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Pierre Etaix (Criterion) (Blu-Ray) (Version française)

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A French comedy master whose films went unseen for decades as a result of legal tangles, director-actor Pierre Etaix is a treasure the cinematic world has rediscovered and taken up with relish. His work can be placed in the spectrum of classic physical comedy with that of Jacques Tati and Jerry Lewis, but it also stands alone. These films, influenced by Etaix�s experiences as a circus acrobat and clown and by the silent film comedies he adored, are elegantly deadpan, but as an on-screen presence, Etaix radiates warmth. This collection includes all of his films, including five features, The Suitor (1962), Yoyo (1965), As Long as You�ve Got Your Health (1966), Le grand amour (1969), and Land of Milk and Honey (1971)�most of them collaborations with the great screenwriter Jean-Claude Carri�re (The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie)�and three shorts, Rupture (1961), the Oscar-winning Happy Anniversary (1962), and Feeling Good (1966). Not one of these is anything less than a bracing and witty delight. DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES � New digital restorations of all five features and three short films � New interview with director Pierre Etaix � New video introductions by Etaix to seven of the films � Pierre Etaix, un destin anim� (2010), a portrait of the life and work of the director by his wife, Odile Etaix � New English subtitle translation � PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic David Cairns The Suitor 1962 � 84 minutes � Black & White � Monaural � In French with English subtitles � 1.66:1 aspect ratio Yoyo 1965 � 98 minutes � Black & White � Monaural � In French with English subtitles � 1.66:1 aspect ratio As Long as You�ve Got Your Health 1966 � 68 minutes � Black & White/Color � Monaural � In French with English subtitles � 1.66:1 aspect ratio Le grand amour 1969 � 87 minutes � Color � Monaural � In French with English subtitles � 1.66:1 a spect ratio Land of Milk and Honey 1971 � 76 minutes � Color � Monaural � In French with English subtitles � 1.66:1 aspect ratio


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique Archive Aug. 28 2013
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
For the first time all the Pierre Etaix filmography is available , restored to high quality and available in Bluray
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just a correction... May 21 2013
By Balaste - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A previous reviewer heaped praise on Criterion for "remastering and releasing" Etaix's films to the public. I don't disagree with that sentiment, though it should be limited to releasing the films to the US public. Criterion isn't in the job of remastering, and this was done for the Etaix films by Etaix himself in 2010, with financial support from the Groupama Gan Foundation, and Technicolor Foundation for Cinema Heritage. We have these versions here, with new subtitles and various features.

