Chinese Cinema on DVD/BD

Discuss internationally-released DVDs and Blu-rays or other international DVD and Blu-ray-related topics.
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Lemmy Caution
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 3:26 am
Location: East of Shanghai

#51 Post by Lemmy Caution » Sun Dec 16, 2007 1:03 am

kevyip1 wrote:The Cinema Epoch releases have been discussed here. But only 12 titles have been released so far. Some of us are on the lookout for more from other publishers.

Btw, IVL has released a DVD set of the 6-hour, 8-part documentary on Chinese film history called A Century of Light and Shadow. I'm watching it right now...
A few of the Cinema Epoch's have turned up in China, with 2 films per disc, so they are super-cheap. I know I picked up a couple but haven't looked at them.

There are now 3 series of older Chinese films floating around China.

The one with the crappy subtitles, which contains a lot of silent films.

Another is called A Century of Chinese Films, which have no English on the covers except for the series title. I've checked a few out in shops, and seems half have English subs. When there, the English seems decent, although too formal and with the occasional spelling mistake.
The films I saw were form the mid-50's -- late-60's. Which means mostly war films about glorious comrades banding together to defeat various oppressors. Picture quality is okay, but certainly not restored in any noticable way.
The two films I previewed were Eternal Wave (Yong Bu Xiao Shide Dianbo, 1958) and Naval Battle of 1884 (Jia Wu Feng Yun, 1962), the latter of which had burned in English subs and questionable production values.

The other series -- 100 Years of Chinese Classic Movies -- is rather similar in scope and quality, but I only checked out one film, Go Down Zhang Mountain. Again, the English subs were easily intelligible but translated a bit stiffly and with some random spelling mistakes

Without English on the covers, it's a hassle to find out what is what, as I have to preview the discs just to find out the English titles, which sometimes are translated variously in different editions. (often there are different English titles for Hong Kong and Mainland versions, or Taiwan and Mainland, or just competing Mainland translations).

If I can spot any of these series within The Great Firewall, I'll post links.

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HerrSchreck
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

#52 Post by HerrSchreck » Sun Dec 16, 2007 1:39 am

lady wakasa wrote:Do you folks know that Cinema Epoch has started releasing some of these in the US? They added music and cleaned up the subtitles (which was very very helpful; I have some of the PRC DVDs as well, and still don't consider myself as having seen some because of those blasted subtitles).

The company is at http://www.cinemaepoch.com, and the DVDs are sold through Amazon.com.
That's what I meant about the Koch Lorber in my last post. I have a few of these. and I'm pleased even though the transfers are strictly from hunger.

kevyip1
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2004 7:07 pm

#53 Post by kevyip1 » Sun Dec 16, 2007 1:34 pm

Lemmy, are THESE one of the DVD series you're talking about? The cover art shows the heading "China's Early Classic Movies 1905-1955".

"Lights of Ten Thousand Homes":

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Lemmy Caution
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 3:26 am
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#54 Post by Lemmy Caution » Sun Dec 16, 2007 2:57 pm

No, but I've seen some of those around.
There are two series of early Chinese films, with similar names, and one of them has really poor sub-titles.
I'm not sure about that series, but think that also has Chinglish subs.
(I can check).

kevyip1
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#55 Post by kevyip1 » Sat Dec 22, 2007 1:10 pm

HerrSchreck wrote:That's what I meant about the Koch Lorber in my last post. I have a few of these. and I'm pleased even though the transfers are strictly from hunger.
The older titles (those made in 30s) generally look pretty bad, but the post WWII titles are in much better shape. I would say "A Spring River Flows East" (1947), as shown on the Cinema Epoch and Mei Ah (disc 1, disc 2) DVDs, actually look terrific. The Mei Ah edition actually has a little better contrast.

CINEMA EPOCH:
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MEI AH (NO ENGLISH SUBS):
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The brightness also seems to have been boosted on the Cinema Epoch edition of "Spring in a Small Town" (1948) to the point that whites look washed out.

CINEMA EPOCH (screen cap from DVDTimes review):
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MEI AH (VCD edition, no English subs):
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Just watched the "Song of the Fisherman" DVD from GZ Beauty (and see my review there). No English subs. Severely battered and shaky picture. Scratchy audio. Missing scenes (DVD runs 56 min but most sources say the film runs 80 min) that ruin the continuity, making the story unfollowable.

