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The Complete Jean Vigo: The Criterion Collection [Blu-ray] (Version française)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Michel Simon, Jean Daste, Dita Parlo, Louis Lefebvre, Louis Berger
  • Directors: Jean Vigo
  • Format: Black & White, Full Screen, Special Edition, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: Aug. 30 2011
  • Run Time: 161 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B005152CC8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #20,851 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Even among cinema’s greatest legends, Jean Vigo stands alone. The son of a notorious anarchist, Vigo had a brief but brilliant career making poetic, lightly surrealist films before his life was cut tragically short by tuberculosis at age twenty-nine. Like the daring early works of his contemporaries Jean Cocteau and Luis Buñuel, Vigo’s films refused to play by the rules. This set includes all of Vigo’s titles: À propos de Nice, an absurdist, rhythmic slice of life from the bustling coastal city of the title; Taris, an inventive short portrait of a swimming champion; Zéro de conduite, a radical, delightful tale of boarding-school rebellion that has influenced countless filmmakers; and, of course, L’Atalante, widely regarded as one of cinema’s finest achievements, about newlyweds beginning their life together on a canal barge. These are the endlessly witty, visually adventurous works of a pivotal film artist.

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
All four films in this package are outstanding; however, the flagship, "Atalanta", should be part of every cineast's collection. This latest version was meticulously and lovingly mastered. This collection tells us clearly how creative Jean Vigo was. His most lamentable death at such an early age was a great loss for the world of films.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 22 reviews
66 of 74 people found the following review helpful
L'Atalante: the most beautiful movie ever made May 28 2011
By W. N. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray
Sight unseen.... the Blu-ray DVD has not yet been released. I have however seen all of these films, and own l'Atalante on DVD--which improved the quality of this very old movie. In Blu-ray it will probably be further improved, but I cannot speak to that.
For me there is no movie more romantic and heartfelt than L'Atalante. It's story is simple enough, a young couple is married in a small town and then begins married life on Seine River barge heading for Paris. The deck hand is Michel Simon, (Boudu Saved From Drowning -Jean Renoir) in another funny role. They arrive in Paris, complications ensue... L'Atalante inspired the French New Wave, especially Francois Truffaut, Claude Lelouch and Jacques Rivette. It's one of the great treasures.

Zero de Conduite - is about a rebellion in a boarding school and established that genre. Luis Bunuel's Los Olvidados and Truffaut's the 400 Blows, quote directly from it.

A Propos de Nice and Taris are a City Film and a study of a swimming champion. They will seem very dated, but if you love movies, city films-films about cities-are interesting, both historically, and for the film techniques they used. The qualities of these short movies led directly to Vigo being allowed to make his two feature films.

I can't say enough about Jean Vigo and especially L'Atalante and Zero de Conduit.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
A perfect set Aug. 29 2011
By Lee Roy Tree - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Jean Vigo is one of the best directors you might not have heard of until recently. This set completely does his work justice. I have the dvd version, and the transfers are absolutely gorgeous. There are informative commentaries, in depth episodes, an interview with Truffaut and Rohmer about the man and his work (and the short amount of time he had to do it), and a neat little tribute from the director Michael Gondry. This set is essential to any lover of cinema, and its storied beginnings. Get it.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
What a treat! Sept. 1 2011
By Bkrdr - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
The Criterion Collection is a beacon of light for film aficionados. For those of you who are not familiar with his work, I do not want to influence your experience. Have your own first impression. For anyone who has seen the work of Jean Vigo (preferable of film screened in a theater with an engaged audience), I do not need to tell you what a master and early innovator he was. He was a great story teller and his influence has been far reaching to every generation of great directors after him. Even those young directors who don't know his work were influenced by his followers.

Thank you Criterion, for continuing to broaden and show appreciation for the medium of film. This was a great inclusion to your canon.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
You Want to See What We're All Talking About Jan. 21 2012
By Stephanie De Pue - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
"The Complete Jean Vigo," consists of three short, early silent works of the French filmmaker, "A propos de Nice,""Taris," and "Zero de conduite," along with "L'Atalante," (1930),thankfully a talkie, a romantic drama that is considered one of the lesser known glories of early French cinema, which is a shame, as it is a masterpiece.

"A propos de Nice" is a rhythmic view of life in that bustling tourist city; it occasionally rises to unexpected absurd heights. "Taris" is a portrait of a swimming champion. "Zero de conduite" is an inventive, charming tale of rebellious boarding school students, a topic on which Vigo can be presumed to know a lot: It has been endlessly influential to other film makers world wide over the years.

