It is currently Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:39 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 52 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Ukrainian Films on DVD
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:59 am 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:01 pm
Location: Stretford, Manchester
With being engaged to a Ukrainian and all, I'm trying to find out what Ukrainian films are available on good DVDs with English subtitles in the West or elsewhere. It seems that the number of films is very limited to Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (Тіні забутих предків) from Artificial Eye (and of slightly lesser quality from Kino) and Dovzhenko's Ukrainian trilogy from Bongo's. I've done some searching but cannot find any others.

As anyone who spends any time in the old Soviet Union knows the overwhelming vast majority of DVDs are pirated and/or are of terrible quality. My fiancee's father gave me a disk of 16 Ukrainian films, knowing I was into cinema, but as one would expect they were mainly of terrible quality - pan & scans, dubs into Russian, camcorder copies from a cinema etc. I'm going to trawl through some shops here later this week and maybe I'll find one or two decent looking legit disks but naturally they won't have subs.

Can anyone help me? I know full well that Ukrainian cinema wasn't and still isn't in the best bill of health after being suppressed by Russia(n) but I surely must be overlooking something.

P.S. I read about the Dovzhenko set produced by the Ukrainian government for diplomats. Hilarious, all that work for only ten sets to be manufactured.


Top
 Profile  
 

PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:21 am 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
TMDaines wrote:
P.S. I read about the Dovzhenko set produced by the Ukrainian government for diplomats. Hilarious, all that work for only ten sets to be manufactured.


They did something similar in Poland last year: a gorgeously deluxe doorstopper of a box set containing two Blu-rays and a DVD crammed with Chopin-related features and documentaries (many of them, especially the HD titles, clearly restored at some expense), which seems to have been sent out exclusively to embassies and cultural institutions. Thankfully, the one sent to the BFI ended up on my desk (with impeccable timing, only a few weeks before I left), but I wouldn't like to guess how many of the others even got opened, let alone watched. Jonathan Rosenbaum also got a copy: he mentions it here (section 2).

I wish I could help regarding Ukrainian cinema, but Paradjanov/Dovzhenko is about my limit.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:20 am 
User avatar

Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 7:33 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland
I recommend seeing The White Bird Marked with Black (1971) if you ever have the chance. Not sure if this is available on DVD though.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:17 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 3:26 am
Location: East of Shanghai
This should help a bit:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Ukrainian_films

Natalka Poltavka (Наталка Полтавка, 1936) directed by Ivan Kavaleridze
sounds interesting, based on an 1819 Ukrainian play and 1821 opera.
Quote:
The play was made into a film that was released on December 24, 1936 in Ukraine. The film was directed by Ivan Kavaleridze. This film was the first adaptation of an operetta produced in the former Soviet Union.

Another film, directed by Ukrainian American Vasyl Avramenko, was released a year later on February 14, 1937 in the United States. This was the first Ukrainian language film produced in the United States


Here's a 2003 article on the Harvard Film Archive acquiring 11 Ukrainian feature films primarily from 1936 - 1970, along with some short films and propaganda shorts. Sounds like Harvard has a significant Ukrainian studies department which could direct you to Ukrainian films. And the article drops a few names of folks you could contact. Usually in such a relatively small sphere, folks are willing to be helpful when others show interest.

And here's a Ukrainian site with an overview of the history of Ukrainian films.

Let us know if you turn up anything good.
Or whatever you can turn up on (English subbed) dvd.
I have a Ukrainian-American friend who teaches sociology, Ukrainian studies, and feminism, and I would like to see what I can see, and pass along recs to her.


Last edited by Lemmy Caution on Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:11 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:01 pm
Location: Stretford, Manchester
MichaelB wrote:
...but I wouldn't like to guess how many of the others even got opened, let alone watched.

I wish I could help regarding Ukrainian cinema, but Paradjanov/Dovzhenko is about my limit.

I thought the exact same thing. Most people couldn't care less for classic cinema in their own language, yet alone one as foreign as Ukrainian/Russian.

Thanks for the reply anyway. You were one of the people who I had in mind who could have possibly helped me out here!

L.A. wrote:
I recommend seeing The White Bird Marked with Black (1971) if you ever have the chance. Not sure if this is available on DVD though.

