Recent DVD Purchases

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Re: Recent DVD Purchases

Postby arsaib4 » Wed Jan 02, 2008 1:32 am

It'd be nice to have someone from here at the Berlinale. I don't believe A will be attending this year.

A Bullet for the General was put out by Blue Underground, no?
arsaib4
 


Re: Recent DVD Purchases

Postby R6dw6C » Mon Jan 07, 2008 8:49 am

Well, A still seems to be sure that he'll be there. It would be a pity not to have him with us. If I'm joining which isn't sure yet.

Yes, "A Bullet for the General" has also been released by Anchor Bay / Blue Underground some time ago, as well as "How to kill a Judge" which I consider one of Damiani's weakest films, unfortunately. If you're interested in political / social cinema and in italian society and politics (of the 60ies and 70ies) you should check out his films, arsaib. It's a real pity that mostly, only his weaker efforts made their way to the US. If you can, track down "Confessions of a Police Captain" (1971, I believe there are only cheap Pan & Scan-DVDs of it available in the US:-/) and "I am afraid" (1977) which are, in my opinion, his best films and nearly flawless examples for political cinema. Maybe I should open a Thread for Damiani - he's one of my favourites and considering how famous Constantin Costa-Gavras' "Z" (maybe the only film which is somehow similar to his style) is, it's even more unfair how unknown Damiani still is - he certainly would've deserved more attention - no other filmmaker ever dealed with the corrupting Mafia influences on politics and individual persons in Italy, the Terror of the red brigades and facism under Mussolini with such an enormous consequency, energy, anger and ambivalence. Beside two exceptions, all the (12) films he made between 1968 and 1980 had no other topic, it probably was his deadly serious life-task.
R6dw6C
 

Re: Recent DVD Purchases

Postby arsaib4 » Tue Jan 08, 2008 7:44 am

Yes, Confessione di un commissario di polizia al procuratore della repubblica is available on DVD here; under the title The Bad Cop Chronicles - Confessions of a Police Captain. And you might be right that it's 1.33. I'll have to check it out. But I don't believe I Am Afraid exists in any format at this point. Recently, NoShame (U.S.) has done its best to bridge the gap when it comes to lesser-known Italian classic and genre films. Besides releasing the work of acknowledged auteurs such as Antonioni and Bellocchio, it has also brought the likes of Zurlini, Pagliero and Dallamano into the limelight. One of its newest releases is, yes, Damiani's The Most Beautiful Wife (1970), the debut feature of Ornella Muti, no less. Have you watched it yet? And a Damiani thread would be great.
arsaib4
 

Re: Recent DVD Purchases

Postby R6dw6C » Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:25 am

That's awful, the film's Cinemascope-Photography would be totally destroyed by Pan & Scan. I own the excellent German DVD which, as expected, doesn't have any english language track or subtitles. I've seen around 8 Films by Damiani, most of them from Television and VHS as they all premiered at German TV in the 80ies ("Confessions..." and "Day of the Owl" were his only films that got a theatrical release here). The italian DVDs of Damiani's Films are mostly good, but there are no english subtitles either.
I haven't seen "The most beautiful wife" yet, but till I get hold of the NoShame-Release (which is on my To-buy-List since It's been released) I could watch an old VHS to comment on it if you're interested. We'll see... If there's any time left for me within the next weeks, I'll open a Director's thread for Damiani with a comment on "L'Istruttoria chiusa: dimentichi" (1972) or "A Bullet for the General" which I haven't watched yet. I'd love to write something about "I am afraid" (which is, yes, one of his most sought-after films) but it's one of those films which need three or more viewings to be measured.
Hopefully, NoShame will release a few more of Damiani's films if they ever recreate from their financial crisis. It's a great company and I would miss them...
R6dw6C
 

Re: Recent DVD Purchases

Postby arsaib4 » Thu Jan 10, 2008 8:35 am

In fact, on the contrary, since you're interested in importing the DVD, would you like me to get a hold of it and see if the film/disc is worth it or not? This won't be a problem for me.

It's certainly true that NoShame's output has dwindled alarmingly. It hope it recovers soon.
arsaib4
 

Re: Recent DVD Purchases

Postby R6dw6C » Thu Jan 10, 2008 6:47 pm

In fact, on the contrary, since you're interested in importing the DVD, would you like me to get a hold of it and see if the film/disc is worth it or not? This won't be a problem for me.

Not a bad idea - I am only afraid that the film could be one of Damiani's weaker efforts (though I don't know anything about it beside the fact that it's based on real events and that it's Muti's first film) and could scare you away if you don't like it.

But knowing Damiani's style at least a bit, the three comments on IMDB aren't very telling but encouraging enough - so go ahead if you're interested! I don't think that it'll be a catastrophe (in case you don't like it) but I'd be glad if your first Damiani would be a "success" and we could launch a little, positive discussion (though there's another one which isn't finished yet, I'm afraid and ashamed to say).

No matter what happens - and what you think - I'll buy it anyway. I've really become a fan of his work during the last year and watching this film from an old VHS, cropped from 1:2,35 to 1:1,66 doesn't seem adequate at all (it's terrible enough that "The Day of the Owl" isn't available in another format).

It's certainly true that NoShame's output has dwindled alarmingly. It hope it recovers soon.

