Roberto Rossellini on Blu-ray and DVD

Discuss internationally-released DVDs and Blu-rays or other international DVD and Blu-ray-related topics.
Message
Author
User avatar
Tommaso
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 10:09 am

#51 Post by Tommaso » Sat Mar 08, 2008 6:55 am

ptmd wrote: The film's a masterpiece, of course, but it's unlikely we'll see a good DVD of it in the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, I think that's equally true of many if not most of Rossellini's films.
You're quite right there, especially with regard to the earliest films (which sadly happen to be among his very best, like "Paisa"). But what about his later TV works, for instance? Some of them are out in France (unsubbed), so at least these could be presented to the English-speaking world until someone has managed to do good restos of the older films. And if I look at the screencaps of the Optimum "Era notte", a film made in 1960, and compare that mess to the Italian Minerva disc of "Generale della Rovere", made in 1959, I can't believe that the disc had to be that bad. The "Rovere" restoration is absolutely stunning and well-transferred to dvd (some slight compression issues notwithstanding), so I only hope that the Italians find the means and support to do some justice to at least some of the early films.

kekid
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 9:55 pm

#52 Post by kekid » Sat Mar 08, 2008 2:11 pm

In his "My Voyage to Italy" Martin Scorsese devotes longest time to Rossellini. The extracts included from his several films seem to be in reasonably good shape. What source did Mr. Scorsese use for his documentary? Does that source not have complete versions of these films?

ptmd
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:12 pm

#53 Post by ptmd » Sat Mar 08, 2008 3:20 pm

General Della Rovere is universally considered Rossellini's most commercial films, so the likely explanation is simply that the materials are in better condition because it was produced by a major studio. The TV films are in good condition, once again because they were produced by organizations that took care of the film materials, and they could definitely be released in English-friendly versions (many of them - Socrates, Anno Uno, and Cartesio - already are in Italy). The same holds true, much to everyone's surprise, with Joan of Arc at the Stake, which was long considered lost. Good prints of Viva L'Italia also exist, and I believe the negative is still extant, so that's another possibility. It's films like India and the Rossellini/Bergman collaborations that are in worse shape. The BFI disc of Voyage to Italy uses the best print of the English version in existence, the one owned by the BFI, and even that leaves a lot to be desired. The clips to the Scorsese documentary, by the way, come from various sources but are mostly limited to major films for which decent prints, or at least parts of prints, are available - Open City, Paisa, Flowers of St. Francis, Stromboli, and Voyage to Italy. The problem with some of these, like Stromboli, is that the print histories are often very complicated so while there might be long sections that look really good, the prints may also be incomplete for one reason or another.

Anyways, I keep holding out hope that Masters of Cinema or somebody will release a box-set of Rossellini's amazing TV films, which already exist in perfectly adequate digital transfers. This would be perfect Eclipse material, but somehow I don't see Criterion taking the plunge.

User avatar
Don Lope de Aguirre
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2006 5:39 pm
Location: London

#54 Post by Don Lope de Aguirre » Fri May 23, 2008 1:49 pm

For Rossellini fans/completists

User avatar
Tommaso
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 10:09 am

#55 Post by Tommaso » Fri May 23, 2008 3:32 pm

Don Lope de Aguirre wrote:For Rossellini fans/completists
Yeah, I saw that announcement, too, and actually thought about picking it up on my coming holidays in Italy; so has anyone seen "Amore di mezzo secolo"? From the description I read somewhere it sounded somewhat similar to "L'amore in citta" (which I quite liked), but I would like to know more. The inclusion of a Rossellini episode is intriguing in any case.

wpqx
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 5:01 am

#56 Post by wpqx » Mon Jun 16, 2008 6:04 pm

Pardon me for bumping an older thread, but I got a chance to watch Socrates today and was impressed more by the quality of the DVD transfer than the film itself. Certainly fits into his biographical period and it's a curious choice considering the myth of Socrates and whether or not he actually did exist or was a creation of Plato. The film does get dialogue heavy at times and the subtitles were good but not perfect. However the more Rosselini I see the more I enjoy, but it seems that every time I see a film from one of Italy's big four (Fellini, Antonioni, Visconti, Rossellini) I seem to have a new favorite.

