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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 8:24 pm 
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Yup I agree with Schreck. It's disappointing but with looking at what Criterion has done in the past it isn't as if there isn't a precedent. It's a shame they "waste" time on certain titles (that they know are more money spinners) then won't go to the bother of a proper release on this one, but money talks after all. Ultimately it's a "sacrifice" worth making when we get the titles more of us would like in high quality condition further down the line.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:01 pm 
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HerrSchreck wrote:
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.

Well, obviously it's speculation, but the mere fact that Criterion is releasing these as EAH titles suggests that these films aren't their top priorities. It could be that there aren't worthwhile extras for the taking, or the transfers aren't up to scratch, or the prospective sales are too low. I'd argue the point with Kapo, which I reckon could have sustained a higher profile (if only for its connection to the big arthouse deal of Battle of Algiers), but I don't think we'd ever have seen a deluxe edition of Mayerling or Gervaise - from Criterion or anybody. They've released plenty of bare bones, or near as dammit, titles in the past, but the difference then was that they charged through the nose for them.

Obviously somebody at Criterion has made the call - rightly or wrongly and for whatever reason - that Kapo's potential market doesn't justify the additional expense of a full-blown main line edition. With Criterion's current business model, films with available extras go into the main line, films without extras but with related films go into Eclipse, and EAH is the only venue for releasing films with neither extras nor friends. So I'm glad that they're using this line to release titles that they would otherwise just sit on, when they could easily have continued to issue only budget versions of existing titles.

The positives for me are:
a) the films coming out at all;
b) the cheaper MSRP;
c) the lack of impact on the mainline releases - these titles are in addition to a full month's slate, not instead of.

Not that I won't howl if / when they 'short change' some film I feel strongly about. Actually, if the forthcoming Oshima Eclipse set includes something like Night and Fog in Japan - a very dense and difficult film which would only have a page of liner notes to support it - I'd say they were shooting themselves in the foot.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:19 pm 
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HerrSchreck wrote:
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.


I think the simultaneous announcement of this and Ride With the Devil and Summer Hours is a perfect point to note that Criterion is simply changing. By brokering the deals with IFC and pursuing more contemporary fare, they are limiting the windows/available spots that films like Kapo would have taken in earlier times. Comparing this to Night Porter is thus specious for two reasons: 8 years ago they didn't have Eclipse or EAH nor did they have the agreements to put out new stuff....both of which are the reasons Mayerling, Kapo, etc are getting "dumped" on EAH.

I too would MUCH rather have a 2 disc extravaganza for this film rather than either Ride or Summer Hours...but they gotta make money too, so I'll just be happy we're getting it at all.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:28 pm 
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zedz wrote:
Not that I won't howl if / when they 'short change' some film I feel strongly about.

zedz, I hope you will be able to keep your cool when they eventually relegate A Brighter Summer Day to their new ultra-budget line "Inessential Art House." :P


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:41 pm 
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swo17 wrote:
zedz wrote:
Not that I won't howl if / when they 'short change' some film I feel strongly about.

zedz, I hope you will be able to keep your cool when they eventually relegate A Brighter Summer Day to their new ultra-budget line "Inessential Art House." :P

Only released in a digital copy.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 12:00 am 
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HistoryProf wrote:
8 years ago they didn't have ... the agreements to put out new stuff....the reason(s) Mayerling, Kapo, etc are getting "dumped" on EAH.


That's simply not true. They've been releasing new stuff since the LD days. The first 20 spine numbers on DVD have 7 or 8 titles from after 1970.

zedz wrote:
With Criterion's current business model, films with available extras go into the main line, films without extras but with related films go into Eclipse, and EAH is the only venue for releasing films with neither extras nor friends.


Again, that's speculation as well. I think the truth is more along the lines of the Prof: the line is changing via active decisions, not the whims of the Extras Gods. Whether or not a title has friends or extras is not entirely an external circumstance beyond their control-- it's up to them to decide whether or not they want to include them (and I'm sure many scholars are available on the cheap)-- so saying The line in which a film lands is tied to whether or not a film has extras is a little like saying "Whether or not I go out today depends on whether or not I happen to find myself wearing clothes."

And I really do wonder if the increase in newish titles is making them more money-- less out of schadenfreude than out of genuine curiosity... I know I'm not the only one wondering this. I hope they are.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 1:04 am 
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HerrSchreck wrote:
HistoryProf wrote:
8 years ago they didn't have ... the agreements to put out new stuff....the reason(s) Mayerling, Kapo, etc are getting "dumped" on EAH.


