5/71 Mother Joan of the Angels

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MichaelB
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Re: 5 Mother Joan of the Angels

#26 Post by MichaelB » Thu Nov 24, 2011 2:29 pm

Peacock wrote:I thought most of these Polish releases had english subtitles?
Not the batch of 20 Kadr restorations that came out a few months ago on DVD+book editions in partnership with Gazeta Wyborcza. Picture quality is way ahead of competing releases (at least judging from the four I've seen), but they're firmly monolingual.

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Re: 5 Mother Joan of the Angels

#27 Post by j99 » Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:12 am

Hopefully Second Run will pick up this remaster and release it sometime. I've always been reluctant to purchase their version because of the poor transfer

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Re: 5 Mother Joan of the Angels

#28 Post by jbeall » Tue Nov 29, 2011 2:27 pm

Trust me, the film is so good that you won't mind. As I said in my earlier post, the print-quality only adds to the spookiness!

If SR updates it, I'll gladly double-dip, but I've watched Mother Joan... three times and the print has never distracted from the experience.

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Re: 5 Mother Joan of the Angels

#29 Post by MichaelB » Thu Apr 05, 2012 7:17 am

j99 wrote:Hopefully Second Run will pick up this remaster and release it sometime. I've always been reluctant to purchase their version because of the poor transfer
Your prayers have been answered - thanks to the happy coincidence of a decent restoration finally becoming available and the release of the BFI's high-profile DVD of The Devils, Second Run is taking a gamble on their first reissue, and a new improved version of Mother Joan of the Angels will be out on May 28th.

Aside from the superior transfer, they've also beefed up the specs - the booklet has been expanded, and I recorded an illustrated video intro a few weeks ago.

And just to get the obvious question out of the way, it won't be Blu-ray - Second Run has crunched the numbers every conceivable way but just can't work out how to make Blu-ray releases fit their low-price niche-market business model without gambling money that they really can't afford to lose. But it will still look drastically better than the original 2005 DVD.

The new blurb, taken from their newsletter:
One of the landmarks of Polish cinema, this celebrated film has been fully and carefully restored from original materials and is presented here in a beautiful new High-Definition transfer.

Based on the documented story of the 'demonic possession' of a group of nuns that led to the burning of a priest at the stake in Loudun, France in 1634 (which also formed the basis for Ken Russell's notorious 1971 film The Devils and provided inspiration to Aldous Huxley for his renowned novel The Devils of Loudun). In acclaimed director Jerzy Kawalerowicz's hands Mother Joan of the Angels is a spare, visually astonishing and profoundly disturbing exploration of faith, repression, fanaticism and sexuality. Aided by an extraordinary performance by Lucyna Winnicka as Mother Joan, Kawalerowicz produces one of cinema's most evocative and intense studies of the tragedy of emotion repressed by dogma.

The DVD features the film presented from a new HD digital transfer with restored picture and sound, plus a new filmed appreciation of the film by writer and film historian Michael Brooke and a booklet featuring a selection of new essays on the film.

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John Edmond
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Re: 5 Mother Joan of the Angels

#30 Post by John Edmond » Thu Apr 05, 2012 7:44 am

Tip! Great to hear, I thought this was the film you were hinting at elsewhere.

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Re: 5 Mother Joan of the Angels

#31 Post by MichaelB » Thu Apr 05, 2012 7:50 am

John Edmond wrote:Tip! Great to hear, I thought this was the film you were hinting at elsewhere.
It wouldn't have been too hard to work out - obviously, I've known about this for ages (my video intro was filmed last month), but I was honour-bound not to spill the beans until Second Run themselves confirmed it.

But I did deliberately drop a few clues here and there - not least in The Devils thread itself: I wouldn't have been able to have been anything like as knowledgeable about Mother Joan if I hadn't done rather a lot of homework in January and February!

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John Edmond
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Re: 5 Mother Joan of the Angels

#32 Post by John Edmond » Thu Apr 05, 2012 7:56 am

Yes, hardly difficult - particularly once you excluded Knights of the Teutonic Order and Marketa Lazarová due to BBFC problems.

