Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol. 5

The scuttlebutt on Criterion, Eclipse, and Janus Films. Lists and polls are STRONGLY discouraged.
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Ashirg
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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#1601 Post by Ashirg » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:04 pm

They can do it high def...

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Tyler Michael
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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#1602 Post by Tyler Michael » Thu Jul 18, 2013 5:35 am

Inserting a slightly derailing post just because I think this is the only place to really ask about this, but are there any structural limits on Criterion preventing Blu releases of Do the Right Thing, Jeanne Dielman, or Man Bites Dog? The DVDs late at night at friends' houses introduced me to the collection and by extension to a lot of the "art cinema" I currently consume.

Also, definitely late to discussing this, but after Roger Ebert's death, I noticed that a lot of his regularly cited favorite films that weren't really big obvious money makers (see: Kane, et al) for their current DVD/Blu distributors were released by Criterion as DVDs and could make wonderful blu rays: Tokyo Story, Ikiru, and Hoop Dreams stood out for me.

As for a topical response, I know I have a lot of friends who would pick up La dolce vita in a heartbeat, myself included.

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Matt
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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#1603 Post by Matt » Thu Jul 18, 2013 12:00 pm

Many of these questions are answered previously in this thread or elsewhere on the forum, but I understand it's a little hard to go back and find them through the constant flow of posts. Like taking a sip of water from a fire hose.

Hoop Dreams was shot in SD video, so there would be little to no visible improvement in an upgrade to BD.

All of the other titles you mentioned are still in print on DVD, so there are no rights issues preventing Criterion from upgrading them to BD, if that's what you mean by "structural limits." What limits Criterion from putting existing DVD masters on BD is that those masters are just not good enough for viewing in 1080p high definition. Tokyo Story has just been released on BD in Japan, a new transfer from a 4K scan, so it follows that Criterion should be releasing an upgrade within the next couple of years (they don't seem to be in any hurry to upgrade their Ozu titles - only 1 so far in the BD era). Like that film, upgrades of some of the other titles you mention will depend on someone else besides Criterion doing a new 2K or 4K scan of the film, so it's out of their control.

chris.norman
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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#1604 Post by chris.norman » Thu Jul 18, 2013 12:17 pm

Tyler Michael wrote:Inserting a slightly derailing post just because I think this is the only place to really ask about this, but are there any structural limits on Criterion preventing Blu releases of Do the Right Thing, Jeanne Dielman, or Man Bites Dog? The DVDs late at night at friends' houses introduced me to the collection and by extension to a lot of the "art cinema" I currently consume.
Man Bites Dog has been released on Blu-Ray in Germany (and France), see http://www.arthaus.de/mann_beisst_hund- ... on-blu-ray" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;. So that might be a distinct possibility for an upgrade.

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LightBulbFilm
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Lezione di Cinema: The History of The Criterion Collection

#1605 Post by LightBulbFilm » Thu Jul 18, 2013 9:18 pm

Hey guys, been awhile since I've posted. Nonetheless, a colleague of mine went to Italy recently for a 12 day study abroad program. He came back and showed me the following video of one of the events he attended for school. Featuring Jonathan Turrel & Peter Becker. Please excuse me if this is a re-post.

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Moe Dickstein
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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#1606 Post by Moe Dickstein » Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:50 pm

Then it comes down to if the title is a great, good, decent or poor seller... wouldn't make sense to do a big upgrade for one of the latter, even if they had materials available.

So don't look for that Border Radio or Bergman Island blu anytime soon.

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domino harvey
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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#1607 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:52 pm


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Moe Dickstein
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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#1608 Post by Moe Dickstein » Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:04 pm

is it in HD there or upscaled? I was more referring to a Blu release off the stand-alone spine...

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jwd5275
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Re: Lezione di Cinema: The History of The Criterion Collecti

#1609 Post by jwd5275 » Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:10 pm

Near the 50 minute mark Peter Becker confirms Sundays and Cybele, Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion and a third film I couldn't make out...

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swo17
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Re: Lezione di Cinema: The History of The Criterion Collecti

#1610 Post by swo17 » Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:15 pm

La vérité

They also confirmed that the Tatis are coming back in print, in case there was still any question about that.

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Jeff
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Re: Lezione di Cinema: The History of The Criterion Collecti

#1611 Post by Jeff » Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:19 pm

You guys beat me to posting about La vérité, Sundays and Cybele, and Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, so I'll simply point out that Turell looks like Huey Lewis now.