That's simply not true. They've been releasing new stuff since the LD days. The first 20 spine numbers on DVD have 7 or 8 titles from after 1970.


well of course, but they certainly hadn't made such a commitment to NEW RELEASES by signing a contract with a company to handle a dozen NEW films. ADDING the IFC stuff - Like Summer Hours - to the longstanding tradition of 'rescuing' more recent under-appreciated fare - like Ride With the Devil - severely limits the spaces for the classics that have long been their reason for being. Given that they release around 50 films a year on the main line, bumping Kapo up would make 5 for April...a high number for them. I just think having the EAH line along with Eclipse allows them to release more while continuing their traditional CC output while also accommodating contracts with a growing number of labels - commitments that did not exist 8 years ago when Night Porter was released - which was the original point I was making...i.e. it's specious to compare that with Kapo as if the landscapes were the same...it's an entirely different field of play today, as Criterion has gained footholds in many major studio vaults along with the indies and foreign lifeblood.

I think we can all agree there's just too much out there needing a release, it would be impossible for Criterion to give em all the full on restoration treatment. given that Kapo apparently came to them restored already made it an easy one to put in EAH and call it good. It will be the first one I pre-order from the line, I can say that much.

I also have to wonder if their now pattern of putting one previously unavailable film in each set is a bit of a ploy to garner sales for the line and justify its existence. Who knows, maybe an investor is testy about the 3rd line and needs to see certain numbers to rationalize it. :shrug:


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 1:51 am 
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HistoryProf wrote:
certainly hadn't made such a commitment to NEW RELEASES by signing a contract with a company to handle a dozen NEW films.

They had a Miramax deal similar to the current IFC one. Between 1995 and 1997 they released that studio's Supercop, Sonatine, Chungking Express, Pulp Fiction, Trainspotting, The English Patient, Evita, Sling Blade and Chasing Amy. They released big chunks of New Line's new releases too. 32 of their final 50 laserdisc releases were films from the 80s and 90s.

While it can certainly be stated that Criterion seems more interested in very contemporary material now than they have since the laserdisc days, I wouldn't read their decision to release Ride With the Devil as anything other than a personal favor to James Schamus and Ang Lee. The nature of that project (rehabilitating, contextualizing, boosting its profile) makes it necessarily follow that it would be released on the main line.

And while these contemporary releases may be crowding the schedule, I don't blame that situation for Kapò's presence here. Basically concurring with zedz here, It's not like Criterion hasn't always released their share of bare bones discs. That practice goes back to the laserdisc days too, and it wasn't until the advent of the Essential Art House line that these discs became reasonably priced. Consigning Kapò and Le jour se lève to the EAH line is somewhat surprising and disappointing, but I won't blame IFC or Schamus for that. Even higher profile titles have gotten the shaft before. The original DVD releases of Amarcord and High and Low were featureless discs with $40 price tags (and pretty lousy transfers). I also have to agree that I can't really imagine Criterion bothering with Mayerling, Gervaise, or Last Holiday at all if it weren't for EAH. That has nothing to do with the quality of those films, and everything to do with their recognition in the canon.

I can also imagine that if Kapò and Le jour se lève sell especially well in their EAH incarnations, Criterion might be willing to pony up for supplements and a spine number down the road.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 3:30 am 
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Jeff wrote:
I can also imagine that if Kapò and Le jour se lève sell especially well in their EAH incarnations, Criterion might be willing to pony up for supplements and a spine number down the road.

That would be even worse than not doing one in the first place and is something I'd hate to see encouraged. Barebones to test the water; bells and whistles to grab the profit. I just don't see why they bother with a release like this unless they're going to do it properly. We live in a global society now where importing a film shouldn't be too much of a hastle and there is no excuse not to be region-free (at least for home viewing).

If you're going to do a EAH release at least do it for a film where your release will still be the best version of a film there is or at a bare minimum at least make it par for the course. There are plenty of films out there that would benefit from it. Kapò ain't one of them.


Last edited by TMDaines on Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 3:56 am 
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Jeff wrote:
I also have to agree that I can't really imagine Criterion bothering with Mayerling, Gervaise, or Last Holiday at all if it weren't for EAH. That has nothing to do with the quality of those films, and everything to do with their recognition in the canon.


And Downhill Racer is a canonical classic? I think that's a stretch. No more so than The Furies or The Small Black Room or any of dozens of other CC titles which only had Real Cineaste Recognition.

