Frederick Wiseman on DVD

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Arn777
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Re: Frederick Wiseman on DVD

#76 Post by Arn777 » Thu Mar 19, 2009 9:10 am

foggy eyes wrote:Heads up for Londoners (or other interested parties in the UK): the BFI Filmstore (at NFT) is now stocking loads of Zipporah discs for quite reasonable prices. I picked up Near Death for £25 (after 10% member's discount) which, thanks to the current exchange rate, works out about £10 cheaper than importing. Other titles can be had for just under £20.
Thanks for the heads up, just been there to pick up Model, I think DState Legislature will be next on my list.

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Fiery Angel
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Re: Frederick Wiseman on DVD

#77 Post by Fiery Angel » Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:13 pm

Coming to Film Forum in NYC:
NOVEMBER 4-17
LA DANSE
THE PARIS OPERA BALLET

Directed & Edited by Frederick Wiseman
FRANCE / USA 2009 158 MINS IN FRENCH & ENGLISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES
ZIPPORAH FILMS
Documentary master Frederick Wiseman’s 38th film in a career that has spanned more than that number of years, turns his attention to one of the world’s greatest ballet companies, the Paris Opera Ballet. John Davey’s camera roams the vast Palais Garnier, an opulent 19th century pile of a building: from its crystal chandelier-laden corridors to its labyrinthine underground chambers, from its light-filled rehearsal studios to its luxurious theater replete with 2,200 scarlet velvet seats and Marc Chagall ceiling. LA DANSE devotes most of its time to watching impossibly beautiful young men and women – among them Nicolas Le Riche, Marie-Agnès Gillot, and Agnès Letestu – rehearsing the choreography of Mats Ek, Wayne McGregor, Rudolf Nureyev and Pina Bausch. For balletomanes and the curious alike, LA DANSE serves up a scrumptious meal of delectable moments, one more glorious than the next, made even more precious by their ephemeral nature.

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Oedipax
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Re: Frederick Wiseman on DVD

#78 Post by Oedipax » Sun Oct 25, 2009 12:57 am

Haven't seen this discussed anywhere (though I admittedly haven't looked too hard) but La Danse appears to be Wiseman's first non-1.37:1 film in... ever, right? Except perhaps the narrative Seraphita's Diary, about which I know very little. Anyway, going off the trailer and the stills released from Zipporah, La Danse is 'European widescreen,' 1.66:1. Negligible to most I'm sure but a big deal for Wiseman fanatics (like myself), no? Perhaps it's simply a practical concession to the more horizonally-oriented subject matter - judging from the trailer the film makes lovely use of the wider frame.

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foggy eyes
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Re: Frederick Wiseman on DVD

#79 Post by foggy eyes » Sun Oct 25, 2009 9:03 am

Oedipax wrote:Haven't seen this discussed anywhere (though I admittedly haven't looked too hard) but La Danse appears to be Wiseman's first non-1.37:1 film in... ever, right? Except perhaps the narrative Seraphita's Diary, about which I know very little. Anyway, going off the trailer and the stills released from Zipporah, La Danse is 'European widescreen,' 1.66:1. Negligible to most I'm sure but a big deal for Wiseman fanatics (like myself), no? Perhaps it's simply a practical concession to the more horizonally-oriented subject matter - judging from the trailer the film makes lovely use of the wider frame.
Yes, it is, and it looks great. But, also, this was shot on HD, right? (Perhaps not all of it - some could be 35mm rather than 16.) I've had a look around the internet and can't find any concrete info, although Variety suggests HD. It was projected from a digibeta at LFF, and the credits state that a 35mm blow-up was done too. This would make it FW's first digital film - a more significant shift?

Here's some caps, from, er, something which really doesn't represent what the film looks like at all. But the ratio is accurate:

Image
Image
Image

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Oedipax
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Re: Frederick Wiseman on DVD

#80 Post by Oedipax » Sun Oct 25, 2009 2:55 pm

I thought parts of the trailer looked like HD as well - but then Dennis Lim in the NYT made a comment about Wiseman's status as one of the few documentary filmmakers still shooting on 16mm, so maybe not? He does mention that, for the first time, Wiseman edited on an Avid but says for his next film he's going back to flatbed editing (his explanation for why isn't dissimilar to Godard's, interestingly). The move to Avid would certainly indicate there was perhaps some digital material integrated into the whole.

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foggy eyes
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Re: Frederick Wiseman on DVD

#81 Post by foggy eyes » Sun Oct 25, 2009 9:27 pm

Oedipax wrote:I thought parts of the trailer looked like HD as well - but then Dennis Lim in the NYT made a comment about Wiseman's status as one of the few documentary filmmakers still shooting on 16mm, so maybe not? [...] The move to Avid would certainly indicate there was perhaps some digital material integrated into the whole.
There certainly is - from the first frame onwards, I assumed the lot was HD (far too much definition in depth for 16mm + different quality of light), but I reckon there's probably film material in there too. I think Lim is merely making a sweeping statement, and a misleading one... Will try and get a concrete answer from somewhere!