Again, this isn't to slight Criterion. If it wasn't for them, it's difficult to think of another publisher that would purchase the US rights to these films. Praise all around, then.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A long time forgotten comedy genius April 8 2013
By Salvador Fortuny Miró - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Passionate music lover since he was a child and of circus world and influenced by the silent screen comedy artists he love - Langdon, Keaton, Laurel & Hardy- great french comedy master Pierre Etaix started his cinematic career in a brief cameo scene of Robert Bresson's Pickpocket and at the side of also comedy genius Jacques Tati. Painter, professional clown - he shared stage with Charlie Rivel in the Medrano, joined Tati at the Olympia, on his show "Jour de fete", became a popular comedian on his country working first in famous salas like "Le cheval d'or" and then with his wife Annie Fratellini as comedy couple - and graphic artist - he drew between others the film posters of Tati's Mon Oncle and Les vacances de Monsieur Hulot - he jumped into film direction and the filming of his own stuff joining Jean-Claude Carriere - whom Etaix considers his script writing teacher - in the short film Rupture(1961),co-directed with Carriere himself. Tagged sometimes as the french Buster Keaton - one of his most beloved and admirated comedy artists with Stan Laurel and Charlie Rivel -probably for his precise "mise-en-scene", exquisite and very calculated sight-gags and his way of acting - Etaix joins in his films slapstick, classic circus routines and acrobatic bits with sophisticated comedy in films plenty of surreal visual invention. His movies also shine for his great taste for the coreographic visual gag and the funny, very creative use of sound and music. This DVD collection - as the previous french edition - collects all the flicks of Etaix as director - five feature films and three shorts: Rupture, Happy anniversary and his episode bit and tribute to Hulot "En pleine forme", added originaly by Etaix, with the other 4 comedy sketches, to his first montage for the 1966's premiere of "As long as you're healthy", and later delated for the 1971 re-release. After a long legal battle (20 years) at the side of his friend and usual film collaborator great french scriptwriter Jean-Claude Carriere for the recovery and exhibition of his films, Pierre Etaix extraordinary films has been shown again at the film theaters and finally edited in DVD in what has been in only few years a metheoric resurrection and recognition of the art of this true comedy genius. A wonderful chance to see in wonderfuly restored copies his absolute feature films masterworks: Le soupirant - his feature film debut as director with a plot that reminds in some parts to Buster Keaton's Seven chances -, and YoYo - Etaix's personal favorite and a very beautiful tribute to circus world -, so as his great films Le grand amour - that contains a delightful dreamy scene in which Etaix's bed goes out of his bedroom taking off down the road, stopping to pick up a gorgeous nightied hitchhiker and passing other beds - stopped for repairs, having accidents... -, the episodes movie "As long as you're healthy" - that contains between other brilliant comedy sketches a bedtime Hammer style vampire story - and Pays de cocaigne, a satyrical candid camera documentary shot after the events of May 68 and focused on french people vacations that was surprisingly punished by the critics, stopping during many years Pierre Etaix's film career.
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A long time forgotten comedy genius April 9 2013
By Salvador Fortuny Miró - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray
Passionate music lover since he was a child and of circus world and influenced by the silent screen comedy artists he love - Langdon, Keaton, Laurel & Hardy- great french comedy master Pierre Etaix started his cinematic career in a brief cameo scene of Robert Bresson's Pickpocket and at the side of also comedy genius Jacques Tati. Painter, professional clown - he shared stage with Charlie Rivel in the Medrano, joined Tati at the Olympia, on his show "Jour de fete", became a popular comedian on his country working first in famous salas like "Le cheval d'or" and then with his wife Annie Fratellini as comedy couple - and graphic artist - he drew between others the film posters of Tati's Mon Oncle and Les vacances de Monsieur Hulot - he jumped into film direction and the filming of his own stuff joining Jean-Claude Carriere - whom Etaix considers his script writing teacher - in the short film Rupture(1961),co-directed with Carriere himself. Tagged sometimes as the french Buster Keaton - one of his most beloved and admirated comedy artists with Stan Laurel and Charlie Rivel -probably for his precise "mise-en-scene", exquisite and very calculated sight-gags and his way of acting - Etaix joins in his films slapstick, classic circus routines and acrobatic bits with sophisticated comedy in films plenty of surreal visual invention. His movies also shine for his great taste for the coreographic visual gag and the funny, very creative use of sound and music. This DVD/Blu-Ray collection - as the previous french edition - collects all the flicks of Etaix as director - five feature films and three shorts: Rupture, Happy anniversary and his episode bit and tribute to Hulot "En pleine forme", added originaly by Etaix, with the other 4 comedy sketches, to his first montage for the 1966's premiere of "As long as you're healthy", and later delated for the 1971 re-release. After a long legal battle (20 years) at the side of his friend and usual film collaborator great french scriptwriter Jean-Claude Carriere for the recovery and exhibition of his films, Pierre Etaix extraordinary films has been shown again at the film theaters and finally edited in DVD in what has been in only few years a metheoric resurrection and recognition of the art of this true comedy genius. A wonderful chance to see in wonderfuly restored copies his absolute feature films masterworks: Le soupirant - his feature film debut as director with a plot that reminds in some parts to Buster Keaton's Seven chances -, and YoYo - Etaix's personal favorite and a very beautiful tribute to circus world -, so as his great films Le grand amour - that contains a delightful dreamy scene in which Etaix's bed goes out of his bedroom taking off down the road, stopping to pick up a gorgeous nightied hitchhiker and passing other beds - stopped for repairs, having accidents... -, the episodes movie "As long as you're healthy" - that contains between other brilliant comedy sketches a bedtime Hammer style vampire story - and Pays de cocaigne, a satyrical candid camera documentary shot after the events of May 68 and focused on french people vacations that was surprisingly punished by the critics, stopping during many years Pierre Etaix's film career.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Criterion Needs to be Congratulated! May 3 2013
By Jeffrey H Wang - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray
Criterion has done it again...I want to personally thank Criterion for taking the time and effort to remastering and releasing the films of Pierre Etaix to the public. Like his mentor Jacques Tati, Etaix is a comic genius whose humor is rooted in the classic comedians of the silent era (Buster Keaton, Chaplin, Harold Lloyd). Also like these comedians, Etaix uses humor to comment upon modern society (or what was considered modern at the time he was working). My personal favorite film out of this collection is Le Grand Amour, which takes the cinema trope of the troubled marriage, and brings it to a brilliantly surreal level. This is, without a doubt, the blu-ray release of the year!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Pierre Etaix - The Criterion Collection #655″ to be a set worth owning! Highly recommended! July 4 2013
By Dennis A. Amith (kndy) - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Filmmaker Jacques Tati has inspired many people throughout his lifetime. And for one comedian, actor and filmmaker, Pierre Etaix, is a man who had the opportunity to work with Tati but also alongside international talent such as Robert Bresson, Nagisa Oshima, Otar Iosseliani and Jerry Lewis.

