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 Post subject: Re: Jerzy Skolimowski
PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 6:11 am 
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I'm not sure how much I can reveal at this stage (I suspect the Polish Cultural Institute will make the first formal announcement, so I'll leave it up to them), but London-based Skolimowski fans might want to keep mid-March free.

Specifically the 18th.


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 Post subject: Re: Jerzy Skolimowski
PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 7:15 am 

Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2005 3:33 pm
For those of you in Rotterdam for this year's filmfestival, Skolimowski is one of the filmmakers in focus.
The films being shown are:

Barrier
Deep End
Départ, Le
Erotique
Ferdydurke
Four Nights with Anna
Hands Up!
Identification Marks: None
Lightship, The
Little Hamlet
Menacing Eye, The
Money or Life
Moonlighting
Shout, The
Success is the Best Revenge
Walkover

For more info, check out: http://www.filmfestivalrotterdam.com/nl ... 9c8e9b4b22


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 Post subject: Re: Jerzy Skolimowski
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:51 am 
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OK, the Skolimowski programme in London has been formally announced, with key dates being:

March 18, BFI Southbank
7pm: UK premiere of Four Nights With Anna, followed by Jerzy Skolimowski Q&A (hosted by yours truly).

March 21, Riverside Studios
2.30pm: Identification Marks: None
4.10pm: Walkover

March 22, Riverside Studios
2.30pm: Barrier
4.15pm: Hands Up!

April 4, Tate Modern
3pm: Identification Marks: None


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 3:09 pm 
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Four Nights With Anna is out in Poland on 20 February.

I've yet to find out if the disc has English subtitles, though other titles on the same label (Gutek Film) have done. I'll probably take the plunge anyway, as the zloty seems to be doing even worse than the pound right now, so it's not much of a gamble - and I have a Polish friend who's a Skolimowski nut who'll be only too happy to take it off my hands if it's incomprehensible!


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 Post subject: Re: Jerzy Skolimowski
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 3:51 pm 
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MichaelB wrote:
March 18, BFI Southbank
7pm: UK premiere of Four Nights With Anna, followed by Jerzy Skolimowski Q&A (hosted by yours truly).

A very prominent French producer, a very sincere and mild mannered man not given to invective or exaggeration, once told me that Skolimowski was the most difficult and abject **** that he ever had to deal with... and who made Polanski look like a pussy cat. Let's hope he has mellowed with age. Good Luck!.


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 Post subject: Re: Jerzy Skolimowski
PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 9:14 am 
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Has anyone here seen Success Is the Best Revenge? It doesn't seem to be available on DVD, however a VHS is being sold on eBay for not exactly peanuts. Was wondering if it was worth it.

Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Jerzy Skolimowski
PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 9:34 am 
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dmk_world wrote:
Has anyone here seen Success Is the Best Revenge? It doesn't seem to be available on DVD, however a VHS is being sold on eBay for not exactly peanuts. Was wondering if it was worth it.

I'll be watching it very soon as part of my pre-interview preparations, but probably not for another fortnight. It has a pretty good reputation, though.


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 Post subject: Re: Jerzy Skolimowski
PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:43 am 
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MichaelB wrote:
dmk_world wrote:
Has anyone here seen Success Is the Best Revenge? It doesn't seem to be available on DVD, however a VHS is being sold on eBay for not exactly peanuts. Was wondering if it was worth it.

I'll be watching it very soon as part of my pre-interview preparations, but probably not for another fortnight. It has a pretty good reputation, though.

Wow, good review. Thanks.

I'll def. be getting it then.


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 Post subject: Re: Jerzy Skolimowski
PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2009 11:06 am 
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MichaelB wrote:
Four Nights With Anna is out in Poland on 20 February.

I've yet to find out if the disc has English subtitles, though other titles on the same label (Gutek Film) have done. I'll probably take the plunge anyway, as the zloty seems to be doing even worse than the pound right now, so it's not much of a gamble - and I have a Polish friend who's a Skolimowski nut who'll be only too happy to take it off my hands if it's incomprehensible!

I was sent an appalling-quality checkdisc yesterday (with so much artefacting that the bitrate must have been near zero, and the massive timecode didn't help), so I've gone ahead and ordered it - even if it doesn't have subtitles, at least I have a set for reference.

If it does, of course, I'll confirm as soon as it arrives - probably late next week if Merlin's usual delivery times apply.

Since they've announced it in the ad in the Kinoteka programme, I'm probably at liberty to reveal that Second Run is releasing Barrier and Hands Up! later this year - plus a tantalising hint that those won't be their only Skolimowski releases.