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jindianajonz
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Re: Lezione di Cinema: The History of The Criterion Collecti

#1612 Post by jindianajonz » Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:22 pm

That was really excellent, thanks for posting. They also confirmed that they now have deals with every major American studio, so it looks like there will be more from Warner if that was still in doubt

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Minkin
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Re: Lezione di Cinema: The History of The Criterion Collecti

#1613 Post by Minkin » Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:25 pm

swo17 wrote:La vérité
I thought you meant this Varieté at first, and nearly had a simultaneous heart attack/stroke/backflip. But the Clouzot film will do too.

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Re: Lezione di Cinema: The History of The Criterion Collecti

#1614 Post by rrenault » Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:23 am

LightBulbFilm wrote:Hey guys, been awhile since I've posted. Nonetheless, a colleague of mine went to Italy recently for a 12 day study abroad program. He came back and showed me the following video of one of the events he attended for school. Featuring Jonathan Turrel & Peter Becker. Please excuse me if this is a re-post.
So is the implication that they might strike a deal 5-6 years that'll get them some of their Studio Canal titles back, seeing as Becker said they "usually" manage renew the rights for their OOP titles?

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#1615 Post by matrixschmatrix » Fri Jul 19, 2013 9:23 am

I think the implication is that they won't stop trying, but it's not really up to them when or if it happens.

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Re: Lezione di Cinema: The History of The Criterion Collecti

#1616 Post by bamwc2 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:20 pm

jwd5275 wrote:Near the 50 minute mark Peter Becker confirms Sundays and Cybele...
Outstanding news! Hopefully a wider availability will translate into more than two votes for it on the next 60s list.

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dwk
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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#1617 Post by dwk » Fri Jul 19, 2013 7:46 pm

Found two more artists that are drawing Zatoichi. I'm pretty sure neither one has done work for Criterion, and the only connection I can find is that Eric Skillman follows them on twitter. So these may not be for Criterion (and I'm not sure the first guy's style would work for cover art.)

Andrew MacLean ‏@Andrew_MacLean
Tis is today's "work": Watch Zatoichi #22: Zatoichi Meets The One-Armed Swordsman (1971)... God I love this job.
Image

Ricardo Venâncio ‏@PressV's first tweet
Photo: Ambushing the blind masseur… #Zatoichi #ShintaroKatsu #drawing #process http://tmblr.co/Zci4txq20rL5" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Image

@PressV's 2nd tweet
I think this is the actual first time I'm using real black when coloring a pencilled piece. Let's see how it works out... #Zatoichi

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Minkin
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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#1618 Post by Minkin » Fri Jul 19, 2013 7:56 pm

Jeeze, it sounds like they are commissioning a different artist for every movie.

Whatever happens, this thing sounds expensive/amazing.

Edit: Looks like Andrew MacLean is working on #7 (Zatoichi's Flashing Sword)

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Shrew
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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#1619 Post by Shrew » Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:28 pm

I wonder if they'll do a special dedicated line like they did for Merchant/Ivory? Maybe with 2-3 films on each Blu-ray/double DVD?

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domino harvey
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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#1620 Post by domino harvey » Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:34 pm

If there's individual art we can at least hope that it won't be stuck in a stupid art book with fucking slots, right

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Moe Dickstein
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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#1621 Post by Moe Dickstein » Fri Jul 19, 2013 11:22 pm

Unless the art is for the pages of the book with the slots...

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domino harvey
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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#1622 Post by domino harvey » Fri Jul 19, 2013 11:42 pm

Don't you dare

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dwk
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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#1623 Post by dwk » Sat Jul 20, 2013 12:32 am

If all these Zatoichi drawing are for Criterion, the inclusion of Zatoichi #22: Zatoichi Meets The One-Armed Swordsman means that Criterion has picked up the seven titles that AnimEigo had. Hopefully they've also picked up the Katsu produced Lone Wolf and Cub movies (AnimEigo is losing the rights sometime this year).

Has anyone seen John Nathan's The Blind Swordsman (1978), an hour long documentary focusing on Shintaro Katsu? I've found this interview with Nathan in which he talks about the film and Katsu and, even though I think it covers Katsu directing the television show, it might make a good extra.
The third documentary in the "Japanese trilogy" — a fair departure from the first two in terms of the scale of subject. You move from these two families to Shintaro Katsu, the famed movie star, Zatoichi.