Best known for his short and feature films from the 1960′s, you would think that Pierre Etaix, an Academy Award winner, would be a well-known name to cinema fans worldwide. But unfortunately, his films would be unavailable for decades due to a legal dispute with a distribution company.

But now Pierre Etaix's films will be released on Blu-ray and DVD for the first time in America courtesy of the Criterion Collection.

"Pierre Etaix - The Criterion Collection #655″ comes with digitally restored short films "Rupture" (1961) about an illustrator having a difficult time at work and "Happy Anniversary" ("Heureux Anniversaire", 1962), a short story about a wife preparing an anniversary meal for her husband but unfortunately, he is caught up in automobile and traffic situations and not sure if he can make it home in time. The short won an Academy Award in 1963 for "Best Short Subject" and a 1964 BAFTA Award for "Best Short Film".

The collection also includes his first feature film "The Suitor" (Le Soupirant), a film which was originally conceived as several shorts, but Etaix was told to create a feature film in which he did.

"The Suitor" features Etaix and writer Jean-Claude Carriere doing a homage to Laurel & Hardy in which a man (portrayed by Pierre Etaix) just wants to study astrology but because he lives with his parents, he is trying to fulfill his parents wishes of finding a woman to love and marry, but finding a woman is not as easy as he is not sure what it takes to meet a woman. While he manages to attract Laurence, a woman who lives next door, he becomes obsessed with a singer named Stella on television.

"Yo Yo" was a film created by Pierre Etaix during a difficult time in his life after his father was killed in road accident. Inspired by Federico Fellini's "8 1/2″, Etaix was excited about the possibility of doing something different but with slapstick. Together with Jean-Claude Carriere, the two were able to create a film that would incorporate their love of silent cinema but from its main protagonist but with sound from everyone and everything else.

The film is about a millionaire who has everything... a palace, material things, musicians, dancers but he doesn't have love. He often looks at a photo of a pretty woman of his past.

One day while attending the circus, he sees the woman on a white horse and we learn that the millionaire had a relationship with the woman and that she gave birth to his child named Yo Yo ten years ago. Both she and the child were raised in the circus lifestyle but when he marries the woman and both live with him in the chateau. For Yo Yo, to live in such luxury and a place that he loves becomes a big part of him. Fast forward and Yo-Yo has went from acrobat to a clown. But due to war, he is drafted into the military and when he gets out, he realizes that life has changed.

He returns to the chateau which has not been taken care of and so Yo Yo dedicates his life to working as a filmmaker and businessman to acquire wealth to keep up the place. But while doing so, he may have run into the same situations as his father, having the wealthy and focusing so much on material things, he may have let love pass him by.