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ltfontaine
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 3:34 pm

#56 Post by ltfontaine » Fri Dec 28, 2007 5:33 pm

Many thanks to kevyip1 and Lemmy Caution for the very helpful information about assorted DVD versions of Chinese classics making the rounds. Kevyip, those screencaps of the GZ Beauty are pretty dreadful, substantially worse than the quality of the extant Koch Lorbers, but the real deal-killer is the missing footage. Guess we'll proceed on a title-by-title basis and report back on anything that surfaces in acceptable condition.

kevyip1
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2004 7:07 pm

#57 Post by kevyip1 » Mon Jan 07, 2008 6:45 pm

ltfontaine wrote:Kevyip, those screencaps of the GZ Beauty are pretty dreadful, substantially worse than the quality of the extant Koch Lorbers.
But "The Song of the Fisherman" is not yet made by Koch Lorber (Cinema Epoch) so we don't know how its version would fare compared to the one by GZ Beauty.

My feeling is that the Koch Lorber editions always seem to look worse than the other Asia-made editions -- blurrier, with less-than-optimal brightness and contrast.

I've now seen three Koch Lorber titles - "A Spring River Flows East", "Spring in a Small Town", "Street Angels" -- and they all look worse than the corresponding Mei Ah editions.

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Skritek
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2007 9:59 am
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Wang T'ung

#58 Post by Skritek » Thu May 22, 2008 5:17 pm

Apparently there is an unsubtitled box-set of Wang T'ung's films in Taiwan, including among others "Red Persimmon", "Banana Paradise" and "Strawman". (available through Yesasia)

A Taiwanese director who is a little less famous than his contemporaries Yang and Hou. I'm wondering if it is just general neglect of a master or if this director isn't on the level of some others.

(Interestingly his debut is adapted off Gogol, surely a rather rare combination.)

Has anybody seen anything by him?

Metropolisforever_2

A Touch of Zen (King Hu, 1969)

#59 Post by Metropolisforever_2 » Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:03 pm

A Touch of Zen (King Hu, 1969)

I want to watch this movie, but I want to know more about the different DVD transfers. The R1 Tai Seng DVD is the uncut, 200-minute version. The R2 Optimum Releasing DVD is not.

I'm definitely getting the uncut R1 DVD, but which DVD has the better transfer (picture, sound, etc.)? Does anyone know?

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King Prendergast
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Re: A Touch of Zen (King Hu, 1969)

#60 Post by King Prendergast » Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:48 pm

the r1 transfer is pretty awful. washed out as hell. full of scratches and spots on he print. border-line unwatchable. however the film is amazing and absolutely must be seen by anyone interested in martial arts or asian film in general. I haven't seen the r2 disc but if the r1 is the only full version I would recommend that one despite the shitty quality. I've already raised this as a possibility for Criterion. They would do well to heed my advice. King Hu is a genius.

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MichaelB
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Re: A Touch of Zen (King Hu, 1969)

#61 Post by MichaelB » Sat Aug 02, 2008 2:41 am

King Prendergast wrote:I've already raised this as a possibility for Criterion. They would do well to heed my advice.
Did you threaten them?

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Finch
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#62 Post by Finch » Sat Aug 02, 2008 6:41 am

There is also a region-free Taiwanese DVD available via YesAsia but I can't vouch for its quality and it has NO English subtitles.

The R1 is indeed very poor and non-anamorphic as well. Completely unwatchable on a widescreen telly and not really acceptable on a tube set either. Optimum's R2 disc is also non-anamorphic and the transfer got average marks in reviews (I didn't realise it was the cut version). So yes, a CC would be most welcome but it might also be worthwhile to contact Dragon Dynasty (Bey Logan contributes a blog to their website) to see if they are picking this up.

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Rufus T. Firefly
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#63 Post by Rufus T. Firefly » Sat Aug 02, 2008 7:37 am

This German forum has screencaps from various releases. The new German DVD has English subs.

Stefan Andersson
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:02 am

#64 Post by Stefan Andersson » Mon Aug 04, 2008 7:18 am

Thanks for the info re: German TOUCH OF ZEN. But what´s this about a 200-min. version? I thought the movie was always around 170 mins, and any shorter versions just omitted the recap that opened part two (recap included in the 1990´s French VHS from Panda Films for example).