You're certainly right to say the Katsu film was very different from the other two. Japan has its own gangster, Frank Sinatra, Las Vegas mix of stuff. I thought to myself, "Who's the most virulent character that I know that crosses these world?" I came up, of course, with the most vulgar, the most violent — also talented, in his way, of course — and that's how I chose the movie start Shintaro Katsu.

I went to Kyoto to see him. He was directing himself in those days, in this ongoing series of movies about the blind swordsman. I went with a print of Full Moon Lunch, which he asked me to show him. I thought, "Oh my god, he's going to see this very banal — from his point of view — ordinary thing, and he won't like it," but in fact he did like it, so I made this movie.

It's in many ways the least good of the films, because I was not clear enough that I wanted to be like him, somehow, as I made the film. In fact, I did transform: my voice got deeper, I drank more heavily, I ordered people around. I emulated his style. There's not enough explanation or distance. There's too much homage and too little critical portraiture.

But my purpose was to shock American audiences into the realization that this aspect of Japanese life also existed. When I showed these films to one of my major benefactors in New York, the executive director of the Luce Foundation, she rose after about fifteen minutes into the Katsu film and walked out of the theater, which was very embarrassing and awkward.

What offended her about that?

Katsu has offended particularly female audiences; he's a very vulgar, rude, crude, violent guy, with some extremely refined elements as well underneath the surface. Many Japanese were offended. They would say, "How dare you title a trilogy 'The Japanese' and include a vulgarian like Katsu as though he's representative of the Japanese?", which is a point that I, today, of course understand. In those days, I was extremely defensive about that.

Was Katsu thought of in Japan as a vulgarian widely, or was that more of a revelation to Japanese audiences? Was he known as what you showed him as?

When you think of the Rat Pack, that's the way the Japanese related to Katsu, and that's the kind of image that he labored, very successfully, to convey and project.

I guess I should be clear on what the reaction was to your documentary. You describe a few negative reactions in the book, but you also describe the positive reactions as well. Who was it that liked it? Who was it that disliked it?

I don't really know much about "Japanese" reaction to the film, because these films have only been shown in a very limited way in Japan since they were made many years ago. Interestingly, as far as Katsu himself is concerned, I thought that Katsu liked this film. I remember him having said things like, "I've discovered myself in here, and I'm a pretty likable guy," My dear friend Donald Ritchie, in his memoir, describes sitting around talking to Katsu and saying, "I knew Katsu hated Nathan's film." I assume that was probably the truth, because it reveals aspects of himself that he didn't like, maybe, I don't know.

Here, the film was critically rather well received. I think the Christian Science Monitor called it "a ribald adventure in personality" and so on. There are some people who enjoyed it. I think it's not nearly as good a film as the other two. There's not enough explanation, and as I say, it's too identified with its subject. There were a lot of audiences, particularly in the academy, who were offended by this picture. It's not as though they had to insist that everything be the moon shining on the lake and cherry blossoms and so on, but this went too far.

I was reveling in how over-the-top it was at the time, with my necklace I wore and my three packs of cigarettes a day habit, my rough voice, my big hands, the whole thing. I thought that was just great and very groovy, but a lot of people didn't.

What was it like keeping up with Katsu's entourage when you had to film this thing?

It was murder. It was very hard. First of all, the crew that I was working with, with whom I was very close by this time because we'd already done two other films together, were terrified to be working in Kyoto. As they told me and as my production manager told me, the Kyoto filmmakers were gangsters themselves, and since we were going to be filming a film, if we got in their way... everybody was very uneasy.

As it turned out, nothing like that happened. Everything went fine. Katsu would go out all night and charter bars and geisha clubs and kick everybody out and party. He could do this day after day after day and go straight to the set, having consumed god knows how much vodka and brandy. Nobody else could do it. We had several people in the hospital in the course of the month we spent following him around. People were just dropping like flies.

We had to be on call for all of this, hoping as I did to capture some of this stuff. Nothing a filmmaker hates worse, a Japanese filmmaker in particular — at the end of the day, a Japanese filmmaker goes home, takes a hot bath, and sits there and plays mah-jongg with some cigarettes and some brandy and some whiskey. They do not like to stand around all night waiting to go out to a bar. I had a lot of difficulty managing my own crew.

