Czech DVDs

Discuss internationally-released DVDs and Blu-rays or other international DVD and Blu-ray-related topics.
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In Heaven
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 7:01 pm

#1 Post by In Heaven » Sat Dec 25, 2004 3:45 am

I'm currently vacationing in Prague, and although I've never heard of any, are there any must-buy Czech dvds? All I've seen so far is pornography.

solent

#2 Post by solent » Sat Dec 25, 2004 5:26 pm

I can't answer your question but I would not assume the Czech's care about their filmic heritage anymore than my country [Australia] does. Most of the Oz classics are unreleased or out in sub-standard versions so we wait for US/UK versions and I bet intelligent Czechs also buy Criterions/Facets to collect their films. Do you speak Czech? If so then ask around and let us know what you find.

In Heaven
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#3 Post by In Heaven » Sun Dec 26, 2004 4:22 am

Nope, I don't speak a word of Czech. I have seen some dvds here (just Indiana and Hitchcock boxsets, Czech editions), but I thought perhaps there may be more.

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jbeall
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#4 Post by jbeall » Fri Sep 22, 2006 4:01 pm

Although this post comes far too late to help, I'd like to add my two cents.

I'm a big fan of Jan Hrebejk, who's one of the best Czech directors working today.

Although Musime si Pomahat ("We must help each other," although the English title is "Divided We Fall") and Horem Padem (Up and Down) are available in the US via Sony Classics, there is no distributor for what I think is his best film, Pelisky (Cozy Dens).

Pelisky is really hilarious. I watched it at the 1999 Seattle Int'l Film Festival and loved it, but it remains unknown here in the States. You should be able to find it in any dvd store in the Czech Republic.

Also, although it's available in VHS (but not dvd) here, I recommend Jiri Menzel's My Sweet Little Village. It's really a shame that more of Menzel's films aren't available on dvd, at least in acceptable versions. Criterion, however, has released Closely Watched Trains.
Last edited by jbeall on Fri Aug 03, 2007 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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MichaelB
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#5 Post by MichaelB » Fri Sep 22, 2006 4:51 pm

This isn't exhaustive, but I posted a list of Czech films available on DVD here - and we're talking hundreds rather than dozens.

All these have English subtitles as far as I'm aware - and most are on Czech labels. Czech DVDs are invariably PAL, but most aren't region-coded (the few that are will be Region 2).

In my experience, Filmexport Home Video is a pretty reliable label - transfers are usually up to scratch, and subtitles well-written and idiomatic (loads of extras too, but generally Czech-only).

Centrum Ceskeho Videa's releases are more of a mixed bag - I wasn't too impressed with their transfers of My Sweet Little Village and Tomorrow I'll Wake Up And Scald Myself With Tea (reviews here and here), but with the kind of stuff they release it's usually either their transfers or nothing. And they're still miles better than Facets.

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Barmy
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#6 Post by Barmy » Fri Sep 22, 2006 5:23 pm

I want to get The Inheritance or Fuckoffguysgoodbye

Ledos
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#7 Post by Ledos » Sat Sep 23, 2006 4:18 am

If you have any interest in science fiction films the Czechoslovakian Ikarie XB 1 is a must. Filmexport released this in an anamorphic, restored version with English subtitles.

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MichaelB
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#8 Post by MichaelB » Sat Sep 23, 2006 4:36 am

I reviewed it here - and aside from the lack of English subtitles on the extra features, it's a superb package.

They even include three clips from the US version, including the ridiculous Americanised credits and the even more ludicrous Planet of the Apes-style ending.

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jbeall
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#9 Post by jbeall » Tue Sep 26, 2006 8:35 pm

Again, I'd really like to see Criterion get their mitts on more films by Forman and Menzel, especially the latter.


I'm marginally appreciative of Facets, but their version of The Joke was wretched. The subtitles were woefully inaccurate, and missed a lot of the dialogue. I realize that criterion is trying to collect important films from around the world, but it'd be nice to see more releases from the Czechs, esp. since the Prague Film School is among the best in Europe (not only did Kundera teach there, but Emir Kusturica studied there as well). There are some important filmmakers from this region whose only option for release in this country appears to be... Facets. Ugh.

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MichaelB
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#10 Post by MichaelB » Wed Sep 27, 2006 3:00 am

What's most bizarre is that the Czechs themselves haven't released many of the Sixties classics - even though over two hundred Czech films are available on Czech labels with English subtitles.

I'm sure they'll come out eventually, but it's galling having to go for the sub-standard Facets option if you really can't wait (and in the case of Pearls of the Deep I couldn't: I needed to watch it for a professional writing commission).

And in the case when Facets discs are paralleled with Czech releases of the same titles... well, as DVDBeaver put it, "I don't think we need to say more than just observing what the screen captures can tell you."

I can excuse sub-par releases if the titles are so obscure and the likely market so tiny that there really isn't a financially realistic alternative. But Facets' worst releases are so poor as to be insulting - not only are the subtitles often woefully inadequate, but they're sometimes blatantly out of synch!

(disclaimer: this certainly isn't a blanket condemnation of all Facets releases, but the worst are as bad as any DVD I've encountered)

On the subject of Menzel, the vast majority of his films (including pretty much all the classics from Closely Watched Trains to My Sweet Little Village) are available in the Czech Republic on (usually) region-free PAL discs. Transfer quality is variable, to say the least, but never unwatchable - I've only reviewed My Sweet Little Village to date, but I've watched most of the others, so let me know if you want capsule summaries.

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jbeall
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#11 Post by jbeall » Fri Oct 13, 2006 10:05 pm

I just saw Jan Svankmajer's Lunacy earlier today. What a twisted, twisted film!

This film will be released by Zeitgeist Films early next year, according to their website.

