Jan Švankmajer

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wiljan
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Re: Re:

#26 Post by wiljan » Wed Feb 04, 2009 9:02 am

petoluk wrote:
petoluk wrote:Now, this was already mentioned in another thread here, but a Dutch company called Moskwood Media is supposed to release yet another Alice DVD on September 23: www.moskwood.nl

They were postponing the release for almost a year now, because of - according to a source there - "working on an additional voice-over track." They didn't want to confirm though if it was going to be the Czech one...
The Dutch Alice DVD seems to be back on track again - the release date has been moved to February 23. Unfortunately, according to the updated tech specs here, there will be only Dutch audio on the disc ("Nederlands gesproken")...
I've sent an e-mail to Moskwood and they have confirmed that there will be an English audio track in addition to the Dutch one. In addition to that, they are still trying to get the original Czech one, which is why the release has been delayed so much.

petoluk
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Re: Jan Å vankmajer

#27 Post by petoluk » Wed Feb 11, 2009 4:00 am

Moskwood's site now says about the Alice DVD: "origineel Tsjechisch gesproken, optioneel Nederlandse of Engelse voice-over!" :D

Great news, at least for those who understand Czech - I doubt there will be English subtitles there...

(And the release date has been moved again - March 24.)

Cheers!
Peto

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Feego
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Re: Jan Å vankmajer

#28 Post by Feego » Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:44 am

Does anyone know the name of the Czech video company that released Alice on VHS in the original Czech langauge? Or better yet, does anyone know where I might track down a copy? I've loved Alice for years and would love to see it in its original language, even if there are no subtitles.

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Re: Jan Å vankmajer

#29 Post by MichaelB » Fri Apr 24, 2009 7:57 am

If anyone reading this is within spitting distance of the Manchester Cornerhouse on Saturday evening, I'm giving a heavily-illustrated talk on the creative use of movement in Å vankmajer's films followed by a rare 35mm screening of half a dozen shorts in full.

More details on my blog.

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Re: Jan Å vankmajer

#30 Post by petoluk » Wed May 06, 2009 5:54 pm

(Sorry, MichaelB here offering grovelling apologies to Petoluk - I was trying to quote from his post and ended up accidentally and irretrievably overwriting it because I forgot I had moderator powers in this thread.

I'll very happily reinstate the text if he'd like to PM it (or something similar) to me - it was essentially breaking the news that the Dutch release will not have the Czech soundtrack.)

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MichaelB
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Re: Jan Å vankmajer

#31 Post by MichaelB » Wed May 06, 2009 6:26 pm

From what I understand, there are bafflingly complicated rights difficulties regarding licensing the Czech soundtrack, which may explain why it's yet to appear on an English-friendly release. I know of at least one other release that's foundered at least partly over this issue.

I think the rights situation with Alice is quite complicated anyway as a side-effect of its production history - which was all part of a plan to pull the wool over the eyes of the Czech authorities, who were under the impression that it was some kind of audiovisual slideshow, not a feature film by a director who'd already run into trouble (especially in 1982-3, just before Alice went into production).

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Re: Jan Å vankmajer

#32 Post by ryan11 » Wed May 06, 2009 6:29 pm

I treasure my trusty old vhs tv recording of Alice. I've thought of doing a dvd transfer, but a decent dvd edition must be released at some stage. English subs aren't important for me, having seen a subbed edition multiple times.

A feature film boxset would be grand. A Bluray release of Conspirators of Pleasure (for mine, Svankmajer's feature-film masterpiece), would coax me to upgrade to the new format.

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Re: Jan Å vankmajer

#33 Post by petoluk » Thu May 07, 2009 2:59 am

No worries Michael - you kept the "essence" of my post there... :wink:

Cheers!
Peto

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Re: Jan Å vankmajer

#34 Post by petoluk » Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:36 am

Not sure if this is known already:

This morning, the maestro was a "guest" (via the phone) on the Czech news channel CT24. He was talking about the Rotterdam Film Festival, where he will present his latest, "Surviving Life", and he happened to mention they were going to try getting some sponsors there for his new project - working title "Hmyz" ("Insects"). It's supposed to be a story of a group of amateur theater players in some village or other, who rehearse Karel Capek's play "Ze zivota hmyzu" ("The Insect Comedy"), when - strangely enough - the scenes from the play start happening in their real lives... :o

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Re: Jan Svankmajer

#35 Post by MichaelB » Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:21 am

The script has been around for ages - possibly even since the 1970s. And since one of his best features was also sourced from a disinterred 1970s script ('Palebluebeard' fuelled about a third of Conspirators of Pleasure), that bodes very well.

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MichaelB
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Re: Jan Å vankmajer

#36 Post by MichaelB » Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:23 am

ryan11 wrote:I treasure my trusty old vhs tv recording of Alice. I've thought of doing a dvd transfer, but a decent dvd edition must be released at some stage. English subs aren't important for me, having seen a subbed edition multiple times.
You've doubtless seen this thread already, but the BFI is releasing Alice on Dual Format later this year - with both English and Czech soundtracks. No word about region coding yet, but the precedents are promising - other Channel Four-sourced BDs have been region-free.