No idea about transfers/extras - but even if they use the same masters that Telewizja Kinopolska did, they're well aware of the inadequate subtitles on that release and intend to improve on them.


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 Post subject: Re: Jerzy Skolimowski
PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:34 pm 
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MichaelB wrote:
Since they've announced it in the ad in the Kinoteka programme, I'm probably at liberty to reveal that Second Run is releasing Barrier and Hands Up! later this year - plus a tantalising hint that those won't be their only Skolimowski releases.

No idea about transfers/extras - but even if they use the same masters that Telewizja Kinopolska did, they're well aware of the inadequate subtitles on that release and intend to improve on them.

That's great news.

Success is the Best Revenge has actually been released on DVD in Greece, though the only place I've seen it being sold is on eBay for about US$20. It's only a little bit more expensive than the VHS a local seller is selling, so I'm going to take the plunge, and buy it. Is anyone aware of a reliable Greek Online Store? My Keyboard doesn't have the Greek alphabet, so my googleing has come to nothing. I expect online Greek stores to sell the DVD also.


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 Post subject: Re: Jerzy Skolimowski
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 5:19 am 
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I'm delighted - and relieved! - to confirm that Gutek Film's release of Four Nights With Anna does indeed have English subtitles, and it looks like a perfectly decent 16:9 anamorphic transfer too.

(I know one should expect nothing less for a 2008 release, but Polish labels can be somewhat idiosyncratic!).

No extras whatsoever, though they probably wouldn't have been English-friendly anyway.


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 Post subject: Re: Jerzy Skolimowski
PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:29 am 
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dmk_world wrote:
Has anyone here seen Success Is the Best Revenge? It doesn't seem to be available on DVD, however a VHS is being sold on eBay for not exactly peanuts. Was wondering if it was worth it.

Having now seen it, I'd say a guarded yes. Guarded because while I loved it, it's certainly not one for Skolimowski beginners. In fact, it ranks with the 1981 prologue of Hands Up! as just about the most personal film he's ever made: although he doesn't act in it, the central character (played by Michael York) is clearly based on him, his troubled teenage son is played by Skolimowski's real son (under the name Michael Lyndon), and the film revolves around numerous questions of nationality, nostalgia and exile that Skolimowski himself must have been thinking about for some time, especially after martial law was declared in Poland.

Of his two Anglo-Polish films, Moonlighting is a lot more accessible, but this one is more characteristically Skolimowskian: it's fizzing with ideas in a way that's strongly reminiscent of his great 1960s films (especially Barrier and Hands Up!). Which is presumably why it vanished from sight almost as soon as it was made - I had to rely on a VHS off-air recording from 1986.

Zazou dans le Metro wrote:
MichaelB wrote:
March 18, BFI Southbank
7pm: UK premiere of Four Nights With Anna, followed by Jerzy Skolimowski Q&A (hosted by yours truly).

A very prominent French producer, a very sincere and mild mannered man not given to invective or exaggeration, once told me that Skolimowski was the most difficult and abject **** that he ever had to deal with... and who made Polanski look like a pussy cat. Let's hope he has mellowed with age. Good Luck!.

He was an absolute pussycat. Seriously, this was one of the easiest, most relaxing and most entertaining live interviews I've ever done in my life - Skolimowski was in a wonderfully genial, delightfully anecdotal mood, and although I only managed to ask about 5% of the questions I'd planned to ask him and could very happily have gone on for at least another hour, I got the impression that the audience had a great time. (The fact that they applauded all three of the clips that I screened - from Walkover, Barrier and Hands Up! - was a very good sign).

I particularly liked the way he gleefully latched onto the "Polish films only" brief (this was part of the Kinoteka Polish Film Festival) to dismiss his entire career between Hands Up! (1967) and Four Nights With Anna (2008) as "a load of dreadful films I made in the West". In fact, before we went on stage he asked me what I hadn't seen, and I said King Queen Knave ("worst film I ever made"), The Adventures of Gerard ("also terrible"), Torrents of Spring ("you clearly have excellent taste in avoiding my bad films"), though I rather let the side down after that by owning up to not seeing Le Départ and The Lightship, both of which he still rates highly.


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 Post subject: Re: Jerzy Skolimowski
PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 2:11 am 
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MichaelB wrote:
Having now seen it, I'd say a guarded yes. Guarded because while I loved it, it's certainly not one for Skolimowski beginners. In fact, it ranks with the 1981 prologue of Hands Up! as just about the most personal film he's ever made: although he doesn't act in it, the central character (played by Michael York) is clearly based on him, his troubled teenage son is played by Skolimowski's real son (under the name Michael Lyndon), and the film revolves around numerous questions of nationality, nostalgia and exile that Skolimowski himself must have been thinking about for some time, especially after martial law was declared in Poland.