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Re: 5 Mother Joan of the Angels

#33 Post by MichaelB » Thu Apr 05, 2012 7:58 am

John Edmond wrote:Yes, hardly difficult - particularly once you excluded Knights of the Teutonic Order and Marketa Lazarová due to BBFC problems.
Well, I knew that the Mother Joan announcement was imminent (in fact, I thought the newsletter would be going out yesterday), so I thought I'd be as blatant as I could get away with!

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Re: 5 Mother Joan of the Angels

#34 Post by John Edmond » Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:20 am

Well it definitely helped Second Run sell another copy - I was about to grab the Polish release of the restoration (a decision equally inspired by the release of The Devils) when I read your hint, but I much prefer not having to fuss about with subtitles. Particularly since I've just discovered how useless Final Cut Pro X is at DVD authoring (my old software is on my old laptop - which works, but only if nobody moves).

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Re: 5 Mother Joan of the Angels

#35 Post by jbeall » Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:29 am

Great film. I'm actually fine with the older disc, but I'll be donating it to my school's library and picking up the new resto.

I noticed that the newsletter didn't show the dvd cover. Is new cover art being prepared?

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Re: 5 Mother Joan of the Angels

#36 Post by MichaelB » Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:35 am

I assume so - the old one doesn't really fit their current semi-abstract style, and I suspect they'll be keen to differentiate between the 2005 and 2012 versions.

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Re: 5 Mother Joan of the Angels

#37 Post by lubitsch » Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:15 am

And this new transfer is the same as in the 50 Years of Polish cinema box or is it an even better one?

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Re: 5 Mother Joan of the Angels

#38 Post by MichaelB » Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:22 am

lubitsch wrote:And this new transfer is the same as in the 50 Years of Polish cinema box or is it an even better one?
Going from the clips I've seen, it should be a fair bit better - and I'm very familiar with the box set version because that's the one I used when preparing my video intro (since, as you acknowledge, it's a distinct cut above the 2005 Second Run version).

It was unveiled last year as part of a batch of twenty restorations undertaken by the rejuvenated Studio Kadr. It was carried out by the same people that did the restorations in Second Run's Polish Cinema Classics box, but until now it's only been available on an unsubtitled Polish DVD as part of that Gazeta Wyborcza book+DVD promotional tie-in.

Incidentally, just to get the rumour mill cranked up (since I know that Second Run will be putting at least one more out), these were the twenty titles in question. Eight of them have already been picked up by UK distributors - I've highlighted them in bold. Sadly, only Ashes and Diamonds is out on a UK-label Blu-ray, which probably isn't that surprising - these films are, for the most part, seriously obscure as far as English-speaking markets are concerned.

Eroica (d. Andrzej Munk, 1957) - Second Run DVD
Ashes and Diamonds (Popiół i diament, d. Andrzej Wajda, 1958) - Arrow Academy dual-format
The Last Day of Summer (Ostatni dzień lata, d. Tadeusz Konwicki, 1958)
Night Train (Pociąg, d. Jerzy Kawalerowicz, 1959) - Second Run DVD
Goodbye, See You Tomorrow (Do widzenia, do jutra, d. Janusz Morgenstern, 1960) - Second Run DVD
Innocent Sorcerers (Niewinni czarodzieje, d. Wajda, 1960) - Second Run DVD
Mother Joan of the Angels (Matka Joanna od Aniołów, d. Kawalerowicz, 1961) - Second Run DVD
Giuseppe in Warsaw (Giuseppe w Warszawie, d. Stanisław Lenartowicz, 1964)
The Saragossa Manuscript (Rękopis znaleziony w Saragossie, d. Wojciech Has, 1965) - Mr Bongo DVD
Pharaoh (Faraon, d. Kawalerowicz, 1965)
Salto (Jump, d. Konwicki, 1965)
Jovita (Jowita, d. Morgenstern, 1967)
Kill That Love (Trzeba zabic te milosc, d. Morgenstern, 1972)
The Wedding (Wesele, d. Wajda, 1973)
The Hourglass Sanatorium (Sanatorium pod klepsydrą, d. Has, 1973) - Mr Bongo DVD
Hit the Bank (Vabank, d. Juliusz Machulski, 1981)
Austeria (d. Kawalerowicz, 1982)
The Big Shark (Wielki Szu, d. Sylwester Chęciński, 1982)
Sex Mission (Seksmisja, d. Machulski, 1984)
Hit the Bank II (Vabank II, d. Machulski, 1985)

