578 The Complete Jean Vigo

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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Re: 578 the Complete Jean Vigo

#76 Post by Trees » Sun Apr 10, 2016 11:22 am

Criterion must be loudly applauded for this release!

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Re: 578 the Complete Jean Vigo

#77 Post by Gregory » Sun Apr 10, 2016 2:59 pm

My brief Vigo "story," if anyone's interested, is that I not only loved L'Atalante the first time I saw it but it made me love cinema more. That may seem like a banal thing to say about a Great Film, but I couldn't say it even about many of my other favorites. It came along for me at the perfect time—with a tiny fraction of what's available being accessible back then of course. I quickly bought P.E. Salles Gomes's book and began reading about Vigo's father, the anarchist/antimilitarist Miguel Almereyda, and then was saddened by reading all about the shabby way the film was treated and how even Le Chaland qui passe was a failure. What was even sadder was the realization that a definitive restoration will never be possible, and how Vigo had likely died to make L'Atalante (his health was already poor of course) but lived long enough to feel some degree of regret about having done so largely due to the horrible treatment of the film. There was the postwar "rediscovery" and all that, but it's still such a tragic loss.
I read about his previous films too but don't think I got to see them until the Artificial Eye set came out. I think they're all still underrated today, to a great extent probably just because they're shorts. Even Zero for Conduct (which has a respectable enough place on the TSPDT list) is undervalued. If I were doing a ballot for the current Films of Youth list, that one would likely be my top choice. Rewatching Zero for Conduct and L'Atalante both again and again brings out fresh details every time. And A Propos de Nice especially is underrated.

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Re: 578 the Complete Jean Vigo

#78 Post by AK » Mon Apr 11, 2016 2:49 am

Thanks for that, Gregory! I'd say that this sense of the bittersweet that comes through your writing also permeates my relationship with Vigo's films. Hardly ever is the idea of "what might have been" in my mind as strongly as with these films. I often watch these through tears, both of joy and sadness, surely. And the exuberant life that's in L'Atalante is all the more precious and amazing knowing that the film was made by a dying man. And seeing Vigo in À Propos de Nice always affects me.

(Not that it necessarily adds anything to the discussion, but this is what I wrote about the films some years ago.)

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Re: 578 the Complete Jean Vigo

#79 Post by remy » Fri Jul 01, 2016 11:40 am

I heard this morning on the French national radio that Gaumont had done a new restoration of L'Atalante, and that it is supposed to play at the La Rochelle film festival in July.

There was quite a bit of controversy (and differences) between the 1990 (Bompoint/Philippe) and the 2000 (Eisenschitz) restorations, the former being longer but with guesses around Vigo's intentions, the latter being closer to the first edit by Louis Chavance. Vigo apparently was not satisfied with that first edit, but didn't live to make a more satisfactory one.

I'm curious to how this new restoration will be handled. My guess is that it may be an update of the Eisenschitz version. A quick web search didn't return much, any input is welcome!

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Re: 578 the Complete Jean Vigo

#80 Post by hearthesilence » Mon May 15, 2017 7:55 pm

remy wrote:I'm curious to how this new restoration will be handled. My guess is that it may be an update of the Eisenschitz version. A quick web search didn't return much, any input is welcome!
It's showing at Cannes Classics, and the press release says:

Presented by Gaumont, la Cinémathèque française and The Film Foundation of Martin Scorsese. First digital restoration in 4k and conversion to a 35mm print. A new discovery of the closest version of the director’s work thanks to Gaumont, Luce Vigo and historian Bernard Eisenschitz. Restoration carried out at L’Image Retrouvée laboratory in Bologna and Paris.

I found this elsewhere:

Gaumont, La Cinematheque Francaise, and Martin Scorsese’s non-profit organization, The Film Foundation, have collaborated for the first time to restore Jean Vigo’s masterpiece, « L’Atalante ». For this ambitious project, the partners enlisted scholar Bernard Eisenschitz, who had previously worked on two earlier restorations of « L’Atalante ». The director’s daughter, Luce Vigo, also provided invaluable assistance.