Of his two Anglo-Polish films, Moonlighting is a lot more accessible, but this one is more characteristically Skolimowskian: it's fizzing with ideas in a way that's strongly reminiscent of his great 1960s films (especially Barrier and Hands Up!). Which is presumably why it vanished from sight almost as soon as it was made - I had to rely on a VHS off-air recording from 1986.

Nice review, and I agree that it had a lot of similarities to Hands Up. I went a head and bought the Greek DVD release. The film itself actually didn't do much for me, and I think it's probably my least favourite out of the 10 I've seen. I found it quite confused, though I probably need to give it another view.

As for the Greek DVD release:: it's by the distributor Artfree, and it's quite fine. The transfer is quite clear throughout, grain is minimal, and detail is normal. Greek subtitles are optional, and the only extra is a photo gallery.
It's presented in Full frame, and doesn't look like there's any cropping on the sides. If your DVD Player can crop the image, the film looks better cropped to 1.78:1, or whichever, then it does in 1.33:1. I'm guessing it was originally shown in theatres in 1:85.1 or the like, so that's the best way to watch it - I found.

It worked out to about AUD$30, so it really wasn't too bad, considering a VHS was being sold for not a lot less.

Quote:
I particularly liked the way he gleefully latched onto the "Polish films only" brief (this was part of the Kinoteka Polish Film Festival) to dismiss his entire career between Hands Up! (1967) and Four Nights With Anna (2008) as "a load of dreadful films I made in the West". In fact, before we went on stage he asked me what I hadn't seen, and I said King Queen Knave ("worst film I ever made"), The Adventures of Gerard ("also terrible"), Torrents of Spring ("you clearly have excellent taste in avoiding my bad films"), though I rather let the side down after that by owning up to not seeing Le Départ and The Lightship, both of which he still rates highly.

That would've been a great interview. Hmm, I am quite saddened that he didn't like Moonlighting, since I absolutely *love* that one. It's in my Top 20 of all time, so I think very highly of it - it's the film that made me want to madly get to the rest of his filmography.

I have not seen The Lightship, but that one has been released on DVD, and so I must get my hands on it.


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 Post subject: Re: Jerzy Skolimowski
PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 2:13 am 
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MichaelB wrote:
Zazou dans le Metro wrote:
MichaelB wrote:
March 18, BFI Southbank
7pm: UK premiere of Four Nights With Anna, followed by Jerzy Skolimowski Q&A (hosted by yours truly).

A very prominent French producer, a very sincere and mild mannered man not given to invective or exaggeration, once told me that Skolimowski was the most difficult and abject **** that he ever had to deal with... and who made Polanski look like a pussy cat. Let's hope he has mellowed with age. Good Luck!.

He was an absolute pussycat. Seriously, this was one of the easiest, most relaxing and most entertaining live interviews I've ever done in my life -........... though I rather let the side down after that by owning up to not seeing Le Départ and The Lightship, both of which he still rates highly.

Well I'm very relieved for you...maybe my source's experience may have been as a result of the chemically fuelled 80's or something. Anyway I wish I had the opportunity of being there.Was it recorded for use by any chance?
Also do get to see Lightship if only for Robert Duvall's scenery chewing villain. A sort of Dick Dastardly by way of Tennessee Williams.


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 Post subject: Re: Jerzy Skolimowski
PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 2:40 am 

Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2006 6:58 pm
Location: Naxxar, Malta.
MichaelB wrote:
He was an absolute pussycat. Seriously, this was one of the easiest, most relaxing and most entertaining live interviews I've ever done in my life - Skolimowski was in a wonderfully genial, delightfully anecdotal mood, and although I only managed to ask about 5% of the questions I'd planned to ask him and could very happily have gone on for at least another hour, I got the impression that the audience had a great time. (The fact that they applauded all three of the clips that I screened - from Walkover, Barrier and Hands Up! - was a very good sign).

I particularly liked the way he gleefully latched onto the "Polish films only" brief (this was part of the Kinoteka Polish Film Festival) to dismiss his entire career between Hands Up! (1967) and Four Nights With Anna (2008) as "a load of dreadful films I made in the West". In fact, before we went on stage he asked me what I hadn't seen, and I said King Queen Knave ("worst film I ever made"), The Adventures of Gerard ("also terrible"), Torrents of Spring ("you clearly have excellent taste in avoiding my bad films"), though I rather let the side down after that by owning up to not seeing Le Départ and The Lightship, both of which he still rates highly.