You had this quote from him in the book. He says, "In Japan, you cannot win." What did he mean?

A lot of what Katsu said was spoken through a haze of alcohol and drug-induced delusion. It's a little hard for me to tell you exactly what he meant. He was just saying, I think, "You seem to be carrying on here as though you belonged, but no foreigner ever really belongs here." I took it in a very different way than that, but it hit me very hard.

My whispered answer to myself was, "I think he hit it right on the head. I'm outta here." Shortly after that, I did leave Japan for a number of years, looking to put it behind me because I felt that the pet monkey kind of attention that I was earning for myself wasn't genuine, and wasn't going to satisfy my insatiable desire to feel special.

What do you think was motivating him during his life? What was he going after?

This is a very complex guy. Remember that he was the eldest son of a great shamisen master who was the founder of his own shamisen school, so Katsu had been raised as a musician, and a very good one, on this instrument, and was expected by the family to take over this very lucrative, wealthy empire that his father had built. Interestingly, Teshigahara, the director, was in exactly the same place, except more even grandly, because his father was the head of the school, the Sogetsu Flower. For that reason, Katsu and Teshigahara had a very close bond.

He begins that way, and undoubtedly has some very inflated expectations about himself as an artist. Then he meets James Dean in America and decides — god knows why — "I want to be a movie star." So he tries that for a while, it doesn't work, then he becomes Zatoichi and becomes a bigshot and a super-duper movie star, but in a very limited sort of way.

You know, I would say that Katsu, who was very talented in many ways, was very lacking, ultimately, in clear, long-term vision. His indulgence in drugs and ad alcohol and everything else may have made it very difficult for him. I think he was very unmoored. My principal evidence is that he had an opportunity to star in a Kurosawa film, which would've been an amazingly wonderful thing for him. Kurosawa had actually cast him as the lead in The Shadow Warriors, as it's known in English. On the first day of the shoot, Katsu shows up on Kurosawa's set with his own documentary team. Kurosawa asks, "What's this?" He says, "Well, I'm going to make a film school, and I want to shoot myself working for you." Whereupon Kurosawa immediately fires him and hires [Tatsuya] Nakadai.

Now, any moron would have know that you do not go to Akira Kurosawa's set with your own film crew and tell him that you're going to do something. That's just not the way it works. This was the Emperor; he was known in Japan as "the Emperor." I think Katsu did himself a terrible, career-damaging disservice, because he was a good actor — at least, he might have been. In Kurosawa's hands, who knows what kind of a performance he might have given. After all, Toshiro Mifune is horrible in any movie but a Kurosawa movie. That's partial evidence that a great director really does control and create a great actor, to some extent.

If you'd asked Katsu — I mean, he had a very arrogant, inflated vision of himself, but ultimately he was a very sad man, and he met a very unfortunate end in bankruptcy and drug illness and all kinds of other stuff.

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jwd5275
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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#1624 Post by jwd5275 » Sat Jul 20, 2013 1:53 am

dwk wrote:If all these Zatoichi drawing are for Criterion, the inclusion of Zatoichi #22: Zatoichi Meets The One-Armed Swordsman means that Criterion has picked up the seven titles that AnimEigo had. Hopefully they've also picked up the Katsu produced Lone Wolf and Cub movies (AnimEigo is losing the rights sometime this year).
I have always speculated that the reason many Animeigo films go out of print is that Janus has picked up the rights, especially in regards to the Zatoichis and films by directors like Imamura, Ichikawa, Inagaki and Okamoto.

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The Elegant Dandy Fop
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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#1625 Post by The Elegant Dandy Fop » Sat Jul 20, 2013 3:49 am

Thank you for that, dwk! I had no clue Johnathan Nathan made a film about Shintaro Katsu. I hope it's something Criterion would consider releasing with one of the features. If his skill as a documentarian is as good as his skill as a writer, then I'm sure it's a fantastic portrait.

Shintaro Katsu was an incredibly controversial figure who had problems working for people, including his famous problem on the set of Kagemusha and his ongoing coke addiction.

That's not to say he wasn't talented, though. With Zatoichi, he sculpted one of the greatest and most iconic symbols of Japanese cinema. And in each film, you learn more about Zatoich's personality until he ends up surprisingly being a complex character. I haven't seen the television show, so I can't speak about how that portrays him, but it's interesting what a series going on for nearly thirty years can do for one character.

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