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Elephant
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Re: Frederick Wiseman on DVD

#82 Post by Elephant » Thu Nov 05, 2009 10:50 am

Saw La Danse last night. I prefer Wiseman's more brutal films (Public Housing, Domestic Violence, Titicut Follies, Near Death, etc), but this was still really beautiful and enjoyable. A really nice use of the wide frame to capture the entire bodies of the dancers, with lots of interesting shots showing the dancers from the front and the back via studio mirrors. This is (obviously) one of his least talky films, probably my least favorite of the eighteen I've seen, but it's Wiseman, so it's certainly worth checking out. Lots of the expected humorous Wiseman insert shots, cutting from lithe ballet dancers to plates of fried chicken and creme brulee, or juxtaposing the athletic dancers with shots of fat people smoking in front of the building. (And of course plenty of gorgeous shots of Paris.)

Wiseman was at Film Forum last night for the premiere, and was so sharp and spry and quick--he's 79!--making a Q&A with lots of dumb questions quite funny and interesting.

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Re: Frederick Wiseman on DVD

#83 Post by bearcuborg » Thu Nov 05, 2009 12:37 pm

I thought the questions weren't so bad, (the one about the people being self aware seemed true the Paris ballet director seemed acurate), but it was quite funny in spots and of course beautifully shot. His quip about the bee scene was quite funny.

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Elephant
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Re: Frederick Wiseman on DVD

#84 Post by Elephant » Thu Nov 05, 2009 4:07 pm

bearcuborg wrote:I thought the questions weren't so bad, (the one about the people being self aware seemed true the Paris ballet director seemed acurate), but it was quite funny in spots and of course beautifully shot. His quip about the bee scene was quite funny.
I forgot about that one!

Q: Why did you include a scene showing bees on the roof?
Wiseman: I wanted to show that there were bees on the roof of the Paris Opera Ballet.

Hilarious. I also thought that the people in the film seemed a little more aware of the camera than usual, and when that question was asked I saw two people in front of me nodding their heads as well. Seemed to miff Wiseman a bit. It was nothing I could point to but given that it was a film about performers--because even the administration were former dancers who obviously love the stage--and was full of mirrors and people flying about, I guess it makes sense that you might feel people were more aware of the camera than usual.

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bearcuborg
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Re: Frederick Wiseman on DVD

#85 Post by bearcuborg » Thu Nov 05, 2009 4:11 pm

Elephant wrote:
bearcuborg wrote:I thought the questions weren't so bad, (the one about the people being self aware seemed true the Paris ballet director seemed acurate), but it was quite funny in spots and of course beautifully shot. His quip about the bee scene was quite funny.
I forgot about that one!

Q: Why did you include a scene showing bees on the roof?
Wiseman: I wanted to show that there were bees on the roof of the Paris Opera Ballet.

Hilarious. I also thought that the people in the film seemed a little more aware of the camera than usual, and when that question was asked I saw two people in front of me nodding their heads as well. Seemed to miff Wiseman a bit. It was nothing I could point to but given that it was a film about performers--because even the administration were former dancers who obviously love the stage--and was full of mirrors and people flying about, I guess it makes sense that you might feel people were more aware of the camera than usual.
That's a nice read: you're probably correct. I think I was sitting in front of you as well, I was to the left of that couple.

Earlier I went to Cafe Elven? It's on Dowling, next to Dizzy's... Yuck, horrible crepes, stay away. I only went to use the wifi, but I should have gone to that bbq place on Houston around the corner, that placed looked good.

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foggy eyes
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Re: Frederick Wiseman on DVD

#86 Post by foggy eyes » Thu Nov 05, 2009 8:40 pm

Review of La danse at The Auteurs.

Oedipax - turns out it's shot on Super 16! Still quite a radical shift from the usual 16mm, but I take back everything I said about HD above...

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Re: Frederick Wiseman on DVD

#87 Post by Oedipax » Fri Nov 06, 2009 12:28 am

Very interesting, thanks for the update (and I quite enjoyed your writeup at The Auteurs). Strange how some shots really do look like HD - I wonder if it's something to do with how the film was transferred/telecined to cut the trailer. I've noticed a similar effect on less-than-stellar video releases of things known to be shot on film. I always had put it down to weird PAL/NTSC conversion, but I doubt that was the case here.

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StevenJ0001
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Re: Frederick Wiseman on DVD

#88 Post by StevenJ0001 » Sun Nov 08, 2009 8:11 pm

I saw this superb film (La Danse) at the AFIFest in LA last weekend. One of my favorite films of the festival, and my first Wiseman!

I believe it was screened from an HD source and the whole film looked like it was shot on Super 16, as stated in a post above. The always-visible grain was luscious! :-)

If the other screening described above was from an SD source like DigiBeta, that may explain why it looked to have been shot on a digital format. SD can't resolve film grain so well and when the grain is less apparent, the "film look" is compromised.

