Archive for the 'Georgia' Category

Paradjanov on DVD: an update

About a year ago, I surveyed what were then all seven English-friendly DVD releases of the films of Sergo Paradjanov for Sight & Sound - concluding that, in general, the Russian Cinema Council (Russia) and Films Sans Frontières (French) releases were superior to the Kino ones (US).

That opinion is almost certainly out of date, because Kino is just about to release a box set of all four of Paradjanov’s major features, all but one in superior versions. I haven’t seen it myself yet, but if this DVD Beaver review is a reliable guide, it looks as though the playing field now looks like this:

Shadows of our Forgotten Ancestors (Тіні забутих предків, 1964): the Kino (R0 NTSC) and Ruscico (R0 PAL) look to be a notch ahead of Films Sans Frontières (R0 PAL), and in any case have better extras.

The Colour of Pomegranates (Цвет граната, 1968): since Kino has simply reissued its old disc, the position remains that there is no entirely satisfactory version. The Japanese release (Columbia R2 NTSC) offers by far the best picture, but it has no English subtitles and is the shorter Soviet cut supervised by Sergei Yutkevich. Both the Films Sans Frontières (R0 PAL) and Kino (R0 NTSC) discs have flawed source materials, and the Kino is further degraded by excessive windowboxing and overlarge yellow serif subtitles that can’t be removed. On the other hand, it has the best extras, including an hour-long documentary and the short Hagop Hovnatanian (Акоп Овнатанян, 1966)

Legend of the Suram Fortress (ამბავი სურამის ციხისა, 1984): previously, both the Kino (R0 NTSC) and Ruscico (R0 PAL/NTSC) were flawed, in that the Kino had a poor source print and non-removable subtitles while the Ruscico only offered a soundtrack with an obtrusive Russian voiceover. Now that Kino’s new version is based on the superior Ruscico transfer with an additional soundtrack that reconstructs all but four minutes of the original Georgian (sadly, the original master was destroyed in a fire at the Georgian Archives), it must now be a clear first choice.

Ashik Kerib (აშიკი ქერიბი, 1988): The new Kino disc looks like the best bet for NTSC users, though the PAL version of the Ruscico disc from which it’s sourced would remain my first choice, as it’s closer to the original telecine.

Posted on 31st January 2008
Under: Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Ukraine, Sergo Paradjanov, DVD Surveys | No Comments »

Best Foreign Film Oscar longlist announced

According to the Hollywood Reporter, a record 63 films are on the initial longlist for the Best Foreign Film Oscar. The full list is here, and these are the Central and Eastern European submissions:

Posted on 18th October 2007
Under: Croatia, Poland, Hungary, Russia, Romania, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Estonia, Georgia, Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia | 1 Comment »

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