Guys, there's an arbitrariness here that I'm sure breaks the hearts of even those at Criterion. Strapping on a happy face and plowing ahead in tough times is one thing, but coming up with a Pain Free reason for everything happening right now is unrealistic. These are tough times, and tough choices are being made which I'm sure send producers out of the meeting rooms with glum faces... some scared for their jobs, too, without question. As it is in any media company right now.

My only message is: don't clap hands over everything. There are producers out there who could probably usw a little ammo here and there for their board meeting... well, at least maybe one. Somewhere...?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:27 am 
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Jeff wrote:
I can also imagine that if Kapò and Le jour se lève sell especially well in their EAH incarnations, Criterion might be willing to pony up for supplements and a spine number down the road.


aw HELL no! That'd be pitchfork and torches time....egads.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:49 am 
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HistoryProf wrote:
Jeff wrote:
I can also imagine that if Kapò and Le jour se lève sell especially well in their EAH incarnations, Criterion might be willing to pony up for supplements and a spine number down the road.
aw HELL no! That'd be pitchfork and torches time....egads.

I upgraded my original discs of Amarcord and High and Low (which were basically EAH titles) when Criterion re-issued them (not to mention at least a dozen or so other Criterion titles I've decided to upgrade over the years -- some of them three times with Blu-ray) . There's always a little twinge when double dipping, but with the bargain price of the initial disc, the prospect of a Kapò upgrade actually seems less painful.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 6:16 am 
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Becker has said that there is always a possibility that an Eclipse title may be upgraded to the mainline (in his interview with Positif he mentioned that it could be the case for Raymond Bernard for example. So an upgrade for EAH further down the line is indeed a possibility.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 6:18 pm 
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It's possibly, but I wouldn't count on it anytime soon. They need to upgrade a fair amount of their collection to Blu first. [-o<


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 4:11 am 
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I think the conversation in this thread is more interesting in light of the Studio Canal titles going OOP (at the end of this month); is it possible that Kapo was "dumped" onto the EAH line for the same reason as Mayerling, Le Jour Se Lève, Gervaise, and Last Holiday? Who owns the rights to Kapo?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 12:48 pm 
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Svevan wrote:
I think the conversation in this thread is more interesting in light of the Studio Canal titles going OOP (at the end of this month); is it possible that Kapo was "dumped" onto the EAH line for the same reason as Mayerling, Le Jour Se Lève, Gervaise, and Last Holiday? Who owns the rights to Kapo?

No. It's owned by Cristaldi. They just couldn't be arsed.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 11:21 pm 
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Beaver


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:26 pm 
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Criterion posted to FB an interesting piece from the LA Times on Kapo today, but what caught my eye more was this rather odious comment in response:

Quote:
Brandon Aebersold

what a bunch of drivel. how about releasing an English-subtitled version of any number of the vastly underrepresented array of Nelson Perreira Dos Santos films (Fome de Amor?)...therein lies truly worthy controversy to rehash/perpetuate. here, we just have another instance of exploitation (foolishly, à la your average white person) for its own ... See More vacuous sake. the only (hardly-thoughtful, hardly-uncommon) question this release raises is whether distribution can make money in whatever context it pleases, manipulating whatever residual phenomena of imbalance it perceives.

as of now, you are gradually losing my respect, Criterion.
45 minutes ago


As the article notes that it was skewered as shameless upon release, does this fare better in retrospect? I must admit to not fully understanding what mr. hifalutin is saying above, but thought it might be a good conversation starter on this one...I was intending to by it blind, but am now unsure based on that review.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:32 pm 
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dadaistnun wrote:


I felt I had to have that DVD - just ordered it! I love fleshed-out characters that make a complete turnaround in order to serve their own best interests while never minding sending others to hell in the process! Human nature, I guess. Thanks, Beaver!


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PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2010 5:14 pm 
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So I guess I'm the only one who bought this? Just finished my first viewing and while many elements from Battle in Algiers is present this one is much farther down the ladder. That's not to say it's bad. I would say it is roughly on the same platform as The Pianist or Schindler's List (which seems to have taken a bit from Kapo).
[Reveal] Spoiler:
By the time the movie goes into The Great Escape mode I'd say it tetters with List's best scenes, though I think Spielberg made the better film. The character arcs in both films is very similar with a conflicted and at first self-centered lead who goes through that old redemption ringer.