I've seen it here on the shelves in Lviv and it was going to be the first thing I pick up when I try out some Ukrainian discs for size.

Lemmy Caution wrote:
Here's a 2003 article on the Harvard Film Archive acquiring 11 Ukrainian feature films primarily from 1936 - 1970, along with some short films and propaganda shorts. Sounds like Harvard has a significant Ukrainian studies department which could direct you to Ukrainian films. And the article drops a few names of folks you could contact. Usually in such a relatively small sphere, folks are willing to be helpful when others show interest[/url].

Good suggestion. Perhaps I'll drop them an e-mail in the next week or so and see whether they can recommend anything.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 11:01 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:01 pm
Location: Stretford, Manchester
According to this and this it seems as if dozens of Ukrainian films are in the process of being remastered and prepared for English-friendly DVDs. My only question is where? Bizarrely Ukrainian films are non-existant inside Ukrainian DVD stores so I can't see much market there. I can't help but think that this will be another embassy special.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 6:47 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm
According to the end of that article, there will be two versions, the deluxe diplomatic one and a standard one for distribution "in specialized trade networks" - whatever they turn out to be! If anybody discovers one of them, let us know!


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 10:15 am 
User avatar

Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 7:33 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre on Facebook


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 10:01 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2009 12:33 am
Kira Muratova is Ukrainian and one of my favourite directors. I would especially recommend The Asthenic Syndrome (Astenicheskiy sindrom).


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 8:06 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:01 pm
Location: Stretford, Manchester
After the suggestion to perhaps contact some people who are in the know when it comes to Ukrainian cinema, I decided to write to Yuri Shevchuk at Columbia who seems to run its Ukrainian film club, which has access to many Ukrainian films with English subtitles. This, in the end, turned out to be a fruitful decision. I first wrote to them before Christmas and basically summerised that I was an English student who was studying languages and had developed an interest in film. As I had a Ukrainian partner, I wanted to watch some films from her country but it had proved almost impossible thus far as there is very little available and even less that is of reasonable quality or with English subtitles. I noted that I'd be delighted if they could help me get hold of some films in any way or at least point me in the right direction. They forwarded me on to someone (Ivan Kozlenko) at the Dovezhenko Centre in Ukraine, which is essentially their national film institute, and told me that they should be able to provide me with some DVDs.

Kozlenko told me that they could happily send me some films of Dovzhenko, Illienko and Mykolaichuk, all of which would be English subtitled, and that I'd only have to pay for postage. He also told me about the further set of other silent Ukrainian films on which he was working and that this would be ready in the new year and would be available to purchase. In the end we were both going to be in Lviv over New Year so we had arranged to meet, but unfortunately we were unable to as the Ukrainian silent films set was behind schedule so he had to stay and work on it. I was happy to wait until this set was finished so he could send them to me all at once but, in truth, I did get a little anxious though as this all seemed to good to be true.

I needn't have worried, however. At the beginning of April he sent three sets to Lviv with a friend, who I had my partner meet as I wasn't there. They were the Illienko, Mykolaichuk and Silent Ukrainian sets. I wrote to Kozlenko thanking him for everything whilst at the same time asking about the Dovzhenko DVDs. He apoligised and told me that were no more of these available. I, of course, was both very happy but also disappointed as I'd have loved to get ahold of some of Dovzhenko's rarer works on DVD. My fiancee showed me the sets over Skype and they did indeed look great, although I was very excited to get here and have a look myself as it still seemed too good to be true. About a week later it got even better. An unexpected parcel arrived in Ukraine with another copy of the Illienko and Mykolaichuk boxes... in addition to the Dovzhenko set. It seems wires got crossed at some point and he had instructed a colleague to send me the disks while he was away at the Berlinale and hadn't realised that his colleague had actually done it. As the postal system took its time to take the parcel from Kiev to Lviv, the parcel was sent a while before his friend came to Lviv but arrived much later.

Anyway, I'm now in possession of four boxsets of Ukrainian films, all of which have English subtitles... and one of which is the much fabled Dovzhenko set! As you'll see below, the fact that they were just referred to as "some DVDs" in the e-mails at times really undersells them. All of them are excellent quality boxsets.

