55 The Unbearable Lightness of Being

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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Martha
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55 The Unbearable Lightness of Being

#1 Post by Martha » Sat Feb 12, 2005 10:15 pm

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

[img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/release_images/422/55_box_348x490_w100.jpg[/img]

Philip Kaufman achieves a delicate, erotic balance with his screen version of Milan Kundera’s “unfilmable” novel. Adapted by Kaufman and Jean-Claude Carrière, the film follows a womanizing surgeon (Daniel Day-Lewis) as he struggles with his free-spirited mistress (Lena Olin) and his childlike wife (Juliette Binoche). An intimate epic, The Unbearable Lightness of Being charts the frontiers of relationships with wit, emotion, and devastating honesty.

Disc Features

- Beautiful widescreen transfer, enhanced for widescreen televisions
- Audio commentary by director Philip Kaufman, co-writer Jean-Claude Carrière, editor Walter Murch, and actor Lena Olin
- English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
- Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition

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Last edited by Martha on Fri Dec 02, 2005 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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blindside8zao
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#2 Post by blindside8zao » Mon Oct 24, 2005 11:57 pm

curious to know if anyone else thought this was a magnificent film.

Also, do not buy from Juliya1981 on ebay. I know two different people who she sold fake copies to.

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Jeff
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#3 Post by Jeff » Tue Oct 25, 2005 1:07 am

Two-Disc special edition being released by Warner on February 7. It appears to include the Criterion commentary.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being Two-Disc Special Edition DVD (1988)

A young doctor's quest for sex and his stumbling into love in Prague, circa 1968, are part of the rich storyline of this sensual film based on the novel by the Czech novelist Milan Kundera. Produced by Saul Zaentz (The English Patient, Amadeus) and directed by Philip Kaufman (The Right Stuff, Henry & June), The Unbearable Lightness of Being stars Daniel Day-Lewis (Gangs of New York, My Left Foot) as the doctor, with Lena Olin (TV's Alias) as Sabina and Juliette Binoche (Chocolat, The English Patient) as Tereza completing the romantic triangle at the center of his world.

Special features include:

- Commentary by director/screenwriter Philip Kaufman, screenwriter
Jean-Claude Carriere, co-star Lena Olin and editor Walter Murch
- Emotional History: The Making of The Unbearable Lightness of Being
- Theatrical Trailer
- Languages: English & French
- Subtitles: English, French & Spanish (Feature Film Only)

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FilmFanSea
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#4 Post by FilmFanSea » Tue Oct 25, 2005 2:20 am

Jeff wrote:Two-Disc special edition being released by Warner on February 7. It appears to include the Criterion commentary.
Fascinating. I can't imagine that there's a huge audience for a Special Edition (though I like the film quite a lot)---recall that copies of the Criterion were still available online nearly a year after it went OOP. All I can say is that WHV must have some deep-assed pockets.

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#5 Post by Narshty » Tue Oct 25, 2005 3:22 am

Now why couldn't Criterion and Warner have got their shit together in time for Bad Day at Black Rock? Sounds like the Warner is the one to get, provided they upgrade on MGM's noticeably inferior transfer.

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#6 Post by flambeur » Tue Oct 25, 2005 10:44 am

blindside8zao wrote:curious to know if anyone else thought this was a magnificent film.
One of my favorites, the ending of this film is just sublime. Thinking
it will rank high on the "80's" list.

Hoping for a better quality DVD than the Criterion issue.

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Gordon
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#7 Post by Gordon » Tue Oct 25, 2005 11:05 am

Where did this news come from, Jeff?

This is awesome news. I tried very hard to obtain an authentic copy a few months back for a reasonable price, so this is fantastic news.

I'm with Narshty: How the hell did Warner manage to bag the Criterion commentary for this, but not for Bad Day at Black Rock? A film that Criterion will (probably) never again release, leaving their legendary commentary lying on the shelf. The inclusion of the commentary on Raging Bull was also a wonderful surprise. Now if only Columbia could obtain the Schrader-Scorsese commentary for Taxi Driver and the Midnight Cowboy track with John Schlesinger and Jerome Hellman. Maybe that is why the Special Edition of Midnight Cowboy has been delayed.

