Essential Art House: Kapò

Discuss DVDs released in the Eclipse and Essential Art House lines and the films on them.
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Matt
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 pm

Essential Art House: Kapò

#1 Post by Matt » Fri Jan 15, 2010 3:25 pm

Kapò

[img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/release_images/2638/EAH5_Kapo_Box_348x490_w128.jpg[/img]

Before he left his mark on cinema forever with The Battle of Algiers, Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo directed this uncompromising World War II drama about a young Jewish woman (Susan Strasberg) in a Nazi concentration camp who saves herself from death by assuming another’s identity and becoming a ruthless warden. The Oscar-nominated Kapò was one of the first films to depict the horror of the Holocaust, and it does so with brutality and daring emotional complexity.

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kaujot
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Re: Essential Art House: Kapò

#2 Post by kaujot » Fri Jan 15, 2010 4:48 pm

This has been in the "Forthcoming" list for ages. Glad to see it's finally going to be released, even if on EAH. Algiers was my first taste of Pontecorvo, and he certainly left me wanting more.

Anyone here seen it?

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Napier
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Re: Essential Art House: Kapò

#3 Post by Napier » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:06 pm

kaujot wrote: Anyone here seen it?
Yes, and it belongs in the main line, along with Burn.

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Oedipax
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Re: Essential Art House: Kapò

#4 Post by Oedipax » Fri Jan 15, 2010 6:40 pm

A shame this won't have a Serge Daney / Jacques Rivette extra called That Darn Tracking Shot!

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TMDaines
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Re: Essential Art House: Kapò

#5 Post by TMDaines » Fri Jan 15, 2010 8:33 pm

I'm going to pick up the Dolmen/Cristaldi release when I'm in Italy this year: Review. This definitely should have been main line, especially when the extras are already there.

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HerrSchreck
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Re: Essential Art House: Kapò

#6 Post by HerrSchreck » Fri Jan 15, 2010 8:36 pm

Pontecorvo on the Dump Line, Ang Lee on the main?

(Waiter! Double Ibuprofen with an espresso trippio chaser!)

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Highway 61
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Re: Essential Art House: Kapò

#7 Post by Highway 61 » Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:21 pm

HerrSchreck wrote:Pontecorvo on the Dump Line, Ang Lee on the main?

(Waiter! Double Ibuprofen with an espresso trippio chaser!)
Make it two, s'il vous plaît.

hangman
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Re: Essential Art House: Kapò

#8 Post by hangman » Sat Jan 16, 2010 5:12 am

Been wanting to see this for a long time, ever since I read Serge Daney's piece on Kapo's tracking shot. Happy as I am to finally get the chance to see Kapo but I do think its a waste that its not on the main line. Oh well at least the film will be available.

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Jean-Luc Garbo
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Re: Essential Art House: Kapò

#9 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Sat Jan 16, 2010 10:57 am

Highway 61 wrote:
HerrSchreck wrote:Pontecorvo on the Dump Line, Ang Lee on the main?

(Waiter! Double Ibuprofen with an espresso trippio chaser!)
Make it two, s'il vous plaît.
I'm with you guys. Once I get my copy of War Trilogy, I'll write to CC thanking them for the Rosellini release but noting my disappointment viz Kapo. Just to do one better than Ride with the Devil, I think it's crazy that The Night Porter is mainline while Kapo is EAH. The Night Porter's notoriety aside, Kapo on the mainline would be much better considering the care that CC has taken for other historical films such as Che, Battle of Algiers, and War Trilogy (Rosellini and Wajda). Because of the extras on these films, one could easily use these releases in class rooms and term papers as well as personal libraries for those of us who are history buffs. Granted, Night Porter is barebones, but what makes it "worthier" than Kapo? What makes Ride with the Devil "worthier" than Kapo? As they've done with other films including Pontecorvo's own Algiers, CC could do so much better with Kapo. Sorry to indulge again in "Why can't Criterion release what I want?" but I find this a valid point of interrogation given my reasons here and CC's deliberate release of this on EAH. This won't stop me from buying it for myself or others or even recommending the EAH edition to friends and teachers, but it also won't stop me from expressing my disappointment with this edition.

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fiddlesticks
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Re: Essential Art House: Kapò

#10 Post by fiddlesticks » Sat Jan 16, 2010 1:53 pm

To express a contrary viewpoint, this title will most likely be the only one from this month that I will buy, and that is largely because it is in the EAH line. In my penury, I have to pick and choose my purchases wisely, and it's always a thrill to see a very appealing title like Kapò show up in a more-affordable version. I love EAH.

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HerrSchreck
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Re: Essential Art House: Kapò

#11 Post by HerrSchreck » Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:55 pm

So you're always just a little disappointed when a great title comes out on CC?

(Hee hee.. sorry-- it was such a soft, slow pitch. Hadta swing.)

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perkizitore
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Re: Essential Art House: Kapò

#12 Post by perkizitore » Sat Jan 16, 2010 5:15 pm

If they didn't find any worthy extras, why should they put it on the main line? In the same fashion, i like that Pygmalion now is EAH only.

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fiddlesticks
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Re: Essential Art House: Kapò

#13 Post by fiddlesticks » Sat Jan 16, 2010 6:01 pm

HerrSchreck wrote:So you're always just a little disappointed when a great title comes out on CC?

(Hee hee.. sorry-- it was such a soft, slow pitch. Hadta swing.)
Well, uh... 8-[ ...sorta, yes. You see, most of the time, I don't care about the extras. Or maybe I should say, I don't think the extras are usually worth $10 or whatever they end up adding to the purchase price. There's exceptions, of course, but if what I care about is the feature itself, and it's in good condition, I'd rather it end up in Eclipse or EAH than the main line.