This is the first 4K digital restoration of the film and the goal was to stay true to the director’s original work, referencing vintage prints, earlier photochemical restorations and negatives. The restoration was carried out by L’Immagine Ritrovata in Bologna and Paris.

Thanks to the collaboration of numerous cinematheques (La Cinematheque Francaise, Cineteca Italiana in Milan, BFI National Film Archive, Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique) that loaned their prints, a frame-by-frame comparison from several different versions was completed to note scene variations. Using the edge codes, the film stocks were dated to choose the earliest and best version for the 4K scan.

The same workflow was utilized for the sound restoration; comparison of all the elements to obtain the best audio quality. It was especially important to respect the integrity of the original score by Maurice Jaubert.

With this restoration, Gaumont, Luce Vigo, who passed away on February 12th, and Bernard Eisenschitz, completed many years of research on the existing film material, writings, documents, and testimonies, always staying faithful to the intentions of Jean Vigo.

The restored version of « L’Atalante », will be screened as part of this year’s Cannes Classics. In addition, Gaumont and The Film Foundation are joining forces to restore three other Vigo titles (Zero de conduite, A propos de Nice, Taris).

Here's what's also been reported:

Gaumont’s main interest in this new version is to present a 4K DCP of the film, but, in partnership with Kodak, L’Atalante will also be available as a brand new 35mm print. This 35mm print will be shown at Cannes Classics in a couple weeks, and in September at the Cinemathèque Française. To Gaumont’s surprise, the existence of a film print of this new restoration has produced considerable excitement among potential programmers, including both festivals and repertory cinemas. Although it is common practice for Gaumont to make a 35mm print at the end of a restoration process, this print is usually meant for archival purposes, and not for distribution. Considering the iconic status of L’Atalante, they decided to also offer the possibility to show the brand new version on film.

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Re: 578 The Complete Jean Vigo

#81 Post by jegharfangetmigenmyg » Wed Apr 11, 2018 3:51 am

I haven't seen it mentioned in here, but apparently Gaumont's new 4K restorations have already been released as a boxed set in Japan early this year. However, I can't find any information regarding the subtitles. Are they only available in Japanese? I guess we can be pretty certain that English subtitles won't be included on the future French release...

The set is listed on Amazon.jp here without any detailed information regardring the subtitles: https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B0764MB59K/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I find it a bit puzzling that the whole artwork is in French. It looks like a French box released in Japan by mistake.


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Re: 578 The Complete Jean Vigo

#82 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Wed Apr 11, 2018 10:11 am

jegharfangetmigenmyg wrote:I find it a bit puzzling that the whole artwork is in French. It looks like a French box released in Japan by mistake.
It's pretty common for Japanese releases of "arthouse" titles to have exclusively foreign-language cover art. You can see a lot of titles in the "people who bought this also bought..." section (including Pickpocket, L'argent, Close-up, Amarcord, Paterson, and a Parajanov box) that are the same way, and it doesn't seem to be a recent trend since I have some Japanese laserdiscs that do it too. In the case of my LDs there's a removable band (called an obi in Japan) that gives the Japanese title and some basic info, and the back cover is in Japanese. My guess is these Blus are mostly the same way.

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Re: 578 The Complete Jean Vigo

#83 Post by FrauBlucher » Sat Sep 15, 2018 9:19 am

With Janus touring the Vigo 4k restorations with added footage, we can suspect a rerelease much like the Monterey Pop Festival

Btw... I saw the trailer for L’Atalante yesterday at the Film Forum. It looks amazing.

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Re: 578 The Complete Jean Vigo

#84 Post by whaleallright » Sat Sep 15, 2018 4:42 pm

have all the home-video releases before this been based on the early-1990s restoration of L'Atalante done by Lobster Films? I remember that one being released with great fanfare.

I have to admit that I'm sometimes a little chagrined, or at least befuddled, when a new restoration trumpets its definitive-ness when an earlier restoration made a similar boast (see also The Leopard, etc.). I know that the discovery of new prints, improvements in digital restoration software, etc. mean that these boasts aren't usually or always empty, but I still get that same feeling as when some album is remastered for the 4,000th time with each new remaster promising that finally you'll be able to hear the album as it was always intended to sound....

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