---

First of all, the Oleksandr Dovzhenko set:

ImageImageImageImageImageImage

I'm sure a few people here will have seen this set in various places online. Essentially it contains his entire surviving oeuvre. Ten discs in total, nine of are his films, as well as a tenth disc that features documentaries on the man and his work. All of the films have English, Russian, Ukrainian and French subtitles, have been restored and are in their OAR etc. Look on Wikipedia or IMDb if you wish to see a complete list: he made 16 films in total, 15 are here. Vasya, The Reformer is lost, while The Diplomatic Pouch is missing the first reel or two. The set has two versions of Zvenigora, Arsenal and Earth, with them being shown silent at their original run speed and with the soundtracks for their re-releases in the 1970s which were slowed down. Each disk has brief linear notes included for the contained films. Then there are two thick books: one of which is a bibliographical timelime of Dovezhenko's life (100 pages per language); the other is the book Dovzhenko wrote for Ukraine in Flames and has speech by Stalin on Dovzhenko and Soviet film (couple hundred pages). There are another two pamphlets with the screenplay for the lost film Vasya. All of this is bilingual English and Ukrainian.

---

The second set is the Mykolaichuk set:

ImageImageImageImageImageImage

All eight films on this set have both Ukrainian and Russian tracks, as well as Ukrainian, Russian and English subtitles. The only exception to this isShadows, which only has a Ukrainian track. All the films have been restored and are in their OARs. No written material this time but a beautiful set on the whole. Each beautiful foldout digipak has a brief summary of the film in English and Ukrainian.

---

The third set is the Illienko set:

ImageImageImageImageImageImage

This time, five of these films have the Ukrainian track and both Ukrainian and English subtitles. The two exceptions are The Forest Song, Mavka and The Legend of Princess Olha. Both of these films seemed to have had a difficult time with the Soviet censors of the time and the Ukrainian track for both of these films didn't make it past them. Forest has both a Ukrainian and Russian track, although the Ukrainian one uses the Russian where parts have still not been found. Princess Olha has just the Russian track as the Ukrainian one is completely lost. Both of these two releases have Russian subs alongside the Ukrainian and English ones. Again, all the films have been restored and are in their OARs. Each beautiful foldout digipak has a brief summary of the film in English and Ukrainian.

These Mykolaichuk and Illienko sets are quite amazing considering the majority of these films are barely available in the West - Shadows is pretty much the only exception to this - even as torrrents on private trackers, and if they are then they are either cropped, of very poor quality or they tend to only have the Russian audio, which isn't the intention as these are very much Ukrainian films with Ukrainian-speaking Ukrainian people.

Both of these sets, and the Dovzhenko one too, were commissioned by Ukraine's Ministry of Culture and Tourism and were made for cultural exchange or gifts and, hence, were not be sold commercially. As a result all have on screen messages that appear once or twice during the films noting that these discs were part of a non-commerical set etc. and to buy or sell them is illegal. I stress that, thankfully, the text is small, much smaller than the subtitles in fact, and it isn't particularly distracting at all, and is really a minute price to pay to be able to own these films.

---

The fourth and final box is the Ukrainian silent films set that was alluded into in previous posts. I believe it will be available for purchase eventually, although I was just given mine along with the others:

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

There are six Ukrainian/Soviet silent films all of which have had new scores recorded. Some are a little wacky and avant garde; some are a little more traditional. The six are grouped thematically: Psychological Drama, Revolutionary Epic and Non-Fiction Film. The films, respectively, are Zvenigora (original version) and Perekop, Man with a Movie Camera and In Spring, and Two Days and Night Coachman. Two Days also has its original soundtrack, as well as Man with a Movie Camera having its In the Nursey score. All films have Ukrainian interitles, in place of the original Russian - although it's important to reflect on how Russian would have been all but mandatory back in the day and Ukrainian wouldn't have been a choice - and English, French, German, Spanish and Russian subtitles. From the point of view of flavour the two languages are very, very, similar anyway. In the box there are also nine beautiful poster postcards and an generously thick book detailing the project, the films and the directors and actors involved. It's over 250+ pages thick and in both English and Ukrainian.