For the next film titled "Tant qu'on a la santé" (As Long As You've Got Your Health), unfortunately with "Yo Yo" not doing well in the box office, producer's limited Etaix's budget for his latest film. Etaix has said that this film, he wished he had the budget to put certain things he wanted in the film but producers were adamant against it. So, having to use friends as extras and previous staff to make this film happen, Pierre went to work on "As Long As You've Got Your Health" which is a film divided into four parts.

The first part "I - L'insomnie" revolves around a man (portrayed by Pierre Etaix) who is having a hard time sleeping, so he picks up a vampire book and starts to get spooked out by it. While his wife is sleeping right next to him, as he reads, the audience watches the story unfold as a man tries to save a woman from Dracula. But unknown to the man, his wife has a secret.

The second part is "Le cinématographe" and shows a man (portrayed by Pierre Etaix), who goes to the movies to enjoy a western. But he quickly learns that watching a film in a crowded cinema can be quite difficult. Meanwhile, during the movie break, audiences at the theater are treated by the latest in absurd commercialism.

The third part is titled "Tant qu'on a la santé" and is about how life can be very busy for people in today's world. From the sound of one with a jackhammer and making so much noise that it disrupts peoples lives, people trying to smile as they are stuck in traffic or have some type of problems in their life, to the fast walking crowds of people going to working or leaving work and as everyone goes to the psychiatrist to help them out with stress, they also must suffer from stress.

And the final fourth part is titled "Nous n'irons plus au bois" and is set in a countryside. A man goes out to hunt, a couple goes to the countryside for a picnic and a farmer sets a wire fence to keep people out of his property. But what happens when the hunter and the couple start to go through the wired fence?

For "En pleine forme" ("Feeling Good"), the short was intended to be part of "As Long As You've Got Your Health" but was replaced by "I - L'insomnie". While created in 1966, the short was seen for the first time through the 2010 restoration of Pierre Etaix's films. The short is about a man who goes out to the country to get away from real life and go camping. But he's not an outdoorsman and tries his best to go camping. He immediately is ushered to an area of campers, but while everyone has their own campsite in an enclosed area, they live as if they are living like their real life and not enjoying nature.

With the success of "As Long As You've Got Your Health", the opportunity to make a bigger film came. And this time around, Pierre Etaix requested for a color film to be made but also with a larger budget, which the producers of the film agreed.

And so the film that Pierre would go on to make was titled "Le Grand Amour", made in 1969 and would star Annie Fratellini (Pierre's real-life wife and also onscreen) an actress Nicole Calfan.

The film revolves around Pierre (portrayed by Pierre Etaix), a man who is the boss of an industrial business and married to the owner's daughter Florence (portrayed by Annie Fratellini). Pierre begins the film talking about the woman he was friends with and how he met and married Florence. While their relationship is strong, the gossiping women around the area start talking false gossip about Pierre, who is seen saying hello to a woman walking down the street. When a woman tells another woman, the scene is exaggerated to the point that it makes it seem that Pierre has had an affair. The miscommunication leads to Florence leaving him for a few hours, but not knowing why his wife would leave, his friend Jacques (portrayed by Alain Janey) tells him that he should have married a much younger woman, so these problems wouldn't happen.

But as Pierre and Florence are able to patch things up in their marriage, a beautiful young woman named Agnes (portrayed by Nicole Calfan) has been hired to replace the longtime secretary who is leaving the company. Immediately, Pierre begins to fantasize about her everyday and becomes so obsessed with her to the point that he starts to avoid his wife, starts to collect fallen hair left behind by Agnes and has dreams of him sleeping with her.

And now Pierre starts to wonder if he wants to stay married with Agnes or go after his secretary.

The final film featured is a documentary titled "Land of Milk and Honey" ("Pays de Cocagne") and it's a film that is considered by Pierre Etaix to be his most important film. It's also a film that destroyed his filmmaking career to the point that Etaix would not direct another film for nearly 16 years.