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lubitsch
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Re: 5 Mother Joan of the Angels

#39 Post by lubitsch » Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:12 am

Oh the joy of re-re-releases! But I think Second Run needn't worry here, the old Polish transfer is already worth an upgrade, an even newer one makes it a must for those who have the Second Run. I'll wait how good the new resto is.
Obviously I was rather hoping for a subtitled restored DVD of Knights of the Teutonic Order but if the BBFC is such a pain in the ass with their animal cruelty rules ...

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Re: 5 Mother Joan of the Angels

#40 Post by neilist » Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:17 am

MichaelB wrote:I know that Second Run will be putting at least one more out
More Kawalerowicz please! :)

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Re: 5 Mother Joan of the Angels

#41 Post by MichaelB » Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:32 am

lubitsch wrote:Obviously I was rather hoping for a subtitled restored DVD of Knights of the Teutonic Order but if the BBFC is such a pain in the ass with their animal cruelty rules ...
It's nothing to do with BBFC rules, it's a case of criminal law - believe me, the BBFC is as frustrated by this as anyone else, and there's no way they'd have cut films as distinguished as Marketa Lazarová, Andrei Rublev and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid if there was any legal way round it.

But unfortunately they're required by the 1984 Video Recordings Act to ensure that nothing that they passes infringes the criminal law, and the 1937 Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act remains on the statute books to this day. So the only solution (short of importing, of course) is to change the law, which means petitioning a sympathetic MP to put forward a Private Member's Bill to... well, to effectively legalise the distribution of footage of genuine animal cruelty. In a nation of animal lovers, have a guess as to how likely that is!

So I think it's wildly unlikely that Second Run will be licensing the new master of Knights of the Teutonic Order unless the BBFC can work out a way of passing it uncut - and it's very unlikely that it can, because the contentious footage is precisely the kind of blatant cruelty to horses that the Act was designed to stamp out in the first place! (If I remember rightly, it was outrage over the 1936 The Charge of the Light Brigade that led directly to the legislation being passed the following year).

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Re: 5 Mother Joan of the Angels

#42 Post by j99 » Thu Apr 05, 2012 12:15 pm

MichaelB wrote: Your prayers have been answered - thanks to the happy coincidence of a decent restoration finally becoming available and the release of the BFI's high-profile DVD of The Devils, Second Run is taking a gamble on their first reissue, and a new improved version of Mother Joan of the Angels will be out on May 28th.
They certainly have. I just rented the film a few weeks back and thought how great it would be if the recently restored version got a UK release, and now voila! Excellent news indeed.
MichaelB wrote: But I did deliberately drop a few clues here and there - not least in The Devils thread itself: I wouldn't have been able to have been anything like as knowledgeable about Mother Joan if I hadn't done rather a lot of homework in January and February!
I would never have noticed; you always come across as having an excellent knowledge of Eastern European cinema anyway.

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Re: 5 Mother Joan of the Angels

#43 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Apr 05, 2012 2:17 pm

Eureka released a version of Pharaoh in the very early days of the DVD format (although I remember the widescreen format being wonky, the film being a shorter version and it also being dubbed, so there is quite a lot of room for improvement on that edition!), so I wonder whether that might possibly be the most logical title for a UK reissue of a new restoration

Although alternatively perhaps it could be the least likely due to it at least having been available in some version at some point in the past!

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Re: 5 Mother Joan of the Angels

#44 Post by McCrutchy » Fri Apr 06, 2012 12:35 am

MichaelB wrote:
lubitsch wrote:Obviously I was rather hoping for a subtitled restored DVD of Knights of the Teutonic Order but if the BBFC is such a pain in the ass with their animal cruelty rules ...
It's nothing to do with BBFC rules, it's a case of criminal law - believe me, the BBFC is as frustrated by this as anyone else, and there's no way they'd have cut films as distinguished as Marketa Lazarová, Andrei Rublev and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid if there was any legal way round it.

