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Anthology Of Surreal Cinema: Volume 1


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Amazon.com: 3 reviews
81 of 83 people found the following review helpful
A new contender... May 24 2005
By philrob - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
...for the infamous Madacy. Although not at a low price, but for the lack of quality this studio can compete for botched releases.

Since I already got "Entracte" (bundled with "A nous la liberte" from R. Clair as well) in a very finely restored print and running more than 20 min., I have a very good example for comparison : this one, aside from an image absolutely garbled, run only 14 min (one might think being luckier if it was yet shorter, so to lessen one's misery). If the ratio shorter length/lack of quality is the same for the 3 other shorts, at this price I think FBI and other copyright enforcers should as well get some studios respecting the customers' rights to get what they're paying for.

Regarding "Anemic Cinema", it won't entertain anyone but those who got more than a good grasp of french language, since the revolving discs are a collection of puns and spoonerisms (and therefore can't get any meaningful translation).

And now, how much more I regret Kino didn't announce sooner their August release of "Avant Garde - Experimental Cinema of the 1920s & 1930s". They usually get a more than average quality, and, for $ 2 less than this piece of crap, Kino's release should present about 25 titles (shorts), including 3 of those in 'Surreal Cinema'.

When you can get more, better & cheaper, no one has any more excuses for encouraging C.A.V. Distr. in releasing more garbage.
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Don't buy it - buy the Kino Avant Garde set instead April 16 2006
By Kevin Turvey - Published on Amazon.com
First of all Entr'acte is shortened, which makes no sense since the original soundtrack is restored for what is shown. Secondly all the films are cropped around the edges. Thirdly the films are off-center onscreen. Fourth, the picture quality is poor, below vhs releases I've seen.

WHY would anyone bother to do this so badly? Why do it at all?

Then, we have the wonderful Kino dvd Avant Garde Cinema....which you should buy instead of this...BUT IT DOESN'T INCLUDE ENTR'ACTE.

I am now clutching my head in agony. Where is the dvd of Entr'acte, full length and with Satie soundtrack?
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Disappointing quality Feb. 25 2007
By Anyechka - Published on Amazon.com
The prints used for these 4 short films are generally of horrendous quality. Usually I consider excessive complaints about the less-than-perfect quality of films this old to be rather pedantic, ignoring the big picture for a seemingly relatively minor technical detail, but here I'm going to agree that these prints are horrible. It's embarrassing that anyone would want to put them on DVD in such shabby condition, let alone to charge so much for the disc. In addition to looking very worn and having problems with shadows and lighting, they're also cropped, and the first film, 'Entr'acte,' is even shortened in its actual length. This really is a case where far better prints do exist, but the producers of this DVD were obviously too lazy to use them. These prints would look awful even on VHS. These films aren't exactly mainstream; odds are the terrible prints will turn more people off to Surrealism in film than turn them on to it. And where are supplementary materials? Even someone who's already familiar with and a fan of Surrealism is liable to need some bonus features, like audio commentaries or featurettes, to have a fuller understanding of just what in the world is going on in these films and to get some background on the people who made them.

In spite of the poor picture quality, however, I did like the soundtracks, and the films themselves are pretty interesting even in this mutilated format. 'Ballet Mécanique' and 'Anémic Cinéma' are more in line with what most people associate with Surrealism, using a barrage of bizarre dreamlike images to create a hallucinatory mood, give the viewer a glimpse into the world of the weird. (Although only those who can understand French can really have a full appreciation of everything the latter is all about; none of the jokes and phrases on the rotating discs are translated.) 'Entr'acte' and 'La Coquille et la Clergyman' ('The Seashell and the Clergyman') are loaded with similar bizarre hallucinatory Surreal images, but they also have actual storylines behind them, as hard as it may be to follow them due to the films' bizarre nontraditional natures.

Those who are interested in exploring Surrealism in cinema should be advised to skip this turkey altogether and get the two-disc 'Experimental Cinema' set from Kino, or the seven-disc set 'Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-Garde Film 1894-1941.'


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