User avatar
myrnaloyisdope
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2008 7:41 pm
Contact:

#57 Post by myrnaloyisdope » Fri Jun 27, 2008 11:58 pm

Why isn't Europa '51 available on DVD? It's my favorite Rossellini film, as well as being one of the few he made with Ingrid Bergman. A great film with a big star should equal a DVD release right? So why has Europa been neglected for so long?

User avatar
ellipsis7
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 1:56 pm
Location: Dublin

#58 Post by ellipsis7 » Sat Jun 28, 2008 5:33 am

myrnaloyisdope wrote:Why isn't Europa '51 available on DVD? It's my favorite Rossellini film, as well as being one of the few he made with Ingrid Bergman. A great film with a big star should equal a DVD release right? So why has Europa been neglected for so long?
I'm speculating, but Rossellini left many of his films in a rights mess - he cared about his art, but left the financial and business end in a tangle, sometimes selling the same rights to different parties simultaneously etc... Anyone who would give him money would be entertained...

The History Films about to appear on Eclipse were made for television stations (RAI etc.) so the rights situation for these is clear and simple... They lie with the single commissioning body who fully financed the productions...

User avatar
david hare
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:01 pm
Location: WellyYeller

#59 Post by david hare » Sat Jun 28, 2008 6:16 pm

Another aspect of Rossellini's Bergman films - i.e. the "correct" language version - was canvassed recently at the Beaver listserv. I invoked the name of Tag Gallagher who promptly replied with this:
Re: Europa '51 - Language?

Speaking for Tag Gallagher, I would say that preference should be given to the language in which a film was shot and to the language the principal actors are speaking, rather than to versions dubbed by people not otherwise in the movie. In almost all cases, Rossellini's films were shot with scratch tracks and then dubbed later.

So: Germany Year Zero was shot in German with Germans. Rossellini had nothing to do with the Italian dubbing, which was handled by Amidei.

Stromboli: if you want Ingrid Bergman's voice, then you want English. Most of the supporting players, except the priest, were shot speaking Italian, then dubbed into English, but they have little to say in any case. Furthermore, the Italian edition (Stromboli terra di Dio) runs 97 mins vs. 106 mins for the English version.

Europe '51: Bergman and Alexander Knox are Hollywood actors speaking English; other people's voices dub them in Italian. The supporting players are Italian (I don't know if Giulietta Masina dubbed herself in English) and very very badly dubbed in English.

Voyage in Italy. There is no more reason to call this "Viaggio in Italia" than to refer to Citizen Kane as Il citadino Kane. Bergman, George Sanders and the estate agent (an American actor) were all shot in English -- then dubbed by others in the Italian edition (which, moreover, lacks a scene).

Fear/Angst. Most of it was shot twice, I don't know if in direct sound, probably. The German lead was famous for his speaking voice, and I believe it's also Bergman's voice in German (and of course in English). The English version has some scenes missing from the German.

Joan of Arc. Both Italian and French versions equally valid, but Ingrid seems more at home to me in Italian.

For the later tv films, the situation is more complicated, as, given the quantity of dialog, it seems to me always preferable to have things in the language of the spectators. Rossellini himself had almost nothing to do with the post-production dubbing of these movies:

Louis XIV: shot in French in direct sound.

Socrates: shot in French with mostly French actors who dub themselves in French; also the dialog is different in the dubbed Italian; also Socrates is more intelligent in French. So avoid the Italian edition.

Pascal: shot in French, stars Pierre Arditi speaking French. Some of the supporting cast may be speaking Italian. French edition definitely preferable.

