Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

Discuss DVDs released in the Eclipse and Essential Art House lines and the films on them.
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vertovfan
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Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#101 Post by vertovfan » Fri May 04, 2012 11:46 am

I agree with the positive comments about Second Run, and I'm excited at the possibility this Eclipse set will spark some interest in the Czech New Wave and Eastern European cinema in general. There's no shortage of incredible films out there - unfortunately many are unavailable in decent region-1 editions. Amazon.co.uk is a good place to start for English-friendly region-2 versions; merlin.pl, dvdbest.sk, gorila.sk, yu4you.com or lira.hu have some great English-subtitled finds if you're willing to brave the language barrier occasionally during the ordering process.

admira
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Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#102 Post by admira » Fri May 04, 2012 11:50 am

Black Hat wrote:. Most likely for a classic like Marketa that I have not seen
Go for a new restored version:

http://dvdfreak.bloudil.cz/freak.php?p= ... arova&dz=0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Black Hat
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Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#103 Post by Black Hat » Fri May 04, 2012 2:39 pm

admira wrote:
Black Hat wrote:. Most likely for a classic like Marketa that I have not seen
Go for a new restored version:

http://dvdfreak.bloudil.cz/freak.php?p= ... arova&dz=0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
That does looks good and appears to be on a par with SR regarding extras, any idea where I can find it? Google is not exactly being my friend here.

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MichaelB
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Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#104 Post by MichaelB » Fri May 04, 2012 2:42 pm

If you've got a Blu-ray player, definitely go for the Czech Marketa - I was purring with pleasure pretty much throughout.

But if you're DVD-only, the Second Run František Vláčil box might well offer a better deal, since you get four films for the price of... well, it's currently going for £14.39 on Amazon.co.uk, or about £3.60 per film. Obviously that doesn't include shipping, but it's still a sensational bargain.

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Black Hat
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Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#105 Post by Black Hat » Fri May 04, 2012 6:59 pm

Ah I didn't realize the Czech Marketa edition was Blu-ray only. Out of curiosity, where is is available to buy? Can't seem to find it anywhere on the internets. That box set you recommended looks great, added it to my basket while I peruse other potential bargains, thank you!

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vertovfan
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Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#106 Post by vertovfan » Sat May 05, 2012 12:20 am

You could try here or here or here (scroll to the bottom) - don't remember how they compare on shipping, but I have an inkling that Terry Posters isn't very cheap.

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MichaelB
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Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#107 Post by MichaelB » Sat May 05, 2012 1:13 am

Black Hat wrote:Ah I didn't realize the Czech Marketa edition was Blu-ray only.
It isn't - there's a DVD edition too.

But from what I hear, while the differences between the Blu-ray and Second Run's DVD are massive, the differences between the DVDs really aren't as pronounced as one might expect, and Second Run's Vláčil box offers more films (three by Vláčil, one about him) and more extensive context (three meaty booklet essays by Peter Hames, who's been studying Vláčil since the early 1970s) for what I suspect isn't that much different a price.

So if you're a Vláčil beginner, this may well be a better option.

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Black Hat
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Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#108 Post by Black Hat » Sat May 05, 2012 2:14 am

As much as the Czech edition of Marketa appeals to me, for the cover art alone if nothing else, I think I'm going to go with the Second Run box as it's just too good a value to pass up. Down the line. when I got a Blu-ray player in the mix I'll definitely grab the Czech edition. Appreciate all the help and guidance.

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dadaistnun
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Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#109 Post by dadaistnun » Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:58 pm

Behold the Daisies paper dolls.

eerik
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Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#110 Post by eerik » Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:33 am

Daisies will be released on Blu-ray in Germany on July 27th.

Amazon doesn't take pre-orders yet, but they have listed:
1-disc special edition
2-disc limited edition

Audio commentary by Daniel Bird and Peter Hames is the only special feature. 2-disc edition comes with the soundtrack CD. No English subtitles.

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jbeall
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Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#111 Post by jbeall » Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:40 am

An Audience for Free Spirits in a Closed Society (Daisies and Party and the Guests playing at BAM.)

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Jean-Luc Garbo
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Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#112 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:13 pm

Janus has a lovely opportunity to get the Daisies soundtrack for free at the BAM showing of the film this weekend.