The documentary was shot during the summer of '68 as his wife Annie Fratellini was a singer and wanted to take part in the Europe 1 sponsored music stage which was traveling throughout France. For Pierre, wanting to support his wife, he figured he would shoot his travel and find something interesting during his trip. And when he saw the advertising and the people that turned out for the Tour de France, Etaix was captivated by the many people at the event, campgrounds and at the beach.

But while traveling, he also learned that the people involved in the traveling music stage were amateurs who couldn't sing that well, but in their head, consider themselves great singers who want to make a major career of music. So, with so many ideas, Pierre decide to interview people from topics about the man on the moon, the power of advertising, eroticism, marriage and more.

But the film became an experimental film because he wanted to create a comedy, but since there was no script, all he could do is edit the film and make it fun. In the process, critics and viewers thought the film was mocking society and after 10 days in the theater, the bad press led the film to be pulled out and destroying Pierre Etaix's credibility as a filmmaker with no one in France wanting to work with the filmmaker ever again (until 1987).

VIDEO, AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

The shorts and feature films by Pierre Etaix is presented in 1080p High Definition for the very first time. Considering that the film has not been available on video due to legal issues that prevented the distribution of Pierre Etaix's films, audiences are getting the opportunity to seeing Pierre's films in the best picture quality possible.

The first shorts and feature films which include "Rupture", "Happy Anniversary", "The Suitor", "Yoyo", "As Long As You've Got Your Health" and "Feeling Good" are presented in black and white (some acts in "As Long As You've Got Your Health" are presented in color or sepia). For these earlier films, the film looks very good for its age and very clean. I didn't see any warping, damage or major flickering. Picture quality was very good for these films. Black levels were nice and deep while white and grays were well-contrast.

As for "Le Grand Amour" and "Land of Milk and Honey", these two films look very good. With "Le Grand Amour", there may be one scene in which Pierre visits his wife's family, where the film does show its age, but other than that, the color on these two films look fantastic and the film was definitely well-preserved. Also, no problems of discoloration, colors are vibrant and picture quality for the two color films look very good!

As for the monaural lossless audio, French dialogue is crystal clear, as with the music. I detected no major hissing, crackle or pops during my viewing of the film.

According to the Criterion Collection, thew new digital masters were made from 2010 restorations undertaken by Studio 17, The Technicolor Foundation for Cinema Heritage and the Groupama Gan Foundation for Cinema, under the supervision of director Pierre Etaix.

For the restorations of "Rupture", "Happy Anniversary", "Feeling Good" and the Suitor, the transfers were created in high-definition on a Spirit Datacine from the original 35 mm camera negatives and the sound was restored from the original track negative. The transfer of "Yoyo" was created in high-definition on a Spirit Datacine from a wet-gate printed 35 mm duplicate negative, and the sound was restored from the optical track negative. For "As Long as You've Got Your Health", the transfer was created in high-definition on a Spirit Datacine from the original 35 mm camera negative and a 35 mm duplicate negative and the sound was restored from the optical track negative. The transfer of "Le Grand amour" was created in 2K restoration on an ARRISCAN film scanner from the original 35 mm camera negative and two-reels of wet-gate interpositive, and the sound was restored from the 35 mm magnetic tracks. And for "Land of Milk and Honey", the transfer was created in high definition on a Spirit Datacine from a 35 mm blow-up internegative made from the 16 mm reversal, while the sound was restored from the optical track negative.

Subtitles are presented in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

"Pierre Etaix - The Criterion Collection #655" comes with the following special features:

Pierre Etaix Introduction - For each film presented in the ""Pierre Etaix - The Criterion Collection #655", there is about a six-minute introduction done by Pierre Etaix.
Pierre Etaix, un destin animé - (1:00:45) A portrait of the life and work of the director by his wife, made in 2011. From Pierre Etaix' career, his friendship with Jerry Lewis and his longtime working relationship with Jean-Claude Carriere.