Medici: shot in English (with the idea of selling it to PBS). English edition definitely preferable.

Messiah: shot in English but never completed that way. The Italian dubbing (by the same actors) is excellent.

Agostino: shot in Italian.

Acts of the Apostles. This was shot polyglot with everyone speaking whatever they wanted -- Italian, French, English, Arabic or just numbers. The original Italian dubbing under Rossellini's purely nominal supervision was junked and a new one done by his man at Rai, with which Rossellini had nothing to do. There is also a French version (some of the lead actors were French), a German version, a Spanish version, etc., and a posthumous American version. None of these has any priority (except perhaps the French, which I haven't seen/heard), but preference should be given to the language of the audience.

More about all of this, including an updated filmography, can be had from the revised text of my Rossellini book which can be downloaded (5MB)...
I think ellipsis is right - the Bergman titles in paritcular are in a total rights mess. Apart from Viaggio in Italia/Strangers. There are bootlegs of Europa and La Paura (this in Italian without any subs) from TV broadcasts. I haven't seen La Paura but Europa is very good quality (in English thank god) and superior to the Oz TV broadcast version from the 80s.

User avatar
ellipsis7
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 1:56 pm
Location: Dublin

#60 Post by ellipsis7 » Mon Oct 13, 2008 9:52 am

Madman have confirmed they those DVD rights to INDIA - MHATRA BRUMI for Aus/NZ, now they're trying to locate a print - I've pointed them in the direction of James Quandt who put together the centenary retro, which included screenings of INDIA......

ptmd
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:12 pm

#61 Post by ptmd » Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:53 pm

They really need to get access to the French version in the Cinematheque Francaise, because the restored Italian print is a disaster: they let the color stock deteriorate and then didn't compensate properly, resulting in a red-tinted image that looks like an old slide. The French print is slightly greenish, but it's generally in much better condition and is also more complete. Ideally, they could include both versions, since they are slightly different, but that's probably not practical and if a choice is necessary, the French print is the way to go. Unfortunately, there aren't really any good options other than these two; despite the undeniable greatness of the film, history has not been kind to the materials.

User avatar
ellipsis7
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 1:56 pm
Location: Dublin

#62 Post by ellipsis7 » Mon Oct 13, 2008 6:19 pm

The Cinematheque Ontario retro showed this print apparently...
India, Mother Land)
Director: Roberto Rossellini
Year: 1958
Runtime: 85 minutes
Country: Italy/France

Screening Times:
November 6, 2006 6:30 PM

Screens at Jackman Hall

"INDIA MATRI BHUMI is the creation of the world" (Jean-Luc Godard). In the long tradition of European directors depicting India (e.g. Malle, Renoir, Duras, Corneau), Rossellini presents a very personal, idiosyncratic view of the country with which he fell in love. (He criticized Malle's India films for being too negative, one-sided, not compassionate.) Divided into four sections, the film begins in Bombay before moving into the countryside, offering an episodic portrait of the country through the stories of emblematic figures, including animals: a mahout (elephant driver) whose amazing charges labour in the Karapur jungle and then, in one of the sequences cited by many as one of Rossellini's most sublime, take a ritual bath in a river to cool off; a young engineer on a dam project; an old man and a tiger; and - most memorably - a pet performing monkey whose master dies during a heat wave. After its triumphant premiere at Cannes, the film fell into disrepair, its vivid colours fading to such a point that Rossellini reportedly preferred having the film shown in black-and-white. This is one of two colour restorations undertaken of the film. "One of the prodigious achievements of the century" (Andrew Sarris). "A profound and moving experience" (Peter Brunette).

Please note that we will also show on DVD the concluding moments of the French version of this film, which differs from this restoration and which Tag Gallagher considers essential to our understanding of Rossellini's purpose.
Note the ending of the French version was shown, but only on DVD, and it 'differs from this restoration'... This print is 'one of two colour restorations undertaken of the film'... Implies that this version does best justice to the film, but indeed a DVD release could do with including the French ending as an extra...

