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

#76 Post by MichaelB » Sat Apr 21, 2012 1:10 pm

Beaver.

Whatever his quibbles about Capricious Summer, it looks like a clear advance on my analogue-sourced Czech edition. And The Joke looks unrecognisable when set against the Facets - one of the most amateurishly-produced DVDs I've ever had the misfortune to watch.

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What A Disgrace
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Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#77 Post by What A Disgrace » Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:13 pm

It would be wonderful if, by some miracle, this (series of) Czech New Wave release(s) spawned such interest in Czech cinema that future sets could deviate from the Czech New Wave, and look into the works of earlier film makers (Gustaf Machaty, Jiri Trnka, Otakar Vavra, Karel Zemen), contemporaries not at all associated with the New Wave (Oldrich Lipsky, and of course Frantisek Vlacil), and film makers who have risen since then. Not to mention Blu-ray upgrades of earlier titles in the main line.

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

#78 Post by Alan Smithee » Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:16 pm

Watched Daisies for the first time yesterday on Hulu. I'll just say that it really was amazing. It's like if Miranda July were heavily influenced by Godard and went full radical feminist. It truly felt like a lost Godard piece, right before or right after Weekend, but their was a distinct difference in the lack of quotations and on screen text to where it stands on it's own. Aesthetically its blindsides you. One moment will simply be a monochrome closeup, the next an elaborate sequence with some of the best art direction you can find. The barebones absurdist story plays out in a way that should feel repetitive but the actors are so immersed in it that it works. I'll definitely pick up this set.

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swo17
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Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#79 Post by swo17 » Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:28 pm

What A Disgrace wrote:It would be wonderful if, by some miracle, this (series of) Czech New Wave release(s) spawned such interest in Czech cinema that future sets could deviate from the Czech New Wave, and look into the works of earlier film makers (Gustaf Machaty, Jiri Trnka, Otakar Vavra, Karel Zemen), contemporaries not at all associated with the New Wave (Oldrich Lipsky, and of course Frantisek Vlacil), and film makers who have risen since then. Not to mention Blu-ray upgrades of earlier titles in the main line.
Like. Scratch that, love.

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

#80 Post by MichaelB » Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:41 pm

The Czechs have embarked upon a major digital restoration programme of their national cinema classics, but so far just three titles have been confirmed and two completed.

František Vláčil's Marketa Lazarová and Oldřich Lipský's Lemonade Joe are already out on English-friendly Blu-ray, and a 4K digital restoration of Miloš Forman's The Firemen's Ball is being premiered at Karlovy Vary in July - so I suspect there'll be a Blu-ray of that before the end of the year.

The document presented to the Czech Ministry of Culture in 2010 had 200 proposed titles attached (including pretty much everything you'd want them to restore) - but of course whether they come anywhere close to that target remains to be seen. Especially at what seems to be the current rate of three restorations a year.

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

#81 Post by knives » Mon Apr 23, 2012 2:56 pm

Where could one pick up the Lemonade Joe disc reasonably?

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

#82 Post by MichaelB » Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:15 pm

DVD Best has it, and I've been very happy with their service thus far. At the time of linking they say they'll have stock in on the 25th April.
Last edited by MichaelB on Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

#83 Post by knives » Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:15 pm

Thanks, seems well priced too.

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

#84 Post by Zaki » Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:57 pm

MichaelB, do you know whether any Svankmajer titles are among the "200 proposed titles attached (including pretty much everything you'd want them to restore)"? I really hope the answer would be 'yes'...

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

#85 Post by admira » Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:01 pm

http://www.mediadeskcz.eu/uploaded/navr ... ch_del.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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

#86 Post by Saturnome » Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:51 pm

No Švankmajer, not a lot of shorts it seems anyway (maybe I'm wrong though) and no films beyond 1991 (and Alice is already restored).

Other than that, yes, it's pretty much all I want them to restore. Jiří Trnka's Midsummer Night's Dream will be brilliant in it's 2.35:1 ratio and HD (and an english friendly release would already be something). Oh, and a HD release of Vynález zkázy certainly wouldn't look bad at all either.
That said, 3 titles per year? Ugh. I guess they have no intention to do anything beyond these 200 films!

