawski thinks that's (skolimowski's) the only one that is good :D

(if i have to chose) i'm still not sure which one is better (hands up or barrier). both totally unique and mesmerizing

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