It’s great to know that you interview with Jerzy Skolimowski went so well. I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t manage to get your hands on some of his movies prior to that meeting because, as it happens, I have LE DEPART (1967), THE ADVENTURES OF GERARD (1970) and TORRENTS OF SPRING (1989) on VHS and, having just acquired a DVD recorder, I guess I could have easily supplied you with them. But, frankly, it didn’t even occur to me that somebody in Great Britain with the right connections (the BFI) couldn’t have had access to something that was easily available in tiny, godforsaken Malta!

Actually, I don’t know if the condition of LE DEPART (in French but with superimposed Italian subtitles) and TORRENTS OF SPRING (in its ‘official’ Italian language only) would have been of any real use…but, I believe that watching foreign stuff unsubtitled isn’t new to you. At any rate, drop me a PM if you’re still interested in catching up with these 3. For the record, here’s a foretaste of what to expect:

LE DEPART
THE ADVENTURES OF GERARD
TORRENTS OF SPRING

Incidentally, I was equally surprised to learn that you’ve managed to see BARIERA (1966) and the 1981 re-issue version of HANDS UP! (1967) only recently since, again, I’ve been familiar with these (and the original 1967 version of HANDS UP! as well) for the last 10-15 years via VHS recordings off Italian TV (in Polish with hard Italian subs); although I got to see DEEP END through the same channel, that was a much more recent 'acquaintance'. It’s fantastic that those early Polish masterpieces are coming to DVD from Second Run and, hopefully, the same fate will befall DEEP END before long…

P.S. Having traveled to the NFT/BFI Southbank extensively in the last 10 years (most recently in January 2007 for that indispensable Luis Bunuel retrospective), I would gladly have done so again to catch your Jerzy Skolimowski interview of yesterday (or, for that matter, last year’s meeting with Miklos Jancso`) but, in his infinite wisdom, the Good Lord has seen fit to bring about bereavements (one very tragic and traumatic) in my family on the eve of both these events!!


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 Post subject: Re: Jerzy Skolimowski
PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 9:07 am 
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dmk_world wrote:
Hmm, I am quite saddened that he didn't like Moonlighting, since I absolutely *love* that one. It's in my Top 20 of all time, so I think very highly of it - it's the film that made me want to madly get to the rest of his filmography.

Don't worry - it was a joke! He has mixed feelings about some of his films, but Moonlighting is firmly on his list of favourites (as are Deep End and The Shout). He said that what he was particularly proud of was that he didn't go over the top - like many Poles, he was absolutely outraged when martial law was declared in December 1981, but he knew that if he made an angry film, it would generate more light than heat and date very rapidly.

Which is why, despite the ultra-speedy production (less than five months from inspiration to premiere for a professional 35mm feature with a major star must be some kind of record), it's an extremely controlled, contemplative film - he said that Bresson was one of his inspirations, and it's a great tribute to the film that it shows.

Zazou dans le Metro wrote:
Anyway I wish I had the opportunity of being there.Was it recorded for use by any chance?

I don't know for certain, but the big set-piece BFI Southbank interviews usually are.

mario gauci wrote:
but, in his infinite wisdom, the Good Lord has seen fit to bring about bereavements (one very tragic and traumatic) in my family on the eve of both these events!!

I deeply sympathise - not least because my only two serious opportunities to see Satantango on the big screen were stymied by my brother's wedding and my grandmother's funeral respectively.

But I wrote up the Jancso interview here if that's any help (albeit from memory).


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 Post subject: Re: Jerzy Skolimowski
PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 9:19 am 

Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2008 6:42 am
Le Départ
If that can help you, I should add, Michael, besides the OOP japanese dvd, (see additions on the Skolimowski topic in filmmakers section of the forum). It can be legally downloaded legally in a decent copy from the following website.

Also, the rights are owned by the belgium distributor Belfilm, who starts releasing its own dvd catalogue.

Let's hope...


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 Post subject: Re: Jerzy Skolimowski
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 1:45 am 
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titanium wrote:
Le Départ
If that can help you, I should add, Michael, besides the OOP japanese dvd, (see additions on the Skolimowski topic in filmmakers section of the forum). It can be legally downloaded legally in a decent copy from the following website.

Wow, I thought the film would be impossible to see. Titanium, do you know if either the DVD or the download includes English subtitles?