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

#87 Post by Zaki » Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:58 pm

Thanks, admira. I may have missed something (for not reading Czech or another reason), but could not find in the document you linked to any title by Jan Švankmajer :( .

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

#88 Post by John Edmond » Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:59 pm

That's a remarkably expensive list. And you're right, 3 a year does seem slow. Particularly since many of the films don't need that extensive a restoration.

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

#89 Post by jbeall » Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:09 pm

What A Disgrace wrote:It would be wonderful if, by some miracle, this (series of) Czech New Wave release(s) spawned such interest in Czech cinema that future sets could deviate from the Czech New Wave, and look into the works of earlier film makers (Gustaf Machaty, Jiri Trnka, Otakar Vavra, Karel Zemen), contemporaries not at all associated with the New Wave (Oldrich Lipsky, and of course Frantisek Vlacil), and film makers who have risen since then. Not to mention Blu-ray upgrades of earlier titles in the main line.
Such a set might hopefully include the films of the avant-garde writer/director Vladislav Vančura, who's most famous for his novels Marketa Lazarová and Capricious Summer.

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

#90 Post by admira » Tue Apr 24, 2012 12:27 am

Saturnome wrote: I guess they have no intention to do anything beyond these 200 films!
I heard, that there is already a list for another 100-200 films to be restored for the next round. But they have to speed up the whole process significantly...

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

#91 Post by MichaelB » Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:57 am

Saturnome wrote:No Švankmajer, not a lot of shorts it seems anyway (maybe I'm wrong though) and no films beyond 1991 (and Alice is already restored).
I suspect the 1991 cut-off date may have something to do with pre-1989 titles, or at least titles which went into production or were greenlit before November 1989.

And Alice wouldn't have been on the list because, contrary to appearances, it's not a Czech film - it's primarily Swiss, with additional input from Germany and the UK. The Czech government of the time would never have funded it, and they were fairly appalled to discover that it had been made in secret.

But, as you say, it would never have been a top priority given that an excellent Blu-ray already exists. In fact, aren't Alice, Marketa Lazarová and Lemonade Joe the only current Blu-rays of pre-1989 Czech-language films?

Oh, and I'm not sure there are any shorts on the list - all the Trnka selections are features, for instance. Clearly, this needs addressing too - I know for a fact that there are no HD masters of Švankmajer shorts because we tried to license a couple to support Alice. (Sadly, the production budget didn't allow for creating new ones from scratch, especially when the BFI had four Alice-themed HD shorts already sitting on the shelves).

And the current SD masters of Trnka's shorts are in terrible shape - believe it or not, three UK distributors were looking into the possibility of a Trnka release to mark his centenary, but all passed on it when they realised that the existing materials just weren't good enough. Going by eye (I was sent a batch of DVD-Rs when writing the notes for the recent BFI Southbank season), I'd say they're pretty ancient analogue SD masters, and so someone needs to go back to the 35mm materials and redo them to current standards at the very least.

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

#92 Post by Black Hat » Thu May 03, 2012 8:42 pm

Hey everyone, first time poster, long time lurker.

I must first make mention of how this forum has been an invaluable tool of reference for me. Can not say enough about how much I've learned reading this forum, thank you.

Anyways, I happened to see this box set on the Criterion website's Spotlight today, watched the clip, read this thread and can't wait to receive it in the mail, having just ordered it. Outside of having seen Valerie... and heard of The Joke (thru Kundera), Daisies & Marketa I'm not familiar with Czech cinema at all but, am a fan of their literature and this set appears to be a great way to introduce myself to their cinematic world. I did also notice the discussion about Second Run releases and would love to get my hands on their edition of Valerie... is the best place to order from the States the Second Run website or do you guys have other suggestions?

And once again, love and appreciate everyone's contributions to these forums, it's a fantastic read.