"L'Atalante"is in black and white, runs a tight 89 minutes, and is the greatest achievement of Vigo, a too-little known but greatly respected and influential film maker, who died of tuberculosis, shortly after its completion, at the shockingly young age of 29. The film is now generally available only on this disk that constitutes the entire oeuvre of the director's short, turbulent life.

Vigo's master work opens as Juliette, a young girl who has never set foot outside her village, marries Jean, mate on a French river barge named "L'Atalante," and sets up housekeeping aboard. Also aboard are a cabin boy, and the colorful old sailor Pere Jules, played by the inimitable Michel Simon (Port of Shadows (The Criterion Collection),The Train). When the barge reaches Paris, Juliette, who has never seen that great city, slips off to take a look at it. Jean awakes, discovers her gone, and leaves her to her own devices in the French capital. She knows no one there, has no money, does not know the city at all, and will have a very hard time there. But so will Jean, on his own again, until Pere Jules goes to find her.

But this simple, engaging plot isn't the reason the film is so loved. It was restored in 2001, making Boris Kaufman's brilliant cinematography and Maurice Jaubert's lovely score accessible again. The picture is legendary for its sheer, sparkling beauty: the waterways of France, and of Paris - the movie was filmed in that city's "Bassin de la Villette, Paris 19"-- among other locations, have never looked more evocatively beautiful. The characters are full-blown, their actions unpredictable, confusing, true to life. The film is wildly imaginative, inventive, surrealist, and has been compared to the daring early works of Vigo's contemporaries, the better known Jean Cocteau and Luis Bunuel. It remains fresh today, with scenes that still have the power to surprise and absorb us.

Vigo was the son of Miguel Almareyda, a notorious anarchist, who died mysteriously in jail when Vigo was 12. The young boy was always in poor health: he was abandoned by his mother and sent from boarding school to boarding school. Lucky for us, he took up film at age 23. Just because Vigo is little-known today, doesn't mean his work is not accessible. You want to see what we're all talking about.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great Criterion Release of Jean Vigo's Complete Works! July 22 2013
By Frederick Baptist - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
It is truly amazing what Criterion has done with the main course of this blu ray release which has been massacred by censors and clueless distributors so many times from the very beginning of its release. I'm talking of course about "L'Atalante" which is the jewel in the crown here and is sadly the last work of its director Vigo before his early death from consumption. When I watched this blu ray release I had the impression I was back in time watching in the old movie theatres where you would get a cartoon or two, a newsreel or two and then the main course. Here we get the 23 minute silent "documentary" of Nice in " Propos De Nice" to start us off followed by another 9 minute documentary about a top French swimmer in "Taris" and then a comedy of sorts which in the day was actually considered scandalous by the French public in the 44 minute "Zero de Conduite" which showed to me the quaint sense of humour of Vigo especially with the midget school principal; the scene where he struggles to put his hat on the ledge where a mirror is strategically placed to give the optical illusion that he was much taller is priceless! Without any words Vigo tells us exactly the character of the principal and how he sees himself as being more substantial/important than he really is or at least is perceived by everybody else.

While so far we have fairly entertaining fare for me at least "L'Atalante" is the masterpiece here. I have watched it 3 times already and I can't wait to watch it again which to me spells classic film in any language. I find myself surprised at the way this otherwise very simple story of newly weds embarking both figuratively and literally on their journey of marriage and some of the usual problems that such couples encounter albeit compressed in 87 minutes what in real life takes months or even years is told by Vigo. His at least to me strange choice of camera angles and framing of shots gave me the distinct impression that he was purposely trying to surprise me at every turn. It was as if Vigo knew what I was expecting to see and so he deliberately did things differently just to spite me; the result was not anger on my part but pleasant surprise that makes me want to watch this over and over again just to make sure that I actually saw what I thought I saw.

I can count on one hand how many films make me want to watch them over and over again and now I can count "L'Atalante" among these. As mentioned at the start, this film was subject to many indignities being so far ahead of its time that this restored version in blu ray appears to be the best that can currently be done unless someone miraculously discovers a better master print somewhere. Imperfections abound but not at least for me to be too distracting and I have seen a lot worse such as the very poor treatment by Kino of "Les Vampires" for example and so while the picture quality isn't perfect it isn't that bad either. The sound quality is also quite good and as is usually the case with the magnificent Criterion the special features are indeed special with great documentaries and interviews about the film.

This is the first time I've seen Michel Simon and his performance as Pere Jules must rank among the greatest acting of all time and for me ranks as highly as Walter Huston's in "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre"; it is that good. It is his character that becomes the unlikely hero throughout the film that suggests whether they like it or not the youth still depend upon the experience of their elders to get them through. This is a highly enjoyable film that deserves to be in any film buff's video library and although not perfect is still a very worthy Criterion blu ray release.

Highly recommended!


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