The one area were I think Kapo beats out its competition is that it lacks for the most part the sentimental traits of the others. Love story aside it's real tough as nails. This was in all a far better experience than I expected even if Kapo is easily the weakest of the EAH only titles.


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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 12:53 am 
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For some reason, I think it will make a great double feature with Andrzej Munk's unfinished Passenger. Have not picked up this DVD, but saw it on TCM a couple of years ago...


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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 7:08 pm 
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HistoryProf wrote:
... I must admit to not fully understanding what mr. hifalutin is saying above, but thought it might be a good conversation starter on this one...I was intending to by it blind, but am now unsure based on that review.

I don't know why anyone would be influenced by such an incoherent rant.
I certainly hope more people other than 'knives' buy this title. It's an excellent film, although it's not as great as Battle of Algiers and Burn!. Here we see Pontecorvo working effectively with conventions of fictional storytelling which he would subsequently abandon. There are so precious few Pontecorvo films that I think they all deserve to have first-rate editions in print -- most urgently needed now is a new release of Burn!
Anyway, I have no idea what this film has to do with Nelson Pereira Dos Santos's work, or why this release would have anything to do with Criterion failing to take an interest in the latter. If Mr. Aebersold were really so familiar with Dos Santos's work, one would think he'd at least spell the man's name right.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 1:57 pm 
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I found this film highly engaging throughout and would certainly recommend that everyone afford it the same chance that they would if it were a mainline title. I left the film somewhat conflicted, however, about the ways that certain films use Great Actual Tragedies as backdrops to intimate but fictional stories of a few individuals caught up in the storm. Something like Titanic would seem to be one of the worst such offenders (though imagine how much worse that film would have been if it had been set in a concentration camp!) And while I wouldn't place Kapò anywhere near that level, there are some scenes that perhaps rely too heavily on our preconceived notions of Nazis as Pure Evil, or that attempt to make us sympathize with a love story when there are much graver things going on.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
For example, consider the scene in which Nicole agrees to let some of the officers have their way with her in exchange for food, and then in the end, they can't even complete their side of the bargain.
Now, the Nazis may or may not have actually done this sort of thing in real life, but to me, this sticks out as a device meant to make the audience loathe the story's villains as much as possible (as if exterminating Jews wasn't horrible enough). This sort of thing has the opposite of its intended effect on me, as I recognize that something is trying to manipulate me, and it takes me out of the story a little, though I'll admit there wasn't necessarily a whole lot of this in Kapò. Still, it doesn't earn as many points on this front as, say, Diamonds of the Night, which pole vaults over all your preconceived notions of how a Holocaust film should be, finding poetry in the suffering of its victims.

The love story is another matter,
[Reveal] Spoiler:
especially as it incites a turnaround in Nicole's character that is crucial to the film's plot.
Again, we're nowhere near Titanic territory here, though I'm not as satisified with it as I am with, say, the love story in Hiroshima mon amour, where the tragedy (even many years removed) casts a grey pallor over the lovers' entire relationship. Perhaps that comparison is a bit unfair though, as Hiroshima was really all about the love story,
[Reveal] Spoiler:
whereas here, it's merely a driving force in the film's final act. Though I suppose it does also serve to symbolize the one thing Nicole has left to hope for, and the film's bleak resolution prevents it from falling into a "love conquers all...even the Holocaust!" trap.


I hope I don't sound as though I'm being too harsh on the film though. These are just some thoughts I had during and after watching it, and are for the most part criticisms I have of Holocaust films in general, not so much this one in particular.

As for the transfer, it was certainly watchable, though there were several instances of noise throughout that looked kind of like someone jogging a mouse across a computer screen. I wonder if this had anything to do with the film being relegated to EAH.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:42 am 

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Amazing film,

I'm just wondering, was this really intended to be seen with Italian audio for a non-Italian audience? The girl is from Paris, why use the Italian track? surely they also did a French track since it was Franco-Italian co-production.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:53 am 
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SalParadise,

Yes, there is a French language dub of "Kapo". According to Amazon (France), it's available on the Carlotta R2 dvd. There's also an English language dub available, apparently, on the Cristaldi R2 dvd released in Italy. It was this version that ran during the film's initial U.S. release. Why it's not on the Criterion disc beats me.

This from the NY Times review of June 2, 1964 (the last sentence still seems applicable today):

"Dubbed English dialogue serves well for the several languages that were evidently used when the film was shot, except that every now and then an English subtitle is dropped in for a vagrant line of foreign dialogue. This only goes to show how arbitrary and illusory is this matter of what language you hear."


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