---

All four sets are truly fantastic and are as good as anything I own, especially when you take into account how difficult it would be to see these films otherwise. Any of them would be release of the year contenders if they were released over here. I was hoping to just get pointed in the direction of some decent quality video files, or perhaps some DVD-Rs(!), when I started looking into this. Never did I expect to be sent all of these sets for only taking the time for some e-mail correspondence!


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:42 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 7:33 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland
I am going to Kiev in the first week of December. Any good film stores there?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:12 am 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:01 pm
Location: Stretford, Manchester
For what? As I noted the concept of Ukrainian film is nearly non-existent and there's only a few commerical DVDs of Ukrainian films out there, which are all barebones and without foreign-language subtitles.

Do what I did if you're interested in Ukrainian cinema.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:27 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 7:33 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre website now in English as well.

While in Kiev (first week of December) I visited the Centre. I got the Dovzhenko, Mykolaichuk, Illienko and Ukrainian Re-vision sets + these as well:

Enthusiasm (1930)
Borys Kosarev’s View of Earth


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:47 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:01 pm
Location: Stretford, Manchester
That's great to hear! I got told there was no more Dovzhenko sets initially, then one mysteriously turned up in the mail, so it's good to hear more are available.

Did you pay for them? And if so, how much are they now selling them for?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:00 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 7:33 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland
^ I got everything for free.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:31 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:01 pm
Location: Stretford, Manchester
Awesome. I've shamefully not watched too much of the sets so far. I know I'm going to be hard pressed to get anything after these so I wanted watch it over the next few years. I've made my way through the first four discs of the Dovzhenko set and the first two films in the Mykolaichuk box. I really enjoyed Son (A Dream). Beautiful colours and a great film. A really enjoyable biopic.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 5:17 am 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
I've watched the whole of the silent box Ukrainian Re-Vision.

Of the four titles I hadn't previously seen (you can probably guess upfront which two I had!), I enjoyed the two fiction features Two Days and The Night Coachman, both of which had more in common with Murnau than concurrent Soviet filmmakers - The Night Coachman was particularly impressive in its depiction of its protagonist's mental disintegration.

I wasn't that taken with Perekop, which needs a lot of footnotes for comprehension (provided, to be fair, by the massive booklet - or rather book), but In Spring was an utter delight: very much in Man with a Movie Camera territory (unsurprisingly, since Mikhail Kaufman worked extensively on both) but lighter and funnier. It's baffling to me why it isn't as renowned as the other Soviet films of the period - the lack of heavy-handed propaganda might have made it less attractive to the kind of distributors that handled Eisenstein, Pudovkin and Vertov.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:34 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 7:46 pm
I've been trying to email the Dovzhenko Centre about their DVDs, but the address on their website (info@dovzhenkocentre.org) keeps bouncing back as an unregistered address. Anyone have any additional info or advice?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:35 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:01 pm
Location: Stretford, Manchester
Sorry I forget to reply to you. Is it the DVD sets you're after? I have the address of someone there who could help you out.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:58 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 7:46 pm
No problem! Yeah, the DVD sets look absolutely amazing and I'd love to have a chance to check them out. If you could post the address or send it via PM, that would be great.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 12:39 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT
Trying to acquire some of these DVDs from the Dovzhenko Centre, I got the following response:

Quote:
We are ready to send you the DVD collection for free if you pay the shipping fee. To organize that, you have to have a DHL account and send us an official sealed letter (example is attached; scanned copy is enough) of request from an institution you represent.

The sample letter they provided was from a film professor on the official letterhead of his university. I had said straight up in my original request that I was simply seeking the DVDs for my own personal use. Has anyone else gotten to this point, and if so, what have you done from here?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 1:22 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
I'm afraid I played the "I'm reviewing it" card - and they got in touch a few months later to request a copy of the review. Thankfully, I had actually written and published one in the meantime, so it was a mere formality - but I just thought I'd confirm that they do check!


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 1:36 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT
Also, can a single person even get a personal DHL account, or are those just for companies/institutions?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 4:14 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:01 pm
Location: Stretford, Manchester
Things have changed since I got mine. I have had about dozen people ask me for their contact details so perhaps they've been getting more requests. I got mine sent to my fiancee's Ukrainian address so didn't have to bother with courier.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 4:35 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
My Sight & Sound review might have triggered quite a few enquiries too.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 52 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group




This site is not affiliated with The Criterion Collection