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tavernier
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Re: Frederick Wiseman on DVD

#89 Post by tavernier » Thu Dec 10, 2009 3:55 pm

Year-long retro at MOMA:
Frederick Wiseman
January 20–December 31, 2010

To celebrate the recent acquisition of newly struck prints of 37 films by Frederick Wiseman (b. 1930, Boston), The Museum of Modern Art presents a comprehensive retrospective of the director’s work. Featuring three to four films each month, this yearlong survey opens with Basic Training (1971), introduced by Wiseman, and spans his entire career, from Titicut Follies (1967) to his two most recent projects, La Danse—The Paris Opera Ballet (2009) and Boxing Gym (2010).

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Oedipax
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Re: Frederick Wiseman on DVD

#90 Post by Oedipax » Fri Dec 11, 2009 6:23 am

tavernier wrote:Boxing Gym (2010)
!

Another film already. The man doesn't slow down!

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Elephant
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Re: Frederick Wiseman on DVD

#91 Post by Elephant » Fri Dec 11, 2009 6:25 pm

tavernier wrote:Year-long retro at MOMA:
Frederick Wiseman
January 20–December 31, 2010

To celebrate the recent acquisition of newly struck prints of 37 films by Frederick Wiseman (b. 1930, Boston), The Museum of Modern Art presents a comprehensive retrospective of the director’s work. Featuring three to four films each month, this yearlong survey opens with Basic Training (1971), introduced by Wiseman, and spans his entire career, from Titicut Follies (1967) to his two most recent projects, La Danse—The Paris Opera Ballet (2009) and Boxing Gym (2010).
Of course this happens after I ask my wife to buy me all the Wiseman DVDs I don't have for Christmas. And I get into MoMA for free. And it's next door to my office. I find his films endlessly rewatchable though, so I'm beyond excited for this--great, great filmmaker. And I imagine Boxing Gym will complement La Danse quite nicely.

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Gregory
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Re: Frederick Wiseman on DVD

#92 Post by Gregory » Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:35 pm

Has anyone contacted them recently to check in about the restoration and release of Cool World? I sent a message earlier in the month (after being told in 2008 to check back in 2009) but did not receive any reply.

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Re: Frederick Wiseman on DVD

#93 Post by Cash Flagg » Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:25 pm

Gregory wrote:Has anyone contacted them recently to check in about the restoration and release of Cool World?
I wish I had news for you regarding THE COOL WORLD, but I’m afraid 2009 has come and gone and we still do not have a release scheduled. We have been dealing with the release of Frederick Wiseman’s latest documentary, and it has taken precedence. I do assure you that as soon as something further has developed, we will update our website accordingly.

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Gregory
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Re: Frederick Wiseman on DVD

#94 Post by Gregory » Thu Jan 07, 2010 7:54 pm

Thanks

This is unfortunate. Understandably, Wiseman's own work is the main priority for Zipporah, but I think he also has responsibilities as producer and distributor of The Cool World. Leaving it on the back burner means a missed opportunity to right past (alleged) wrongs, foremost a failure to promote the film and provide adequate financing for its completion and success. There are two sides to the argument, of course, but given Clarke's longstanding anger toward Wiseman over all this, I think it definitely looks bad for them to let it languish while making virtually all of Wiseman's work available on DVD-R.
I don't mean to stir up controversy for the sake of doing so. After waiting a couple of years (and then some) I do think some of this back history bears mentioning.

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Re: Frederick Wiseman on DVD

#95 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:47 pm

bearcuborg wrote:I thought the questions weren't so bad, (the one about the people being self aware seemed true the Paris ballet director seemed acurate), but it was quite funny in spots and of course beautifully shot. His quip about the bee scene was quite funny.
A late reply but I've only just listened to it - the Q & A talked about above is available as a podcast here.

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Re: Frederick Wiseman on DVD

#96 Post by foggy eyes » Mon Jan 11, 2010 4:41 pm

colinr0380 wrote:A late reply but I've only just listened to it - the Q & A talked about above is available as a podcast here.
Thanks for the tip, Colin!

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Re: Frederick Wiseman on DVD

#97 Post by Dadapass » Wed Mar 10, 2010 12:40 am

According to Film Comment, Wiseman spent 10 weeks last year shooting at the Paris nightclub Le Crazy Horse. This new film will document the making of a cabaret show called Désirs and will be released via Zipporah Films.

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foggy eyes
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Re: Frederick Wiseman on DVD

#98 Post by foggy eyes » Wed Mar 10, 2010 7:35 am

Dadapass wrote:According to Film Comment, Wiseman spent 10 weeks last year shooting at the Paris nightclub Le Crazy Horse. This new film will document the making of a cabaret show called Désirs and will be released via Zipporah Films.
Interesting! Thanks for letting us know.

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Re: Frederick Wiseman on DVD

#99 Post by yoshimori » Tue Jun 08, 2010 2:15 am

7.26.2010, r2uk: La Danse

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Re: Frederick Wiseman on DVD

#100 Post by Oedipax » Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:38 pm

Missed this during Cannes, but here's a great video interview with Wiseman talking about Boxing Gym and its relation to his other films as well as an illuminating rundown of his editing methodology. Wiseman, uncannily timely as ever, at one point shows a man shooting video of some boxing action on his digital SLR (likely a 5D/7D).

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