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#8 Post by artfilmfan » Tue Oct 25, 2005 9:00 pm

blindside8zao wrote:curious to know if anyone else thought this was a magnificent film.
It's a magnificent film indeed! This was the first Criterion DVD that I bought. Actually, make that the first and second Criterion DVDs that I bought -- I bought two copies. The film is ranked third on my list of all-time favorites.

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#9 Post by numediaman2 » Wed Oct 26, 2005 8:20 pm

I surprised to read so many positive statements about this film here. This forum has traditionally been very cool concerning this film.

I personally love this film. Kaufman does an outstanding job. The book by Milan Kundera is a masterpiece. The film and the book are almost two completely different beasts, related, but still completely different.

(And no, I will not sell you my copy.)

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#10 Post by Panda » Wed Oct 26, 2005 8:38 pm

Delighted to hear that it will be re-released in early 2006. I had long thought of trying to pick up the CC edition, but was put off by the possibility of being hoodwinked with a bootleg.

"Lightness of Being" is indeed an emotional heavyweight. I've only seen it once, unfortunately, but it has a way of lingering in the mind. Doubtless, one of the best films of its decade.

Panda

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#11 Post by Godot » Thu Oct 27, 2005 10:16 pm

numediaman2 wrote:I (sic) surprised to read so many positive statements about this film here. This forum has traditionally been very cool concerning this film.
I disagree. On the previous version of this forum we had a long, healthy debate over the best CC release for Valentine's viewing, and ULoB was hotly defended by me and others. Don't mistake a lack of posting in a release's thread (especially older titles) for disinterest or dislike; frankly, we've been posting comments on these discs for four forums now, and there's often not much new to say (and less interest in re-posting old ideas). Plus some of the members have their own sites where they catalog their essays and reviews.

I think this is a fantastic film, and the time-shifting structure at the end is marvelous for setting up the deep melancholy of the final images, which reduce me to tears every time. It's still among the most romantic CC releases, though now behind I Fidanzati (and ahead of In the Mood for Love and Il Posto) in my eyes.
Panda wrote:Doubtless, one of the best films of its decade.
Have you submitted your 1980's list? You should, push it up to the top. I had it at #42 (behind The Sure Thing and ahead of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown).
Here's the thread.

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#12 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Oct 28, 2005 4:50 am

Godot wrote: and the time-shifting structure at the end is marvelous for setting up the deep melancholy of the final images, which reduce me to tears every time.
SpoilerShow
I fully agree, it is one of the few films that also captures the loss from the death of a pet (which is refreshing for me, as I love horror films but they often use the family pet as the first victim - in my opinion it's only because they aren't usually allowed to kill the family's annoying kid instead!) and I like the way the emotion over having to put their trusted companion down is fully played out while the couple's death is treated off screen.

It reminds me of when my previous cat had to be put down and the way that whether it is an animal or a person that has touched your life the death is still a heartbreaking thing. Also through showing the love they have for the dog and going through that loss in detail, Sabina's own sense of loss on learning of their deaths links the two events and makes the viewer understand what she is feeling more powerfully. It also underscores that even though Tomas and Tereza were never powerful or successful in a limited career centred view, that they enriched each other's lives, had a great journey through their lives saving and being there for each other and were remembered fondly by others, and that is perhaps the best sign of a life well lived.

I feel bad because it just got pushed out of my Top 50 list for the 80s and I think that is less to do with the quality of the film, but more to do with my wanting to read and compare it to the book before putting it any higher, but even without reading the book it feels like a truly great film and I think I might put it higher next time we run through the decades! One of the great areas of the film was the Prague Spring sequence that seemed particularly well edited and integrated the film and archive footage well.
Godot wrote:Don't mistake a lack of posting in a release's thread (especially older titles) for disinterest or dislike
That is something else I have to fully agree with. There are so many brilliant films brought up in this forum and I can't post in all of them because I often can't think of anything worthwhile to say! It doesn't mean that I'm not interested in them though, and I think that would go for most people browsing the forum.