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Jean-Luc Garbo
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Re: Essential Art House: Kapò

#14 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Sat Jan 16, 2010 6:15 pm

perkizitore wrote:If they didn't find any worthy extras, why should they put it on the main line?
Good question, but if the Dolmen/Cristaldi release found good extras for their edition of the film then I'd expect that CC could do the same.

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Tommaso
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Re: Essential Art House: Kapò

#15 Post by Tommaso » Sun Jan 17, 2010 8:15 am

And even if you can't find any extras in the narrow sense, you can always find some scholar to write a hefty, MoC-style booklet or do an audiocommentary. There's absolutely no excuse for treating a film like this or "Mayerling" in the barebones-style, even if the disc is cheap. Contextualization is almost mandatory for those old and not too well known films to make their importance visible to people outside a specialist circle.

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perkizitore
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Re: Essential Art House: Kapò

#16 Post by perkizitore » Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:34 am

I agree, but Criterion aren't doing huge booklets often, do they? Also, you wouldn't like to pay 8$ more only for watching a professor speaking 10 minutes, would you?
The only bad thing about Kapo being in EAH, is that the picture quality hasn't got the meticulous care that mainline titles receive.

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TMDaines
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Re: Essential Art House: Kapò

#17 Post by TMDaines » Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:49 am

perkizitore wrote:I agree, but Criterion aren't doing huge booklets often, do they? Also, you wouldn't like to pay 8$ more only for watching a professor speaking 10 minutes, would you?
The only bad thing about Kapo being in EAH, is that the picture quality hasn't got the meticulous care that mainline titles receive.
The picture has already been restored though for the Cristaldi/Dolmen release.

It's the small things like the consistantly fantastic booklets you get with MoC releases that make them my favourite DVD label by far.

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zedz
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Re: Essential Art House: Kapò

#18 Post by zedz » Sun Jan 17, 2010 3:09 pm

Jean-Luc Garbo wrote:I think it's crazy that The Night Porter is mainline while Kapo is EAH.
But isn't this the wrong example to use, since The Night Porter is barebones and thus identical in features to Kapo? The only difference is an inflated price tag, unless the vanity thing means that much to you.

Actually, I'd be very happy if EAH turns into a US Second Run. I expect that the choice was not between Mayerling and Kapo as no-frills discs or as double disc deluxe editions with commentaries and interviews and lavish booklets, but between Mayerling and Kapo as no-frills discs or not at all. A few years ago, Criterion would be putting them out in a nearly identical edition at twice the price.

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perkizitore
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Re: Essential Art House: Kapò

#19 Post by perkizitore » Sun Jan 17, 2010 3:54 pm

The Italian DVD has some extras though.

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Jean-Luc Garbo
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Re: Essential Art House: Kapò

#20 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Sun Jan 17, 2010 3:57 pm

Zedz, I'm aware that both releases are barebones - I noted that in my initial post - but the question is why does one get zip in terms of extras in spite of being the "better" film? As I said, other films like Che and Algiers get some historical context content so why not Kapo? I won't boycott the film, but lack of extras perplexes me. Let me disagree here as Second Run often includes interviews and an essay in their releases. I myself don't need frills for Kapo, but it's a film that could certainly benefit from some frills.

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knives
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Re: Essential Art House: Kapò

#21 Post by knives » Sun Jan 17, 2010 4:14 pm

Admittedly I only have two early EAH releases, but to my knowledge all of them came with a small essay.

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Cronenfly
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Re: Essential Art House: Kapò

#22 Post by Cronenfly » Sun Jan 17, 2010 4:43 pm

For anyone who owns the Cristaldifilm edition: as far as I can gather the film itself has English subs (as well as including an alternate English audio track), but do the extras?

As well, I hope the 1.33:1 AR posted on the Criterion page is wrong, as Scharphedin's caps from the Cristaldi release here seem to suggest 1.66:1 is the correct ratio (as does IMDB, for whatever that's worth).

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TMDaines
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Re: Essential Art House: Kapò

#23 Post by TMDaines » Sun Jan 17, 2010 5:08 pm

Cronenfly wrote:For anyone who owns the Cristaldifilm edition: as far as I can gather the film itself has English subs (as well as including an alternate English audio track), but do the extras?
Almost certainly not as I've borrowed a couple of their other releases from a language resource centre at uni and they didn't.

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Tommaso
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Re: Essential Art House: Kapò

#24 Post by Tommaso » Sun Jan 17, 2010 7:38 pm

knives wrote:Admittedly I only have two early EAH releases, but to my knowledge all of them came with a small essay.
My only EAH release is "Mayerling", and yes, it has some rather superficial notes; but I wouldn't call it a small essay, it's more along the lines of the Eclipse notes for each film. Some sort of extended liner notes.

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HerrSchreck
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Re: Essential Art House: Kapò

#25 Post by HerrSchreck » Sun Jan 17, 2010 7:45 pm

zedz wrote:I expect that the choice was not between Mayerling and Kapo as no-frills discs or as double disc deluxe editions with commentaries and interviews and lavish booklets, but between Mayerling and Kapo as no-frills discs or not at all.
Based on what?

You also can't really say that you know that if these two films were release a couple years ago, they would have come out in barebones editions. Another could turn around and say "if these were released a couple years ago, they would have been 2 disc special editions with a booklet and extras." It's wheedling speculation.

It's quite apparent that something is driving them to put these excellent films on the dump line, and Ride With The Devil on the highline. The idea here is not the identification of that 'something'-- wa la, it's the economics of arthouse in these changing times-- but knowing that I don't know that the best message is "I think the trend away from extras for these kinds of films is fabulous and welcome."

That said, sure it's kinda nice they're finding a way to at least get the films themselves out somehow. Though vs the R2 situation, it's not much to write home about.

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