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Octave
Joined: Wed Nov 08, 2006 9:57 pm
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A Touch of Zen

#65 Post by Octave » Sat Sep 13, 2008 12:18 pm

Hi,

Anyone seen this kungfu flick? Saw that there are 2 different running time: 200min (stated in IMDB) and the other is 187 mins, any comments?

Cheers

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HerrSchreck
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

#66 Post by HerrSchreck » Sat Sep 27, 2008 3:27 pm

A streaming copy of The Goddess with english subs. Sublime!

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Saturnome
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2007 5:22 pm

#67 Post by Saturnome » Sat Sep 27, 2008 10:24 pm

Many thanks! I saw it uploaded on Youtube but never watched it (it then got removed). So I took my evening to watch it. It's a great drama on a well told interesting subject, with a great, great ending. On many occasion there's great filmmaking, too. Like shots of the mother's feet when she finds a customer. The actress is also great. The only thing that isn't great is this review I just made. Thanks again. Any more like this?

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Michael Kerpan
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#68 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat Sep 27, 2008 11:29 pm

HerrSchreck wrote:A streaming copy of The Goddess with english subs. Sublime!
I highly recommend that people get the set released by Hong Kong University, with both the subbed film and a book on Ruan Lingyu.

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Rufus T. Firefly
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#69 Post by Rufus T. Firefly » Sun Sep 28, 2008 10:15 pm

Which is also available from the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. Plus they have a DVD of The Peach Girl.

SalParadise
Joined: Sun Apr 09, 2006 2:39 pm
Location: Hangzhou

#70 Post by SalParadise » Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:57 am

Is this closer to the Meh Ah release or the awful Lorber release?

Springtime in a Small Town

thanks

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Skritek
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2007 9:59 am
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#71 Post by Skritek » Sat Oct 18, 2008 4:56 am

I have found out that two films by the Taiwanese director Chen Kuo-Fu have been released some years ago in Asia.

Treasure Island, only available here. I've read about the film in "Taiwan: A Treasure Island" and it seems very worthwhile. (On HKFlix it's listed as produced by HHH, however IMDB says otherwise.)
The Peony Pavilion, with cinematography by Chris Doyle, looks also pretty interesting. Can anyone comment on the films and possibly the DVDs?

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jsteffe
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 9:00 am
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#72 Post by jsteffe » Sat Oct 18, 2008 10:58 am

Has anyone seen the new British DVD of Ju Dou? I'm praying that it's an improvement over the atrocious US DVD from Razor--but the nearly identical artwork gives me pause.

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HerrSchreck
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

#73 Post by HerrSchreck » Sat Oct 18, 2008 12:50 pm

SalParadise wrote:Is this closer to the Meh Ah release or the awful Lorber release?

Springtime in a Small Town

thanks
This looks better-- though I don't have my disc to hand right now-- than the Lorber/Epoch release, which I bought. I don't have the Mei Ah, so it looked a bit better than what I'm used to seeing.

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MichaelB
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#74 Post by MichaelB » Sat Oct 18, 2008 1:38 pm

jsteffe wrote:Has anyone seen the new British DVD of Ju Dou? I'm praying that it's an improvement over the atrocious US DVD from Razor--but the nearly identical artwork gives me pause.
I don't recognise the distributor's name, which doesn't bode well.

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

Re:

#75 Post by Tommaso » Fri Mar 06, 2009 7:03 am

Wu's "The Goddess":
Saturnome wrote: It's a great drama on a well told interesting subject, with a great, great ending. On many occasion there's great filmmaking, too. Like shots of the mother's feet when she finds a customer. The actress is also great.
I saw this yesterday (a copy of the version aired on TCM, with music by Sosin), and I think you're far too restrained in your praise! A great,great film in every respect: lots of the cinematography seems to have a definitely German origin (the subtle use of shadows mostly), but it never draws any attention to itself for its own sake. And while the story could have sunk into melodrama a la Borzage's "Street Angel", it simply never happens: the actress exudes an always believable melancholy, the schoolmaster's final decision is incredibly well-prepared for, the social criticism is never hammered in, and the film is also completely free of a voyeuristic look on prostitution. There are also some small moments of utter joy, e.g. when the mother buys that little toy for her son from the street vendor (that look on her face!).

What a discovery (for me). I'd rate this at least as high as Mizo's "Water Magician" or "Osen", perhaps higher. It really cries out at least for Eclipse treatment. Knock-out!

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