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bunuelian
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#12 Post by bunuelian » Sat Oct 14, 2006 12:38 am

Thanks for that wonderful news!

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vogler
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#13 Post by vogler » Sat Oct 14, 2006 6:56 am

jbeall wrote:I just saw Jan Svankmajer's Lunacy earlier today. What a twisted, twisted film!.
This is an amzing film and I think it is undoubtedly the best of his features.

Fot those that can't wait for the Zeitgeist release there is a czech dvd with English subs already available which is the subject of this thread. Do Zeitgeist release properly converted dvds or will theirs be a bad pal-ntsc or perhaps even a new ntsc master?

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jbeall
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#14 Post by jbeall » Sat Oct 14, 2006 12:51 pm

Not sure, but I'm curious as to how good the subtitles are on the Czech dvd. The version I saw last night (at the NJ Film Festival) showed the Zeitgeist logo at the beginning. There were a few moments on the film where the subtitles betrayed an unfamiliarity with the nuances of English grammar (perhaps due to sloppy editing), which makes me wonder if it's a pal-ntsc from the Czech version.

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vogler
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#15 Post by vogler » Sat Oct 14, 2006 1:04 pm

jbeall wrote:Not sure, but I'm curious as to how good the subtitles are on the Czech dvd.
I can't remember noticing any problems with the subs on the czech dvd. I think they were pretty good but I'd have to watch it again to be sure.

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MichaelB
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#16 Post by MichaelB » Sun Oct 15, 2006 7:40 am

vogler wrote:This is an amzing film and I think it is undoubtedly the best of his features.
I'd say "doubtedly" - I've only seen it the once, but I thought it was a good 20-30 minutes too long and many of its central points about exploitative power relationships were made with the subtlety of a pneumatic drill to the cranium. I'll certainly be seeing it again (and have duly bought the Czech DVD), but I'd be lying if I said that my admittedly sky-high expectations were truly fulfilled.

For me, as far as the features are concerned, Conspirators of Pleasure is still miles out in front.

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vogler
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#17 Post by vogler » Sun Oct 15, 2006 8:10 am

MichaelB wrote: For me, as far as the features are concerned, Conspirators of Pleasure is still miles out in front.
I really should have said 'This is an amzing film and I think it is undoubtedly the best of his features that I have seen'.
I have still not seen Conspirators of Pleasure and it sounds like I have a treat in store - I have seen all his other features though. I was not at all disappointed with Sileni and enjoyed it more than any of the other features of his that I have seen. In terms of it being too long I can say that it never lost my attention even for a minute. My biggest Svankmajer disappointment was Otesánek which I definitely felt was too long. Faust and Alice I like a lot but I still feel that Svankmajers greatest work has largely been in the area of his short films.

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jbeall
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#18 Post by jbeall » Tue Feb 20, 2007 9:56 pm

So I preordered Lunacy from amazon.com and am awaiting it... Any other Czech movies scheduled for R1 release anytime soon?

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MichaelB
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#19 Post by MichaelB » Fri Feb 23, 2007 8:50 am

I'm not aware of any, but Second Run's latest are both Czech, and (I think) region 0 PAL.

My comments on Romeo, Juliet and Darkness and The Party and the Guests are in the respective Second Run threads.

Telstar
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 12:35 pm

#20 Post by Telstar » Sat Mar 17, 2007 11:56 am

Has anyone seen any of the films of Elo Havetta? There's a 2-disc, English-subbed DVD available here that looks very interesting.

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jbeall
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#21 Post by jbeall » Thu Mar 29, 2007 10:24 pm

Several questions out of curiosity:

1) Has anybody seen Jan Hrebejk's new film Beauty in Trouble? I saw that it won some Cesky Lev awards, and I thought that both Pelisky and Horem Padem were excellent.

2) Does anybody know if/when I Served the King of England is playing stateside?

I'm really thrilled with the dvds I ordered from Second Run, but having had a taste, now I want more, more more!!!!

Telstar
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#22 Post by Telstar » Sun Apr 15, 2007 7:08 am

I just noticed that DiViDi, the same Czech magazine that put out an issue including the DVD of Konkurs / Démanty noci, has also released issues that include DVDs of Bílá pani and Až pÅ™ijde kocour. Can anyone confirm that these are the same English-subbed DVDs available seperately in Czech stores?

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Kirkinson
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#23 Post by Kirkinson » Sun Apr 15, 2007 10:15 pm

Telstar wrote:I just noticed that DiViDi, the same Czech magazine that put out an issue including the DVD of Konkurs / Démanty noci, has also released issues that include DVDs of Bílá pani and Až pÅ™ijde kocour. Can anyone confirm that these are the same English-subbed DVDs available seperately in Czech stores?
I think I can confirm Až přijde kocour. The Filmexport Home Video version (which I bought from dvdr.cz) has the DiViDi logo on it.

petoluk
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#24 Post by petoluk » Thu Jun 14, 2007 9:00 am

Telstar wrote:Has anyone seen any of the films of Elo Havetta? There's a 2-disc, English-subbed DVD available here that looks very interesting.

Hi Telstar! Yes, I've seen Havetta's films, and they both are superb! However, their presentation in that 2-disc set is somewhat questionable. Here you can find a comparison between the Slávnost v botanickej záhrade DVD & a recording from digital TV broadcast, and the colours on the DVD seem to be washed out + the TV recording shows more picture. :shock:

Cheers!

Peto

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Skritek
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#25 Post by Skritek » Fri Aug 03, 2007 11:34 am

Apparently the Czech version of "Beauty and the Beast" by Juraj Herz has been released. Here's a review from DVDFreak.

I wonder if anyone has seen it yet? It looks rather interesting to me.

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