But unfortunately they're required by the 1984 Video Recordings Act to ensure that nothing that they passes infringes the criminal law, and the 1937 Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act remains on the statute books to this day. So the only solution (short of importing, of course) is to change the law, which means petitioning a sympathetic MP to put forward a Private Member's Bill to... well, to effectively legalise the distribution of footage of genuine animal cruelty. In a nation of animal lovers, have a guess as to how likely that is!

So I think it's wildly unlikely that Second Run will be licensing the new master of Knights of the Teutonic Order unless the BBFC can work out a way of passing it uncut - and it's very unlikely that it can, because the contentious footage is precisely the kind of blatant cruelty to horses that the Act was designed to stamp out in the first place! (If I remember rightly, it was outrage over the 1936 The Charge of the Light Brigade that led directly to the legislation being passed the following year).
I've been thinking about this, and surely there must be an easier way to amend the law so that it only punishes people from a given day forward for filmed acts of animal cruelty in the UK. This way, you could grandfather all the films prior to that date, and going forward, only punish the people responsible for the actual cruelty (and obviously only if it occurred in the UK), instead of simply cutting the imagery out of a film.

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Re: 5 Mother Joan of the Angels

#45 Post by zedz » Mon Apr 09, 2012 6:21 pm

But if the grandfathering date is 1937 (since the behaviour in question has clearly been illegal since then and there's no doubt that parliament wanted to make that specific behaviour illegal), that's not going to be much help - certainly not for the examples under discussion.

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Re: 5 Mother Joan of the Angels

#46 Post by Peacock » Mon Apr 09, 2012 6:43 pm

If Cannibal Holocaust can get round the Animals Act (with one small exception) many years after other scenes previously failing it, I don't see why some of these can't...

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Re: 5 Mother Joan of the Angels

#47 Post by zedz » Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:26 pm

Wasn't Cannibal Holocaust able to establish that most of the 'animal cruelty' was faked or otherwise exempt? The problem with the films in question is that they unambiguously violate a crystal clear statute. Which is why an equally crystal clear law change would be required to allow them to pass. And as Michael notes, that's the kind of politically suicidal move nobody in their right mind would undertake ("let me explain: my bill only proposes that it's okay to torture animals for the sake of a movie if it turns out to be a really good movie.")

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Re: 5 Mother Joan of the Angels

#48 Post by Peacock » Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:37 pm

None of the 'animal cruelty' was faked, but they decided after looking again at the footage that most of the animals died quickly and cleanly and any further movement from the animals was a post-mortem reaction.

My point is simply that many cut films should be given a second look to decide whether or not the animal died quickly seeing as it worked for Cannibal recently. Although sure, the horse was clearly in a lot of pain for several seconds before being put out of its misery in Rublev so that one would never happen.

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Re: 5 Mother Joan of the Angels

#49 Post by MichaelB » Tue Apr 10, 2012 4:29 am

Peacock wrote:Although sure, the horse was clearly in a lot of pain for several seconds before being put out of its misery in Rublev so that one would never happen.
And it's pretty certain that Knights of the Teutonic Order wouldn't get through either.

Marketa Lazarová might be open to negotiation, but the problem there is that the single tricky shot seems to sum up precisely the kind of "cruel goading of an animal to fury" that's explicitly proscribed by the law - namely, a snake rearing in pain as it's impaled (clearly for real) on screen.

Incidentally, since the Mother Joan thread now seems to have been taken over by a discussion about animal cruelty, I think I should probably stress that there's no animal cruelty in Mother Joan and that Second Run's new DVD will be entirely uncut. (Just like the old one).

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Re: 5 Mother Joan of the Angels

#50 Post by McCrutchy » Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:12 pm

zedz wrote:But if the grandfathering date is 1937 (since the behaviour in question has clearly been illegal since then and there's no doubt that parliament wanted to make that specific behaviour illegal), that's not going to be much help - certainly not for the examples under discussion.
I was thinking the grandfathering date would be whatever date the amendment/new law is passed. I also think it should be enforced only for films produced (in part, or wholly) in the UK, since that is really all the UK should be concerned about.

Anyway, we should probably discuss the film now...I am rather excited for the remastered DVD since I have never seen the film.

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