Late-Night Ramblings On A Selection Of Recent Continental Home Video Releases

 

 

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A couple of weeks ago I wrote of Jacques Resnais’ OUT 1 being released on DVD in Germany. It’s a landmark release in many ways, the foremost one being that the French filmmakers near. 13-hour epic had largely gone lost, with theatrical screenings rare and the mentioned DVD being the first release anywhere in the world. Having now seen the disc first hand I’m happy to report that the rumours were correct: the long form Noli me tangere cut of the film is indeed English subtitled (The same can’t be said for Spectre, the shorter cut). Picture quality is fine too. As anyone who’s had to resort to more illicit means in the past will attest to, OUT 1 in a watchable iteration has long been a dream many gave up on, and this release is very satisfying. In July, to the-in with the Blu-ray release of Le Pont du Nord I’ll be examine the work of Rivette in greater detail. A full look at the complete OUT 1 will form a major aspect of that.

There’s nary a figure in all of the cinema that I find as fascinating as Jean-Luc Godard. Despite having spent a great deal of my professional life looking at the work of the prolific filmmaker it often feels like completing the directors oeuvre is an insurmountable task, such is the volume of the work on offer. Thanks to Gaumont though the task has inched that little bit closer to completion, with a pair of extensive box-sets, each focussing on a specific area of the filmmakers body of work having been released over the past 18 months.

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Titled Godard Fiction and Godard Politique, the two box-sets act as channels into two of the multi-faceted filmmakers complete work. Fiction features the following nine films, across ten discs. The tenth disc features an exclusive feature-length interview with Godard, Conversation avec JLG, from 2007. Sadly this interview is not subtitled for non-French speakers. It’s the only disc which isn’t though.

* – Une femme marié
* – Bande à part
* – Tout va bien
* – Sauve qui peut, aka Every Man For Himself, aka Slow Motion
* – Weekend
* – Soigne ta droite
* – Je vous salue Marie
* – For Ever Mozart
* – JLG/JLG

It’s the latter titles on the above list which demand the most attention, given that they’ve yet to receive UK releases. It’s actually the presence of JLG/JLG that encouraged me in to biting the bullet and ordering the lavish collection.

Politique features 13 films, across 8 discs. Some films share the same disc, due to their brief running time. As with Fiction the films are all subtitled for English speakers, but extra material is not blessed with such treatment. Such is the obscure nature of some of these films though, that trivialities like that fade in to the background. It’s a pleasure just to be able to own some of these movies. They are, as follows.

* – La chinoise
* – Le gai savoir
* – British Sounds
* – Pravda
* – Le vent d’Est
* – Luttes en Italie
* – Un film comme les autres
* – Vladimir et Rosa
* – Numéro Deux
* – Ici et ailleurs
* – Comment ça va?
* – Soft and Hard
* – Film Socialisme

Numéro Deux is the film that inspired this purchase. It’s available on US DVD, but I thought the opportunity to buy it as a part of this collection was too good to pass. A spiritual follow-up to Breathless, Numéro Deux is a fascinating project, and serves as the ideal case study for the second portion of Godard’s career.

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One final aside. Brian De Palma’s Passion, which is being given a straight to video release in the UK later in the summer (and only a standard DVD one at that), was this week released on home video in France. The disc is, for all intents and purposes, English-friendly, in so much that French subtitles are not burned in to the image when the film is played with its French language soundtrack option (a common problem with French discs). However, I’m led to believe that there are brief instances of non-English languages being spoken in the film, that will go un-subtitled for English speaking audiences if that is the case.

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