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antnield
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Re: Jan Svankmajer

#37 Post by antnield » Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:05 am

Verve in the UK have Conspirators of Pleasure, Lunacy and Surviving Life on the slate for June. DVD only.

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MichaelB
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Re: Jan Svankmajer

#38 Post by MichaelB » Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:18 am

antnield wrote:Verve in the UK have Conspirators of Pleasure, Lunacy and Surviving Life on the slate for June. DVD only.
I knew about Conspirators of Pleasure (its exec producer Keith Griffiths let it slip in a private chat recently), but not the other two.

It's no great surprise that they're DVD-only - for all his cult reputation, Švankmajer's later features never had much of a following compared with his output up to the mid-1990s. So I doubt very much that HD masters even exist of Conspirators and Lunacy.

In fact, for a fair amount of time it seemed as though the BFI's Alice wouldn't just be DVD-only but yet another reissue of the same Channel Four analogue master, complete with all its many faults. It was originally supposed to be released to coincide with the Tim Burton version, but it eventually emerged a year later, largely thanks to an epic search for better quality materials that culminated in the discovery of the original camera negative, the 35mm interpositive and the original Czech magnetic sound mix. But even that would have counted for nothing if the BFI hadn't agreed to fund a new HD transfer - and Alice has far more commercial appeal than any of these three titles.

This is also the reason why Alice didn't come with Švankmajer shorts in support, despite a couple of particularly obvious candidates in Jabberwocky and Down to the Cellar. Although they loomed large in my original recommendations to the BFI, none of the shorts had been transferred to HD, and the BFI simply didn't have the budget to commission new telecines, especially not after the main feature involved much more work than was initially anticipated. Handily, the BFI was sitting on existing HD transfers of a number of other Alice in Wonderland-inspired shorts, which actually made the package more imaginative - but that's why they had to go down that route.

(Incidentally, the fact that the BFI isn't bringing these out despite the rights being up for grabs for years - and the BFI being well aware of this - also speaks volumes about their likely appeal!)

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tajmahal
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Re: Jan Svankmajer

#39 Post by tajmahal » Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:06 pm

antnield wrote:Verve in the UK have Conspirators of Pleasure, Lunacy and Surviving Life on the slate for June. DVD only.
Conspirators of Pleasure is his finest feature film. The film is perfectly paced, and it builds to an outrageously kinky, erotic crescendo. There are many moments of true surrealism. Great, great film.

You can't talk about the film without mentioning the use of music, always a Svankmajer specialty. His musical selection and placement is masterful.

I would have thought this, out of all his post-Alice films, would have had the potential to capture a decent, albeit niche audience. It would be difficult not to cut a wildly interesting trailer. I'm really surprised BFI didn't opt for the licence, though I imagine the OZU collection has sucked up a lot of resources.

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Re: Jan Svankmajer

#40 Post by swo17 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:10 pm

tajmahal wrote:Conspirators of Pleasure is his finest feature film.
I agree, but then I am biased, as the film is based (loosely) on my life. :-$
Last edited by swo17 on Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Jan Svankmajer

#41 Post by MichaelB » Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:13 pm

I think it's his best feature by miles, and I'd love to have worked on a BFI edition, but I imagine it was simply not considered commercially strong enough - given that the BFI would undoubtedly have wanted to go down the Alice dual-format route, but this involves spending much more money.

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Re: Jan Svankmajer

#42 Post by Zaki » Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:31 pm

I love Conspirators but even more so the amazing Faust. Currently, the far from perfect US Kino DVD is out of print (Amazon marketplace sellers offer a new copy for $69.95 or higher) and as far as I know it had no UK DVD release. I cherish my BFI Short Films and Alice. MichaelB, any chance we get at some point a BFI Faust?

By the way, Svankmajer's Faust: The Script is a great read (also out of print). Curiously, the things that happened to Svankmajer and his team during the shooting, as he himself narrates, are bizarre or even worse than that.

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Stephen
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Re: Jan Svankmajer

#43 Post by Stephen » Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:08 am

I love Conspirators but even more so the amazing Faust. Currently, the far from perfect US Kino DVD is out of print (Amazon marketplace sellers offer a new copy for $69.95 or higher) and as far as I know it had no UK DVD release. I cherish my BFI Short Films and Alice. MichaelB, any chance we get at some point a BFI Faust?
Seconded. Faust in my opinion is without doubt his finest feature and a hazy VHS release apart, has been unseen in the UK for far too long. Looking forward to Lunacy which I only saw very recently and loved the twists and turns of the narrative. Andrew Sachs narration on the English dub of Faust is truly marvelous.