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domino harvey
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Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#113 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jan 17, 2013 8:54 pm

Finally polished off the set. The highlight for me was the previously unseen (no way was I subjecting myself to the Facets disc) the Joke, which is handily the best thing here, expertly balancing the humor, politics, and freewheeling narrative nature that catapults the best entries in this movement justly into cinematic history. I'd already seen Daisies and the Party and the Guests, so their respective values were already a given. I also quite enjoyed the slender trifles offered by Capricious Summer, which gives us a fairly gentle sex comedy and presents barely salacious vulgarities with the lightest of touches. Faring worse was Return of the Prodigal Son, which stands (negatively) in contrast with every other Czech New Wave film I've seen in and outside of this box. Uncharacteristically dour and drab, this staid picture culminates in a jaw-dropping exhibition of idiocy that led to audible sighs of frustration. But it's still not the worst film here, an honor bestowed upon the very compilation film upon which the box was structured. Like nearly all European portmanteau films, it is awful. The only segment which works (for a bit, at least) is "the Restaurant the World," with its floating, transferring narrative and genuine sense of play amidst the depressing truths underlying the story. But contrary to the essay writer, I found nothing "beautiful" about the jarring and unnecessary quasi-slow motion employed in that segment's finale, and the attempt at visual metaphors makes for a clumsy end to a venture that really had no narrative thrust to speak of anyways. Of course, I'll take the ending to that segment over the ending of the actual film, though-- wow, a little kid pissing into the camera, what a kooky bunch of filmmakin' radicals! :roll:

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Yojimbo
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Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#114 Post by Yojimbo » Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:04 pm

domino harvey wrote:Finally polished off the set. The highlight for me was the previously unseen (no way was I subjecting myself to the Facets disc) the Joke, which is handily the best thing here, expertly balancing the humor, politics, and freewheeling narrative nature that catapults the best entries in this movement justly into cinematic history. I'd already seen Daisies and the Party and the Guests, so their respective values were already a given. I also quite enjoyed the slender trifles offered by Capricious Summer, which gives us a fairly gentle sex comedy and presents barely salacious vulgarities with the lightest of touches. Faring worse was Return of the Prodigal Son, which stands (negatively) in contrast with every other Czech New Wave film I've seen in and outside of this box. Uncharacteristically dour and drab, this staid picture culminates in a jaw-dropping exhibition of idiocy that led to audible sighs of frustration. But it's still not the worst film here, an honor bestowed upon the very compilation film upon which the box was structured. Like nearly all European portmanteau films, it is awful. The only segment which works (for a bit, at least) is "the Restaurant the World," with its floating, transferring narrative and genuine sense of play amidst the depressing truths underlying the story. But contrary to the essay writer, I found nothing "beautiful" about the jarring and unnecessary quasi-slow motion employed in that segment's finale, and the attempt at visual metaphors makes for a clumsy end to a venture that really had no narrative thrust to speak of anyways. Of course, I'll take the ending to that segment over the ending of the actual film, though-- wow, a little kid pissing into the camera, what a kooky bunch of filmmakin' radicals! :roll:
Glad we agree on 'The Joke', Dom
I haven't watched the complete set, yet, and I've only yet seen 'The Joke' on my VHS recording of a British tv broadcast of some 20 years ago, so I'm looking forward to my first DVD watch, in addition to a long overdue re-watch.
Its quite a faithful adaptation of the Kundera novel, which I'd also highly recommend

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Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#115 Post by karmajuice » Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:13 am

I haven't quite finished the set yet (The Joke is yet to come), but I just wanted to say that I admired Pearls of the Deep a bit more than Domino does. It's not a perfect film, but I found almost all the films interesting, and they're more consistent than most omnibus features.

I enjoyed the uneventful observations in Menzel's opening entry, the mix of documentary footage and incidental (if rather morbid) conversations. The film has several subtle jokes peppered throughout, and that playful attitude culminates in the lyrical footage of the race.
Nemec's The Imposters is watchable, but entirely forgettable.
Schorm's entry is a mess, but it's a fascinating mess, and considerably better than his dreary feature included in the set. Mostly it's just weird, but I found it a pleasure to look at (even if the colors are a bit washed out). In general, Pearls of the Deep is one of the most Czech-looking films I've seen (if that makes sense to anyone), and this segment indulges in that local aesthetic most intensely: worn exteriors, folksy interiors, displaced objects, general disarray, eccentric decor.
I may have liked Chytilová's segment the most. I wasn't sure what to think of its meandering anti-narrative at first, but I soon fell into its rhythms. While the ending drags on some, I loved the scene in the thunderstorm (echoes of L'Atalante), particularly the closing image.
The final segment is mostly just charming, but I found it both extremely charming and strangely convincing, so it won me over.

In general, I think the films provide some rather unconventional pleasures. None of the films offer much in the way of narrative, symbolism, or structure, which I found frustrating, but it's an issue I gradually overcame, looking back on them. Instead, one must find what one can in the mere act of observation: in the events going on in the background, in momentary incidents, in the idiosyncrasies of the various characters who pass before us (often without intent or purpose). I haven't read any Hrabal, but I imagine the nature of his writing is responsible for this trend, because it's true of every short (and based on the filmmakers' other work, not necessarily characteristic of their styles). I think that lack of rigor holds it back from achieving greatness, but I still found it interesting, easy to watch, and well worthwhile.