EXTRAS:

"Pierre Etaix - The Criterion Collection #655" comes with a slipcase and 56-page booklet with the essays "The Return of Etaix" by David Cairns.

JUDGMENT CALL:

The collection of shorts and films from The Criterion Collection's Blu-ray release of "Pierre Etaix" is entertaining but also a glimpse of a man who lived his life as a clown but pursued filmmaking and wanted to make people laugh despite not having a massive budget like other French filmmakers.

Inspired by legendary filmmaker and famous comic actor Jacques Tati who captured audiences with his character Monsieur Hulot, Pierre Etaix used his character of Pierre (different characters on each film) and wanted to make his film comedies based on vaudeville and also incorporate silent film style comedy, with few words spoken but everything is visual and humorous.

Featuring films with unusual sound effects played during certain moments of a short or feature film, the goal by Etaix was to create entertainment visually. As clown who used visual jokes to make people laugh, Etaix felt he could do the same on a bigger scale through cinema.

While not a big name thanks to legal issues that prevented his films from being released, the Blu-ray release of "Pierre Etaix" will entertain audiences with its comedy but also films from the '60s that are now being released in HD for the very first time. And for some, this is probably the first time they have seen the film since its release in theaters back in the '60s.

"Rupture" has the comedy style of silent films in which a character tries to get work done but for each time he tries, he always ends up doing something so ridiculous that it effects his work. In "Happy Anniversary", the story is straightforward about a couple trying to celebrate their anniversary, but due to traffic and other circumstances, the husband (or boyfriend) must do all he can to get back home in time.

By the time you get to "The Suitor", there are some remnants of a Buster Keaton style, as one man of a wealthy family tries to explore the world and discover if he can find a woman (who will possibly be his wife), but how is a man with no experience with women, find the woman that wants to be with him?

In "Yoyo", the film is entertaining from its many locations to its cinematography and 1920′s dance choreography. The storyline was not the greatest, but I found the film to be entertaining and fascinating as it deals with two men who find out late in their lives that love is more important that financial objects.

For the film "As Long As You've Got Your Health", the film is quite accessible for viewers thanks to it being divided into four parts. And each film has its own charm. Possibly my favorite part revolves around how cinemas were packed at that time and how badly people would go to find a seat but how people could be rude during ones movie viewing. So, this part alone should connect with today's modern viewers. You also get the extra short titled "Feeling Good" which was originally supposed to be the first feature of "As Long As You've Got Your Health", but Etaix chose to use the vampire segments instead.

The best film in the set is "Le Grand Amour". Definitely a relevant film about a man's midlife crisis and wanting to see if he can attract the opposite sex but to also have feelings towards a younger, beautiful woman. But would this man risk his marriage for this secretary? The acting was top notch and the production for this film was much better than Etaix's previous films.

And the final film "Land of Milk and Honey" is truly an experimental film which included clever editing but was able to take something mundane and make it entertaining with the field of questions that relate from an era that is no longer. The film goes to show about how much risk Etaix was willing to take but while trying to use hours of film to make a film, using that as a visual script to edit and make a comedy. It didn't work during that time and the film was despised by many during that time, viewers today will probably see it more audacious and experimental than being critical of French society.

The set comes with an introduction by Pierre Etaix, who discusses each of his feature films and also a documentary put together by his wife Odile Etaix, which was also entertaining and informative. But giving us a chance to gain some insight of Pierre Etaix's work.

Overall, "Pierre Etaix - The Criterion Collection #655″ is an entertaining and enjoyable French comedy shorts/film set featuring the work of filmmaker/actor Pierre Etaix. From his early shorts to his feature films covering the 1960′s, each of the shorts and films presented in this set look fantastic thanks to its 2010 restoration by Studio 17, The Technicolor Foundation for Cinema Heritage and the Groupama Gan Foundation for Cinema, under the supervision of director Pierre Etaix. For those who enjoy silent cinema or comedy (especially early French comedy) that is more visual than dialogue-driven, will find "Pierre Etaix - The Criterion Collection #655″ to be a set worth owning!

Highly recommended!
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