The Goddess

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by the BFI and the films on them.

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MichaelB
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The Goddess

#1 Post by MichaelB » Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:28 pm

The Goddess (DVD) is an iconic silent classic from China, featuring a devastating performance from one of the most famous Chinese actresses of the period, Ruan Lingyu. This will be the first time the film has been made available in the UK.
Out on 24 April.

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L.A.
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Re: The Goddess

#2 Post by L.A. » Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:47 pm

Too bad only DVD again :(. Are the Chinese films really in that bad shape to not warrant a Blu-ray?

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domino harvey
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Re: The Goddess

#3 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:51 pm

Spring in a Small Town wasn't fit for a streaming RealPlayer feed much less DVD

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lzx
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Re: The Goddess

#4 Post by lzx » Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:34 am

domino harvey wrote:Spring in a Small Town wasn't fit for a streaming RealPlayer feed much less DVD
But that was mostly an audio issue, no? This being a silent film, I'm wondering what the "restorers" did to mess it up.

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andyli
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Re: The Goddess

#5 Post by andyli » Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:57 am

I presume the BFI edition will mirror the DVD released by San Francisco Silent Film Society circa. 2005. If that is the case then the restoration was probably not done in HD anyway.

Edit: I have just seen the cover art and it says "A new restoration by the China Film Archive" fwiw.

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tenia
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Re: The Goddess

#6 Post by tenia » Fri Jan 20, 2017 5:36 am

lzx wrote:
domino harvey wrote:Spring in a Small Town wasn't fit for a streaming RealPlayer feed much less DVD
But that was mostly an audio issue, no? This being a silent film, I'm wondering what the "restorers" did to mess it up.
I think it's 2 different things. The elements for Spring were very damaged, and the god-awful sound notably was the most visible part of it but not the only thing.
In this case, I suppose that the elements are again too damaged to warrant a BD release.

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TMDaines
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Re: The Goddess

#7 Post by TMDaines » Fri Jan 20, 2017 5:39 am

Ditto on disappointment of lack of Blu-ray.

Applause for releasing some different silents... just please tell me we will get Chinese intertitles!

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Re: The Goddess

#8 Post by FrauBlucher » Fri Jan 20, 2017 8:51 am

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What A Disgrace
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Re: The Goddess

#9 Post by What A Disgrace » Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:33 pm

This, and the other three April titles, are up for pre-order on Amazon. Still no pre-order for the Lino Brocka set.

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Re: The Goddess

#10 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Fri Jan 20, 2017 3:52 pm

Stoked about this, it's a great, great film.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: The Goddess

#11 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Jan 23, 2017 6:44 pm

thirtyframesasecond wrote:Stoked about this, it's a great, great film.
I wonder how "improved" this will be over its prior release?

And i also wonder whether Hiroshi Shimizu managed to see this -- as his 1937 Forget Love for Now shares a number of features with Goddess (but goes in its own sad direction ultimately).

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Re: The Goddess

#12 Post by dshooker » Thu Feb 02, 2017 10:00 am

TMDaines wrote:Ditto on disappointment of lack of Blu-ray.

Applause for releasing some different silents... just please tell me we will get Chinese intertitles!
Look's like we will! BFI's promo video for The Goddess's restoration shows Chinese intertitles with subtitles which is an option the San Francisco Film Society version didn't have. The new score sounds pretty great as well!

New restoration aside, my hope is that BFI stack this release with extras to make up for the SFFS's version being very bare bones, possibly a documentary about Xia Yu seeing as she's the driving force of the film & a fantastic actress.
Last edited by dshooker on Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:04 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: The Goddess

#13 Post by MichaelB » Wed Mar 22, 2017 12:28 pm

Full specs announced:
The Goddess
A film by Wu Yonggang
New score by Zou Ye


Newly restored by the China Film Archive, this iconic 1934 film also boasts a new score by renowned composer Zou Ye.

Premiered at the BFI London Film Festival in 2014, The Goddess now comes to DVD, released by the BFI on 24 April 2017. This long-awaited release makes one of the most important early Chinese films finally available in the UK, and will delight all fans of silent cinema.

