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Friday, 6 January 2017

Defending Cinephilia 2016 (15) - David Hare contemplates the technology, sets out the roads travelled and the way ahead

Here's as full as possible a list of the discs I acquired in the last eight months of 2016. All titles are Blu-ray except some which are indicated as DVD or "4K", the latter the new theatrical standard 4K resolution disc format. The improvements in transfer to the HD realm range from modest to startling, and some completely jaw breaking. I personally believe the HD disc era is the most important shift in viewing and availability since the 80s, but I suspect that Blu and the new 4K medium might have a short term future. In the meantime it establishes a baseline of video and audio quality for home viewing on TV and streaming as well which now gives people access to truly filmic representation beyond what was possible five years ago.

As for 4K discs and the new era of OLED/LED screens, the experience simply now overtakes cinema projected viewing in my experience. Many of these discs were reviewed for Geoff's blog (see links provided where appropriate). I can't take it back further without physical examination of all 6000 discs which are still in storage anyway. And our major PC suffered a motherboard death just after we returned from holidays in late June and all Excel data prior to that was demolished. Anyway this should give some idea of the breadth and range still coming out on the shiny disc world, despite annual predictions from many, including me, of its imminent demise. I guess the point of this is that so long as there are collectors and "librarians" for the movies there will always be a cinephilia, although I think the universal cinephilia we all look forward to is increasingly virtual. But it's potentially universally available one day, copyright and legal issues allowing or not. And the photo at the bottom of the page demonstrates that for some of us, some of the time cinephilia also exists in boxes and cobwebs. Like Rosebud. 
Olive Films logo
The real point I am taking from this list (among so many others) is the overwhelming preponderance of Blu-ray editions, and now even 4K disc formats. I would like to think this parallels a massive increase in preservation and restoration activity, and the curatorial side of the business. Not all Blu-rays are mastered or made from sparkling new 2K or 4K preservation masters. However, the massive flow of deep catalogue Fox titles licensed by Frank Tarzi at Kino Lorber is a terrific example of sheer "get it scanned and get it out there" from a dedicated label, an attitude I massively approve of. The simple fact these Blus are being mastered and sold at all tells me there's much more going on now than I had ever hoped a few years ago. I feel optimistic. So...

(Notes: Blu-ray unless designated as DVD;  a country mentioned means the film was released and acquired from that country; MOC = Masters of Cinema, UK, click on the links for blog items.
Bound for Glory, M (Losey France), Only Angels  Have Wings,Suspicion, The Golden Coach, (France), Marriage of Maria Braun, Plein Soleil, Panic in the Year Zero, The Big Clock, Written on the Wind, Murders in the Zoo (DVD-R), Susan Slept Here, I Walked with a Zombie (IVC Japan), Fox and his Friends/Chinese Roulette, Father of the Bride, The Glass Key (Germany), The Last Command (MOC ), Somewhere in the Night (France), They Were Expendable (France), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Dark Passage, Victor/Victoria, La Chienne/On Purge Bebe, In a Lonely Place, Cutters Way, The Chase (Penn TT),  99 River Street, The Chase (Ripley), Too Late for Tears, Woman on the Run, Kansas City Confidential, The Player, To Have and Have Not, Hidden Fear, The Fallen Idol, Muriel, Kiss of Death, Quatre Nuits d’un Reveur (Japan), Les Salauds, The Private Affairs of Bel Ami, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Spiral Road, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, White Zombie, Maman Colibri (DVD), Silk Stockings, Tony Rome, The Detective. Lady in Cement, Cry of the City, Love and Friendship, Tell me that you love me Junie Moon, The Immortal Story, Night Train to Munich, Chimes at Midnight, Johnny Guitar (Olive resissue) Cat People, The Blue Dahlia, Wise Blood, Valley of the Dolls, On Dangerous Ground, Short Cuts, The Fugitive (IVC Japan), McCabe and Mrs Miller, Lured, Scandal in Paris, Duck Soup, Road House, Sign of the Pagan (France), Besieged (Japan), Wagon Master (IVC Japan), Brewster McLeod (DVD), Hush Hush, Sweet Charlotte, Vladimir and Rosa (IVC Japan), Flesh (Ford, DVD), Five Easy Pieces, Punch Drunk Love, I Wake Up Screaming, Sweet Charity (France), One-Eyed Jacks, Count the Hours (DVD), Lola (Demy), La Belle et la Bete (Pathe France 4K 2012 restoration), The Exterminating Angel, Undying Monster, Dragonwyck (France), House on 92nd St, The Asphalt Jungle, Man Who Would be King, Moby Dick (Huston), The Lodger (Brahm), House of Strangers (France), Its Always Fair Weather, Dragonwyck (France), Bringing Up Baby (IVC Japan), Cover Girl, Rock a Bye Baby, Kiss the Blood off my Hands (DVD), One of our Aircraft is Missing (France), Sudden Fear, Keys of the Kingdom, The Epic that Never was (DVD), I the Jury (1982), The Boston Strangler (TT), Royal Wedding, Bad Girl (DVD), Salvation Hunters (FIlmMuseum DVD), Seymour: An Introduction (DVD), Tempete (Custom DVD), Fellini Roma, Daisy Kenyon, Children of Divorce, Neon Demon, My Fair Lady, The Assassin (Hou, Oz Blu-ray, superior black levels and mastering to all other BDs including the Chinese discs), Love Me or Leave Me, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Goodfellas (4K), Ghostbusters (Reitman 4K).    

Editor's Note: Somehow or other I've only met David Hare four times - once in Melbourne thirty years ago when he was staying with James & Jenny Sabine, once in Sydney over lunch at the Trinity Bar with Noel Bjorndahl, once in Masterton, New Zealand where David and partner Ken have settled into retirement and the next day in Wellington where David, Karen and I had lunch at a favourite restaurant, then did a drop in visit to Ngā Taonga Sound & VisionNew Zealand's national film archive and then wandered around Wellington until David's train back to Masterton was near due. Amazing in many respects. David's knowledge of tech specs and new technology is allied to an extraordinary comprehension of the thousands of films seen, re-seen, absorbed and constantly contemplated. He has a grand enthusiasm for the cinema, for music and  politics. I hope he'll continue to record his thoughts as he runs through his ever-expanding  library  of discs, many of which are currently (see below) still in storage following the move to Masterton.



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