I'd love to see the film, but I don't think I could sit through it subtitle-less.

Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Jerzy Skolimowski
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 3:51 am 

Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2008 6:42 am
dmk_world wrote:
Wow, I thought the film would be impossible to see. Titanium, do you know if either the DVD or the download includes English subtitles?

I'd love to see the film, but I don't think I could sit through it subtitle-less.

No subs, neither on the dowload nor, afaik, on the dvd but you should try it all the same: Remember that when JS shot this one, he didn't speak french neither. He used to talk russian with the director of photography, polish with his crew, and thus, only body and eyes with Leaud. Hence, the main manner of expression of the film is slapstick, in a most incredible way, fuelled with high energy (underlined by Komeda's score) Also, it's perhaps the most beautiful film ever made on the end of teen age.

Admit that 5 euros is not much of a bet and you won't regret it.


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 Post subject: Re: Jerzy Skolimowski
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 6:33 am 
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titanium wrote:
Admit that 5 euros is not much of a bet and you won't regret it.

OK, I'll do it. Thanks a lot.

I've never watched a film from a language I don't understand without subtitles, so this may be either interesting, or I may lose interest very quickly. :-k


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 Post subject: Re: Jerzy Skolimowski
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 10:15 am 
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I was chatting about this very subject to Skolimowski last night, and he told me that dialogue is one of the least important elements in his films as far as he's concerned.

He said that he learned this from Roman Polanski - when they wrote Knife in the Water together, they pared the dialogue down to what they thought was an absolute bare minimum, and he was highly amused when I told him about the Polanski-approved DVD subtitles on both the Criterion and Anchor Bay editions, which pared them down even further by calculated omission! And since Skolimowski frequently makes films in a foreign language (to him), he has little time for linguistic subtlety, because he recognises that he probably won't appreciate the nuances himself.

In fact, he told me that he has ambitions to make a feature film with even less dialogue than Four Nights With Anna - which has so little itself that it's almost entirely comprehensible even without subtitles. (The interrogation and courtroom scenes are probably the only ones that really need translation).


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 Post subject: Re: Jerzy Skolimowski
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 10:38 am 

Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2008 6:42 am
It's of course true for his "foreign film" and, quite intentionally, for "Anna" as well, but it should be noted how wonderful dialogs writer JS is in his polish outputs: in a very concise style, but full of meanings and poetry at the same time...

These 4 films sure show a lot of nuances in their dialogs! But he likes to underlines how withdrawing unuseful words one by one on the "Knife" script became a sort of game.

He's a man of challenges!


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 Post subject: Re: Jerzy Skolimowski
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:06 am 
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titanium wrote:
... but it should be noted how wonderful dialogs writer JS is in his polish outputs: in a very concise style, but full of meanings and poetry at the same time...

These 4 films sure show a lot of nuances in their dialogs!

Yes, that's an absolutely fair point, and he said he's been very unhappy with the quality of the English subtitles, both in the 1960s (I uncovered a contemporary review of Walkover that raised the issue) and on the recent box set - which may well feature the same translation. By contrast, he says the French subtitles on his Polish films are far superior.

That's why the Second Run DVDs will hopefully be an enormous improvement almost regardless of transfer quality, because they should effectively feature the world premiere of a decent and conscientious English translation. For a good parallel example, their release of The Party and the Guests was far superior to the old BBC2 broadcast (which I assume reflected the original British theatrical print). Unlike the Polish box set of the Skolimowski quartet, there were no typos or grammatical infelicities in the BBC's version, but the Second Run subtitles translated significantly more of the original dialogue.


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 Post subject: Re: Jerzy Skolimowski
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:26 am 
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titanium wrote:
... but it should be noted how wonderful dialogs writer JS is in his polish outputs: in a very concise style, but full of meanings and poetry at the same time...

These 4 films sure show a lot of nuances in their dialogs!

This is so true. I absolutely loved the dialogue in his first two films, and I think his writing in Innocent Sorcerers probably has the best dialogue in any Polish film I've seen. I really love it. I found it very Woody Allen-standard.


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 Post subject: Re: Jerzy Skolimowski
PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 5:29 am 
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MichaelB wrote:
I'm delighted - and relieved! - to confirm that Gutek Film's release of Four Nights With Anna does indeed have English subtitles.

A trivial footnote: I've since discovered that the English subtitles on both the 35mm and DVD versions were personally supervised by Ewa Piaskowska, the film's co-screenwriter and Skolimowski's wife. Which explains why the standard is way above average for a Polish release - it's hard to see how they could be more authoritative!


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