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Re: Jan Svankmajer

#44 Post by MichaelB » Sun Dec 01, 2013 6:16 pm

Well, that was an unexpected surprise - I finally managed to see The Fall of the House of Usher in 35mm (having previously only seen it in unsubtitled VHS and subtitled DVD), and it was, predictably, visually overwhelming...

...but the surprise was that it was in English - and it turned out to be a vast improvement.

Obviously, I'm normally a stickler for original-language presentations, but I always felt that this film might play better in English. There's no technical challenge (the spoken content is entirely voice-over, so there are no lip-sync issues), the original language arguably is English since the Czech soundtrack is merely a translation of Edgar Allan Poe's original prose (which is then rendered back into English by the subtitles), and removing the subtitles makes a whopping difference.

This was the first film that Švankmajer began production on after several years of what he called "tactile experiments" that attempted to explore the creative potential of touch (incidentally, his book on his tactile work, initially published in five-copy samizdat in 1983, then more conventionally in 1994, is finally out in English at the end of January), and he intended Usher to be an overwhelmingly immersive experience - and there are no two ways about it: the subtitles (which are almost non-stop) simply get in the way. I much prefer watching the DVD with the subtitles switched off, but my Czech (and my memory of the Poe text) is nowhere near good enough to experience the synchronisation between word, image and tactile impression that Švankmajer clearly intended. This new version finally cracks the problem, and it's a pretty overwhelming experience.

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Re: Jan Svankmajer

#45 Post by petoluk » Mon Dec 02, 2013 3:37 am

Interesting! Do you happen to know if it was a newly created English dub or a contemporary one? (Like there are the two soundtracks - EN & CZ - for Jabberwocky.)

BTW, speaking of new books - not sure if this was mentioned 'round these parts already, but there's an excellent monograph on JS available in both Czech and English editions (published this summer):

Annotation (in English):
https://www.kosmas.cz/knihy/183694/jan-svankmajer/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Video - browsing through the book (at the end of the Czech article):
http://art.ihned.cz/umeni-a-design/c1-6 ... rbor-vitae" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Can be purchased e.g. here:
http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Jan-Van ... 8074670169" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Jan Svankmajer

#46 Post by MichaelB » Mon Dec 02, 2013 5:07 am

petoluk wrote:Interesting! Do you happen to know if it was a newly created English dub or a contemporary one? (Like there are the two soundtracks - EN & CZ - for Jabberwocky.)
I don't know - I certainly wasn't offered it for the Švankmajer shorts DVD, as I'd definitely have said yes.

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Re: Jan Å vankmajer

#47 Post by petoluk » Mon Apr 18, 2016 1:53 pm

petoluk wrote:Not sure if this is known already:

This morning, the maestro was a "guest" (via the phone) on the Czech news channel CT24. He was talking about the Rotterdam Film Festival, where he will present his latest, "Surviving Life", and he happened to mention they were going to try getting some sponsors there for his new project - working title "Hmyz" ("Insects"). It's supposed to be a story of a group of amateur theater players in some village or other, who rehearse Karel Capek's play "Ze zivota hmyzu" ("The Insect Comedy"), when - strangely enough - the scenes from the play start happening in their real lives... :o
And here it is: http://insectsmovie.com/

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Re: Jan Svankmajer

#48 Post by theflirtydozen » Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:14 pm

Note that if you contributed to the crowdfunding campaign for Insect, you most likely got a digital version of the film, which is now available! Check your email if this applies:
Dear backers and friends of Jan Švankmajer,
You may have already noticed that the movie was successfully premiered. For those of you who couldn't make it to the premiere, we have some wonderful news.
For today is the day. The "triple D" day. On this day we release the final version of the movie for all backers who purchased the perk Nymph 4 and above. And with it, we must issue a little warning.
To prevent any inconvenience we strongly advise all backers to unblock our mailing service (if you have done so in the past) or official email through which you received all the lovely newsletters. The download link will be delivered to the e-mail address you used for the registration.
If you check your inbox and it seems like nothing have arrived, don't panic just yet and carefully go through ALL e-mail folders in your inbox. That includes spam, social, commercials and such.
It may (and probably will) happen that the link for which all of you have been waiting so patiently for such a long stretch of time ends up somewhere in the dark and undesirable depths where you wouldn't normally bother to look. Trust us, it's the natural instinct of all insects to hide away from the light (and consequently from you). It happens and there is nothing we can do about it.
The second warning concerns the nature of the movie. There will be disturbing moments, there will be moments that will leave you perplexed and confused or even scared. But that's what you paid for, remember?

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MichaelB
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Re: Jan Švankmajer

#49 Post by MichaelB » Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:11 am

We get what’s effectively a six-month rental, followed by a download when the film has finished its commercial run.

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Re: Jan Švankmajer

#50 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Feb 22, 2018 1:21 pm

And of course the film on Blu-ray a few months after that when they are able to manufacture the boxset!

I hope that they don't mind me sharing the image I received of the film here:
Image

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