One of the other things on this topic that I personally see no problem in is responding to old comments on the forum. I don't think that if it has been a couple of weeks or a few months since a comment that this closes the discussion - perhaps we might get a flash of inspiration or want to respond to something we have only just read, despite it being an old comment, and I don't think there is any reason to hold back from doing so, as long as its interesting!
Last edited by colinr0380 on Mon Oct 31, 2005 5:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#13 Post by scotty » Fri Oct 28, 2005 11:25 am

I've got it at #8 on my 80s list. I overpaid for the OOP Criterion, though.

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#14 Post by blindside8zao » Mon Oct 31, 2005 11:59 pm

funny you should bring up the dog, when Karenin's dying, that's the part I cried at the most.

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#15 Post by kieslowski_67 » Fri Nov 04, 2005 10:59 am

#11 on my 80s list. Just a wonderful movie, and Kaufmann's best.

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#16 Post by dx23 » Wed Nov 09, 2005 7:21 pm

Dvdanswers.com confirmed the release of the 2 disc SE and they have cover artwork, to which i just can only say wow!!! One of the best covers ever.

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#17 Post by cdnchris » Wed Nov 09, 2005 8:57 pm

Kind of crazy it doesn't include the 5.1 track from the MGM DVD. Like it matters anyways I guess.

Hmmm, I wasn't going to buy this (I was happy enough with the Criterion one) but I love the cover. Probably still won't buy it, but I'd probably be really tempted to pick it up if I saw that in the store.

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#18 Post by dx23 » Sun Mar 11, 2007 1:36 pm

According to this thread over at DVDTalk, the WB release is going OOP. So there will be no Region 1 version of this film available.

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#19 Post by jbeall » Mon Mar 12, 2007 12:12 am

I bought the WB disc, and quite like it. I'm teaching the novel to my World Lit students in two weeks, and wanted to supplement it with a few clips from the film, and watching it for the first time, I was pretty impressed with Kaufman's version, given how unfilmable the novel is.

I haven't seen criterion's version, but I'd say that picking up the WB version before it goes OOP is a worthwhile purchase.

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#20 Post by Rich Malloy » Mon Mar 12, 2007 10:28 am

Does anyone think the WB transfer is an improvement over Criterion's? Different certainly, more accurate I have no idea... I love the film and just want to make sure I'm not missing out on a preferable transfer.

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#21 Post by jbeall » Mon Mar 12, 2007 11:20 am

It looks really good to me, although I haven't seen a dvdbeaver comparison or anything like that.

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#22 Post by kinjitsu » Mon Mar 12, 2007 11:54 am

Gary Tooze wrote:The new Warner image is a vast improvement over the hazy manipulated MGM travesty, but I think I might still lean towards the Criterion for the picture quality (although it does show excessive reds at times). To be honest, I am not sure which transfer is best between the Criterion and the Warner (Criterion sharper?) but I am thankful that Warner have taken more care in producing this disc package than MGM did ... They have included the same excellent commentary as the Criterion DVD... as well as a 30:00 'Making of' featurette. The new edition has an optional French DUB. The Warner is a very good package and we recommend it to those who do not have the Criterion (which IS labeled as 'director approved'). I really love this film and will still hold on to my out-of-print Criterion DVD ... The Criterion picture is much sharper and the colors are more true (look at skin tones ).

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#23 Post by thebedbreakinkid » Tue Apr 03, 2007 4:22 am

whenever i think of this movie i always remember mephisto and his little black tie

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#24 Post by Cinesimilitude » Thu Apr 05, 2007 4:17 pm

I don't own this so I was wondering if someone could point me to, or make, caps of Daniel Day-Lewis in this film. See, I have a friend who looks just like him when he was younger and I want to do a photoshoot recreating some of the shots with him and his girlfriend.

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#25 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Jun 08, 2007 1:12 pm

The Moon In The Gutter blog on the film (which also includes a couple of lobby cards of Day-Lewis that SncDthMnky might be able to use for his project!)

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