Ruan Lingyu, one of the most famous stars of early Chinese cinema, gives a devastating performance as an unnamed ‘goddess’ – an ironic euphemism for a prostitute – in this profoundly moving but rarely seen classic of world cinema. In a tragic tale of shame and maternal sacrifice, Ruan stars as a mother desperate to provide for her young son and forced to take brutal vengeance on her pimp. It is a profoundly moving drama made all the more poignant by the fact that its star committed suicide at the age of 24, a year after the film’s release.

The film’s new score by Zou Ye, a Chinese modern classical and film music composer, is performed here by the China Philharmonic Orchestra. It was commissioned by the KT Wong Foundation which was established in 2007 and is dedicated to fostering the arts and cultural exchange between China and the rest of the world through collaborative projects.

Special features
• 8-page booklet

Product details
RRP: £19.99/ Cat. no. BFIV2105 / Cert PG
China / 1934 / black and white / 78 mins / silent, Mandarin intertitles with English subtitles / original aspect ratio 1.33:1
DVD9: PAL 25fps, PCM 2.0 stereo audio (48 kHz/24-bit)

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Re: The Goddess

#14 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:14 pm

dshooker wrote:New restoration aside, my hope is that BFI stack this release with extras to make up for the SFFS's version being very bare bones, possibly a documentary about Xia Yu seeing as she's the driving force of the film & a fantastic actress.
To be fair -- the SFFS DVD was part of a set with a book (at least when it first came out).

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Re: The Goddess

#15 Post by dshooker » Tue Apr 04, 2017 7:41 am

Michael Kerpan wrote:To be fair -- the SFFS DVD was part of a set with a book (at least when it first came out).
True, although I lament getting a later version and having to buy the book separate (a great investment, nonetheless). At least BFI will give us the Mandarin intertitles with English subs, the Chinese print always looked more crisper than the English version's source.

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Re: The Goddess

#16 Post by dshooker » Tue Apr 11, 2017 2:52 pm


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Michael Kerpan
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Re: The Goddess

#17 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue Apr 11, 2017 3:55 pm

Nothing about the DVD Beaver screenshots convinces me that theis new version is overall better than the SFFS (PAL) version.

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Re: The Goddess

#18 Post by dshooker » Tue Apr 11, 2017 7:53 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:Nothing about the DVD Beaver screenshots convinces me that theis new version is overall better than the SFFS (PAL) version.
Agreed. If anything it's brighter, which exposes certain details, and zoomed in order to hide the round corners, but otherwise the same in terms of resolution. A tad disappointing.

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Re: The Goddess

#19 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:01 pm

The screen shots make it look almost washed out (blown out?) -- instead of the (presumably appropriate) noir-ish look of the SFFS version.

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Re: The Goddess

#20 Post by lzx » Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:21 am

It also looks horizontally stretched, especially in Ruan's close-ups.

Confusingly, Gary claims the BFI DVD has no background music even though the new score is one of its biggest selling points.

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Re: The Goddess

#21 Post by whaleallright » Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:17 am

My sense is that the BFI is entirely beholden to what the China Film Archive provides them. I guess they feel that getting these films more widely seen is more important than holding out, likely indefinitely, for better versions, and I can't entirely disagree with that. But there's a reason why no label in, say, the U.S. seems interested in picking these CFA titles up.

Indeed, in some cases the now out-of-print Cinema Epoch DVDs, which AFAICT were just bootlegs of mainland releases with proper English subtitles and some unfortunate contrast boosting, are more watchable than the new versions. Or listenable, rather: the digital distortion present throughout the BFI Spring in a Small Town, an artifact of the CFA's botched "restoration," is one of the worst things ever done to a great film IMO.
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Re: The Goddess

#22 Post by tenia » Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:49 am

What about the extra 5 minutes of runtime ? Is it a by-product of a PAL / NTSC difference or is the BFI copy more complete ? That should also be quite a high selling point, no ?

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Re: The Goddess

#23 Post by MichaelB » Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:58 am

The BFI should logically be the shorter version if it was purely down to PAL speedup.

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tenia
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Re: The Goddess

#24 Post by tenia » Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:31 pm

But since the SFFS NTSC disc seems to have the same runtime than the PAL disc, I wondered if it might have been a possibility.
So, in any case, it looks like the BFI version is clearly longer.

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Re: The Goddess

#25 Post by MichaelB » Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:56 pm

But since it's a silent film, the framerate might be different. Someone would have to compare the two directly.

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