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Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#116 Post by MichaelB » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:01 am

karmajuice wrote:I haven't read any Hrabal, but I imagine the nature of his writing is responsible for this trend, because it's true of every short (and based on the filmmakers' other work, not necessarily characteristic of their styles).
Hrabal's work is absolutely crucial here - the whole point of making the film in the first place was to pay tribute to a writer that all seven filmmakers (including Ivan Passer and Juraj Herz) admired hugely as a major philosophical influence on what they were trying to achieve with the film medium, and they also wanted to help promote his own work, which by 1965 had received very limited circulation (Hrabal was already in his fifties, but he'd only had one novel and a collection of stories published by the time that the film went into production).

In particular, I think your characterisation of his work as:
the mere act of observation: in the events going on in the background, in momentary incidents, in the idiosyncrasies of the various characters who pass before us (often without intent or purpose)
...is pretty much spot on, although for English speakers it's complicated by the fact that Hrabal's highly demotic and colloquial Czech is extremely hard to translate. Which is why, in many ways (and I believe Hrabal himself agreed with this), Menzel's Closely Observed Trains is more satisfying than Hrabal's novel for those who can't read the original.


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feckless boy
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Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#118 Post by feckless boy » Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:03 pm

MichaelB wrote:Věra Chytilová RIP.
Sad news. But we have a thread for passages - why this need to post the exact same info in three different threads?

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Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#119 Post by MichaelB » Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:07 pm

feckless boy wrote:
MichaelB wrote:Věra Chytilová RIP.
Sad news. But we have a thread for passages - why this need to post the exact same info in three different threads?
Because not everyone reads every single thread, and it's clearly on-topic in this one.

And also much less likely to get buried if someone vastly more famous dies in the next few days, as happens all too often!

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movielocke
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Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#120 Post by movielocke » Fri Sep 19, 2014 3:24 pm

Breezed through Daisies before watching Report on the Party and its Guests. Daisies is a dadaist delight from beginning to end, it made me feel all nostalgic for my college days and led me to the conclusion that college art students really haven't changed a bit since the sixties and the 2000s, the whole thing felt tremendously warm and familiar. And given I describe the film as dadaist, it makes me think that things were rather the same in the 1920s, what with flappers and all the rest of the roaring going around. The Duck Soup by way of Bunuel ending is pretty great, and even when they have to 'clean it up' the way they're dressed and acting like automatons is clearly an acknowledgement of the problematics of a 'clean it up' scene. Deftly done.

The brilliantly bold editing and visual styles of the film were unexpected and refreshing, it made sure the film was as visually anarchic as its content.

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Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#121 Post by movielocke » Mon Sep 22, 2014 2:27 am

Pearls of the deep is a lovely anthology film, it made me want to read some hrabel. It's fascinating to have such unique stylistic approaches used for a variety of subjects and all be unified by the same voice in the dialogue, a sort of modern melancholic sardonic riff on death in the middle class (and below) of Czech life.

Is it just me or is their a sort of tenuous connection here to the decalogue? Because it sort of feels like an ancestor of that film.

***

Capricious summer is not the masterpiece that is closely watched trains, but it has a similar vitality in its portrayal of its people.

A magician and his assistant come to town; the assistant frolics with three friends variously and the magician with the wife of the band's leader.

I felt like I was missing a context/subtext with the film. It feels as though the blonde is symbolic, at first she's embracing the innocent business man, then she takes up with the religious, lastly she is mixed up with the army, in the meantime the magician is doing much the same.

In the end, like shop on main street, everyone would rather forget the turmoil and troublesome times when in thrall to an outside force and go on believing themselves to be blameless never acknowledging that all parties were willing participants, that ultimately all parties are collaborators.

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movielocke
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Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#122 Post by movielocke » Wed Sep 24, 2014 6:17 pm

I've had a friend pestering me to read Kundera for months now, but I've not gotten around to it yet. So The Joke, adapted from Kundera's novel, is my first exposure.

Good good, this film might be the best film in the eclipse collection. The film is brilliantly staged and edited so that a literary, complex flashback/reminiscence is visualized and re-experienced, we're plunged into the past effortlessly, the voice over braiding into the dialogues from the past; images from the past interleave with those from the present and the scenes from both merge into one. And in doing so, the film becomes one of the most effective critiques of communism I've ever seen. It's chilling at times, but never quite becomes grim. Kundera gives us ugly and truthful observations of human nature that feel all the more real because of the minor banality of the "offense."

I'm going to have to finally commit to reading some Kundera now, right after I finish If on a Winter's Night a Traveler.

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Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#123 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Sep 25, 2014 1:08 pm

And also track down a copy of The Unbearable Lightness of Being!

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movielocke
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Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#124 Post by movielocke » Thu Sep 25, 2014 1:56 pm

I sold my copy of that a while ago, unfortunately, now I want to watch it again since I have more context for what's going on in the film.

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Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#125 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Sep 29, 2014 6:39 am

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