Some say that they're finished but I've also heard rumours that they just had some serious trouble with their distribution partners and are now looking for another company to distribute their DVDs. Hopefully, that's right - AFAIK, "The most beautiful wife" and "The last days of Mussolini" were their last releases and they last back almost a year...
R6dw6C
 

Re: Recent DVD Purchases

Postby arsaib4 » Fri Jan 11, 2008 5:06 am

Oh, you scary cat. Trust me, I'm not going to get deterred, especially when you think so highly of Damiani. I'll report back soon. Don't be concerned, but that's what I like about you, you care!
arsaib4
 

Re: Recent DVD Purchases

Postby R6dw6C » Tue Jan 15, 2008 3:57 am

Since the film was the success we hoped for, would you like to open a Damiani-Thread with your report? "A" is the highest rating a film can get from you, am I right?
I'll also add a few comments then - even if most of Damiani's other films aren't available for you.

Oh, you scary cat. Trust me, I'm not going to get deterred, especially when you think so highly of Damiani.

That's a habit of mine. I was also a bit afraid when I introduced some other italian films to A, especially the essential 70ies works of Dario Argento. That was another case in which my fears proofed to be unnecessary.

Don't be concerned, but that's what I like about you, you care!

Oh, that's a matter of course, if not, there would be no reason for me to stay here.

A just gave Olivier Assayas' "Demonlover" (2002) to me today as some sort of an additional Christmas gift and due to the fact that the DVD included no subtitles for the original language track. That's a major disadvantage but I'll survive it, hopefully.
R6dw6C
 

Re: Recent DVD Purchases

Postby arsaib4 » Tue Jan 15, 2008 8:28 am

I'd like to see the other Damiani films available in the U.S. before attempting a review (I truly wish I already had after watching The Most Beautiful Wife). If you can find the time, I think you should consider starting a thread with some background info, or even a review, if possible.

"A+" is my highest rating. But "A" and "A-" are also used sparingly (they signify "one of the best of the year" for me, and consequently films given those grades qualify for my Primary end-of-the-year list).

Damiani's film was certainly a pleasant surprise. Di Giarcomo's camerawork was just as accomplished as Morricone's score. A 14-year-old Muti and her performance were just striking as Orano and his work. The tonal consistency achieved by Damiani despite adapting such a sensationalistic true story was perhaps what astonished me the most. I can't wait to see the other films.

I love demonlover, and I'd like to believe subtitles are required in order to experience it properly.
arsaib4
 

Re: Recent DVD Purchases

Postby R6dw6C » Thu Jan 17, 2008 9:29 pm

I'd like to see the other Damiani films available in the U.S. before attempting a review (I truly wish I already had after watching The Most Beautiful Wife).

Beside "A Bullet for the General" and "How to kill a Judge" (I'd tend to ignore "Amityville Horror II"), are there any other of his films available on adequate DVDs?
However, it's certainly insuring (?) to see a couple of his films before coming to a conclusion - it's Job's news that those three films you can get might not are really part of his essential body of work (though "The most beautiful wife" comes close, probably).

If you can find the time, I think you should consider starting a thread with some background info, or even a review, if possible.

That's what dubbing is for.

I'll try to prepare something within the next three weeks, before we'll go to Berlin. If wouldn't be so extremely weary in the evening 6 days a week, this mustn't be such a problem.

"A+" is my highest rating. But "A" and "A-" are also used sparingly (they signify "one of the best of the year" for me, and consequently films given those grades qualify for my Primary end-of-the-year list).

Thanks for the explanation, now I'll know what's going on with your ratings in the future. According to this, the film was a real pleasure... If I'd already own a copy of the DVD...

Damiani's film was certainly a pleasant surprise. Di Giarcomo's camerawork was just as accomplished as Morricone's score. A 14-year-old Muti and her performance were just striking as Orano and his work. The tonal consistency achieved by Damiani despite adapting such a sensationalistic true story was perhaps what astonished me the most. I can't wait to see the other films.

Well, if this little outline represents fairly what you liked most about the film, you're already into Damiani, arsaib! This sounds very familiar to me - awful that there's no decent release of "Confessions of a Police Captain" in the US, it's said to be some sort of mental follow-up to "The most beautiful wife" and contains breathtaking performances by Franco Nero and Martin Balsam. Damiani's acting department was very interesting at that time, he also managed to get amazing performances from Giuliano Gemma, Nino Manfredi and the young Michele Placido, performances of a level which was superior compared to most of the other films they appeared in. The most bizarre appearence is probably Erland Josephson's (!!!) italian prosecutor in "I am afraid".

Have you also seen Constantin Costa-Gavras' "Z"?

I love demonlover, and I'd like to believe subtitles are required in order to experience it properly.

That's what dubbing is for... Fortunately, this one was done relatively well and though the differences between the french, japanese and english parts mostly vanished, the dubbing was good enough to make it an amazing experience. I was distrustful as hell before (without having seen anything by Assayas, I really had a very bad opinion and many prejudices on him) but afterwards, I have to admit that this film exactly hits my taste, though it was really disturbing and even disgusting in some parts, especially the "showdown". And I hardly remember any film from the past few years that is more pessimistic. (22 out of 25 / 9/10)
R6dw6C
 

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