If you are planning to order these BDs, chances are you need no introduction to Pasolini's Trilogy of Life.(*1)
I first watched these films during my college years, and was immediately drawn to Pasolini's very unconventional film-making techniques.(*2) Thus, when these were up for sale last November from the redoubtable Criterion Collection, I preordered the blu-ray set. The "Criterion magic" does not disappoint, but.... If memory serves, there are more than 3 or 4 instances when vertical red straight lines appear prominently in the Canterbury Tales.(*3) So here is the puzzle: Why are they (still) there after the careful restoration?
I love Criterion Collection. Even though their products are more expensive, they are almost always worth the additional cost. In particular, these are great improvements from BFI's Region B (UK) blu-ray releases in terms of clarity, contrast, color scheme and especially naturality of the skin tone. So they are really currently the best transfer for these films. However, these vertical red lines are distracting, for me at least. I imagine one reason they are there (after the restoration) is that the current digital restoration technology is not advanced enough to remove these lines without compromising the entire frames. However, that theory doesn't seem convincing as Criterion Collection has in the past fixed tears and scratches more serious than these lines. An email inquiry to Criterion Collection did not produce a satisfactory answer. "The lines are in the source material" was all I was told.
If anyone has an answer, I'd be curious to know. In particular, if you happen to be or know one of the Criterion Collection's technicians in charge of the restoration, help us solve the puzzle!
Still very highly recommended, for the films and for the (otherwise excellent) transfer.(*4)
(*1) In case of doubt, please consult either Wikipedia or Criterion Collection's website.
(*2) For example, the editing is not at all smooth or tidy (but quite effective). Nudities and sex are treated in a "casual" and "naturalistic" way, devoid of the usual sentimental eroticism.
(*3) They are played on an Oppo BD player connected via a HDMI cable to an 50-inch HD TV. So I think the playback equipment is adequate.
(*4) Pasolini edited Canterbury Tales and Arabian Nights more than once and the "final" cuts are shorter than the "original" cuts presented in Berlin and Cannes Film Festivals. The Criterion Collection films are the final cuts, which Pasolini preferred. (These are also explained in the documentaries in the box.)