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

#93 Post by knives » Fri May 04, 2012 12:05 am

I usually order via Amazon for the Second Run discs which are great and invaluable. A word of warning though, it has been indicated that Criterion will be releasing more Czech eclipse sets with Valerie being one of them so I'd hold off on that on if I were you. Also if you are getting interested in Czech cinema BFI's release of Jan Svankmajer's short films (and Alice) are superb. Possibly two of the most essential releases of the company.

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

#94 Post by TMDaines » Fri May 04, 2012 6:33 am

knives wrote:A word of warning though, it has been indicated that Criterion will be releasing more Czech eclipse sets with Valerie being one of them so I'd hold off on that on if I were you.
Then again we've been waiting more than half of a decade for some of Criterion's "upcoming" releases, so it's probably not the best advice to avoid relatively cheap discs just because Criterion may, or may not, release something in the next few years.
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MichaelB
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Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#95 Post by MichaelB » Fri May 04, 2012 6:52 am

Also, Second Run's booklet essays are far more extensive than Criterion's Eclipse notes.

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

#96 Post by jbeall » Fri May 04, 2012 8:13 am

And Second Run is a small company worth supporting. For the titles CC hasn't yet released, trust me, SR's editions are worth the double-dip.

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

#97 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Fri May 04, 2012 10:11 am

MichaelB wrote:Also, Second Run's booklet essays are far more extensive than Criterion's Eclipse notes.
I second that. If you don't have the money to buy books about Czech cinema (or your library won't interlibrary loan them), these booklets are good resources. The one in Szindbad (although not a Czech film) being a recent one that helped me out. As a quick plug, I'd say the same for MOC's Pialat booklets. Second Run's DVDs may not have the Criterion treatment in terms of contextual extras, but the booklets at least offer something that you can use when you watch the film a second time, a third time, etc. I'd say that the booklets have enough information that you can't help feeling like doing some extra research of your own.

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

#98 Post by Black Hat » Fri May 04, 2012 10:55 am

Jean-Luc Garbo wrote:
MichaelB wrote:Also, Second Run's booklet essays are far more extensive than Criterion's Eclipse notes.
Second Run's DVDs may not have the Criterion treatment in terms of contextual extras, but the booklets at least offer something that you can use when you watch the film a second time, a third time, etc. I'd say that the booklets have enough information that you can't help feeling like doing some extra research of your own.
Yah it does seem that this Eclipse set is light on the extras, essays etc. I eat up information at alarming rates so I think, Second Run as long as I don't killed with the shipping, would be a worthwhile investment. Most likely for a classic like Marketa that I have not seen and certainly for a film like Valerie which although I didn't love, was completely fascinated by.

jbeall wrote:And Second Run is a small company worth supporting.
Exactly, to support a small company is huge for me. Based upon what everyone's been saying and looking at their website myself they appear to do good work, with lots of interesting titles.

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swo17
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Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#99 Post by swo17 » Fri May 04, 2012 11:25 am

Black Hat wrote:Yah it does seem that this Eclipse set is light on the extras, essays etc.
Brief (or occasionally longer) liner notes on each film is all you'll ever get with an Eclipse set. The only possible exception I can think of is the Leningrad Cowboys set which added a few music videos, though even that might not technically be an exception.

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

#100 Post by MichaelB » Fri May 04, 2012 11:37 am

Jean-Luc Garbo wrote:
MichaelB wrote:Also, Second Run's booklet essays are far more extensive than Criterion's Eclipse notes.
I second that. If you don't have the money to buy books about Czech cinema (or your library won't interlibrary loan them), these booklets are good resources. The one in Szindbad (although not a Czech film) being a recent one that helped me out. As a quick plug, I'd say the same for MOC's Pialat booklets. Second Run's DVDs may not have the Criterion treatment in terms of contextual extras, but the booklets at least offer something that you can use when you watch the film a second time, a third time, etc. I'd say that the booklets have enough information that you can't help feeling like doing some extra research of your own.
As the author of Second Run's Szindbád booklet, I can say with a reasonable amount of certainty that it's currently the longest piece available in English. I must have read every scrap of English-language material during my research, and there was precious little.

Same with Goodbye, See You Tomorrow in the Polish Classics set - in fact, I was very nervous about taking that one on since there was so little material available.

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