I have the Cinecitta book (ed Adriano Apra) ROSSELLINI INDIA 1957 and indeed...
they let the color stock deteriorate and then didn't compensate properly, resulting in a red-tinted image that looks like an old slide.
... the colour images mostly look like that....

ptmd
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:12 pm

#63 Post by ptmd » Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:13 am

Note the ending of the French version was shown, but only on DVD, and it 'differs from this restoration'... This print is 'one of two colour restorations undertaken of the film'... Implies that this version does best justice to the film, but indeed a DVD release could do with including the French ending as an extra...
Well, since this was part of the Rossellini series James Quandt organized, I'm quite certain that it was in fact the Italian restoration, which is the more easily accessible one and the one that MoMA showed as well. As I said, the French version is green-tinted, so it isn't ideal either, but the images have considerably more depth and saturation than the ones in the Italian version, although I know there's still some debate about this.

My understanding is that it should still be possible to do a proper photochemical restoration of this, but that it would take a lot more money than anyone is willing to invest in such a niche title. Some people, myself included, consider this to be Rossellini's masterpiece, but like many of his films, the production method presented its own unique difficulties and the general obscurity of most of the post-Ingrid Bergman films doesn't help matters either.

User avatar
ellipsis7
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 1:56 pm
Location: Dublin

#64 Post by ellipsis7 » Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:08 am

The impression I get is that Madman are simply trying to source an existing print or tape master, rather than perform or back a restoration...

ptmd
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:12 pm

#65 Post by ptmd » Tue Oct 14, 2008 12:54 pm

No, they're definitely not equipped to do a restoration, financially or legally, I was just saying in a more general sense that it's a shame that this film is so neglected. They should definitely try to get access to the Cinematheque print if possible, even if they do use the RAI restoration as the primary source for their transfer. One other major issue, of course, is that the Italian restoration is subtitled and the French one is not, but presumably that is not a problem for a DVD.

User avatar
zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

#66 Post by zedz » Tue Oct 14, 2008 4:09 pm

ptmd wrote:Some people, myself included, consider this to be Rossellini's masterpiece.
Please elaborate! I saw this last year and thought it was a decent enough documentary, but nothing special, and far more time-locked than other Rossellinis of the period, so I'd love to hear what I missed.

User avatar
ellipsis7
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 1:56 pm
Location: Dublin

Re: Roberto Rossellini on DVD

#67 Post by ellipsis7 » Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:40 am

A 'restored and remastered' dvd of EUROPA '51 (with Italian soundtrack however) just released in Italy....

Image

Apparently in a single disc or double disc Collector's Edition....

User avatar
foggy eyes
Joined: Fri Sep 01, 2006 9:58 am
Location: UK

Re: Roberto Rossellini on DVD

#68 Post by foggy eyes » Sat Jul 04, 2009 7:12 am

Quick question - does anyone know whether the old BFI/Connoisseur VHS of Germany, Year Zero has the German or Italian soundtrack?

User avatar
david hare
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:01 pm
Location: WellyYeller

Re: Roberto Rossellini on DVD

#69 Post by david hare » Sat Jul 04, 2009 8:38 am

Foggy, if it's the disc I have it's the correct German version.

User avatar
foggy eyes
Joined: Fri Sep 01, 2006 9:58 am
Location: UK

Re: Roberto Rossellini on DVD

#70 Post by foggy eyes » Sat Jul 04, 2009 8:47 am

Oh, that's good news. Thanks, David. I can't stand to watch this with the Italian dub again, and hopefully the copy I can get my hands on won't be too battered...

User avatar
rohmerin
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2006 10:36 am
Location: Spain

Re: Roberto Rossellini on DVD

#71 Post by rohmerin » Wed Jul 08, 2009 6:34 am

Tommaso wrote: so has anyone seen "Amore di mezzo secolo"? From the description I read somewhere it sounded somewhat similar to "L'amore in citta" (which I quite liked), but I would like to know more. The inclusion of a Rossellini episode is intriguing in any case.
Yes, I've seen it. I bought the Italian dvd and the film is nice but poor. Nothing to be compared with Amore in città, that is a masterpiece collection of short films. The film is in color, it had troubles with censorship. I saw it 2 weeks ago and I can't remember too much, so imagine how it is. The Rosselllini story is nice, may be the best with the last one, that is very a La ronde.

On the oppossite, the RHV box with the two Fascist propaganda films and Desiderio is VERY interesting, specially Un pilota ritorna, where you can find all the Rossellini's resources he'd show later.

User avatar
Tommaso
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 10:09 am

Re: Roberto Rossellini on DVD

#72 Post by Tommaso » Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:41 pm

rohmerin wrote:. I bought the Italian dvd and the film is nice but poor. Nothing to be compared with Amore in città, that is a masterpiece collection of short films. The film is in color, it had troubles with censorship. I saw it 2 weeks ago and I can't remember too much, so imagine how it is. The Rosselllini story is nice, may be the best with the last one, that is very a La ronde.
Well, I bought and watched it last year and probably remember even less about it than you. I found it completely conventional, with mediocre acting and would certainly not recommend it to anyone who isn't a die-hard Rossellini completist. I think his episode was the best, but still rather unengaging.
rohmerin wrote:On the oppossite, the RHV box with the two Fascist propaganda films and Desiderio is VERY interesting, specially Un pilota ritorna, where you can find all the Rossellini's resources he'd show later.
Nice; if this has ever been mentioned here, I have forgotten all about it. Does it have English subs?

User avatar
rohmerin
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2006 10:36 am
Location: Spain

Re: Roberto Rossellini on DVD

#73 Post by rohmerin » Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:50 pm

No, the RHV box has only ITALIAN subtitles. Sorry, it's not English friendly.

By the way, Vanina Vanini (that is on Italy on DVD) is by distance the worst Rossellini's film I know. It's a mess of acting. Sandra Milo and the Russian guy from Pontecorvo's Kapò aren't good enough to develope their carachters.

User avatar
Zazou dans le Metro
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 10:01 am
Location: In the middle of an Elyssian Field

Re: Roberto Rossellini on DVD

#74 Post by Zazou dans le Metro » Sat Aug 01, 2009 9:09 am

Coming from Carlotta..

21st. October

* Coffret Rossellini : BLAISE PASCAL (1972) / AUGUSTIN D’HIPPONE (1972) / L’ÂGE DE COSME DE MÉDICIS (1973) / DESCARTES (1973)

Also some Sirk précoce

03 December

* Coffret Douglas Sirk : LA FILLE DES MARAIS (1935) / LES PILLIERS DE LA SOCIÉTÉ (1935) / PARAMATTA, BAGNE DE FEMMES (1937) / LA HABANERA (1937)

User avatar
david hare
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:01 pm
Location: WellyYeller

Re: Roberto Rossellini on DVD

#75 Post by david hare » Sat Aug 01, 2009 6:08 pm

* Coffret Douglas Sirk : LA FILLE DES MARAIS (1935) / LES PILLIERS DE LA SOCIÉTÉ (1935) / PARAMATTA, BAGNE DE FEMMES (1937) / LA HABANERA (1937)
WOW!!! What a shame they couldn't also find Schlussakord, but if these prints are good this is no brainer for sure. Maybe somebody will eventually get around to English subs elsewhere a few months afer the DVD release.

I LOVE the French title for Zu Neuen Ufern - Parramatta Bagne des Femmes. As one who works in this shithole every weekday nothing could be more inopportune!!

I wonder - he said - if Carlotta are also sourcing decent prints of the early Rossellinis?

Post Reply