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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A master filmmaker gets a bland treatment, May 22 2003
By 
Scott Richardson (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Pier Paolo Pasolini Collection, Vol. 1 (Oedipus Rex / Porcile / Love Meetings) [Import] (DVD)
I've reviewed each of the titles in this box set separately (although Oedipus Rex won't come up if you search by Pasolini, as it's attributed to Philip Saville, who also directed a version of the Sophocles play in 1967), so I won't go into specifics here, but I would like to make some general statements about this box set. Pasolini is an intriguing figure, both as a filmmaker and as a person. His films are a strange mix of politics, social criticism, neo-classicism, and deeply personal insight.
Unfortunately, Waterbearer hasn't done these films justice. The transfers on the discs are very washed-out, they're poorly matted, and the film is pitted and scratched. The audio on the discs is hissy and the levels are set too high - there is quite a bit of distortion on some of the music. The subtitles are burned in (not optional) and are white. On <Love Meetings> this makes for extremely difficult reading, as the film itself is black and white. Some of the subtitles on <Oedipus Rex> are also impossible to read, as some of the characters are wearing white costumes.
I would be willing to chalk all of these problems up to the age of the films if it weren't for one thing. Waterbearer's earlier, now out-of-print issues of Pasolini's Trilogy of Life films (Decameron, Canterbury Tales, and Arabian Nights) all suffered from muddy transfers and poor audio, yet MGM's recent reissue of The Decameron features a beautiful anamorphic transfer (incidentally, Waterbearer's edition of Spirits of the Dead also featured a cruddy transfer, which has fortunately been superseded by HVE's beautiful edition). It is possible to restore these films, and there is certainly interest in them, but unfortunately it looks like we're going to have to suffer with these mediocre transfers until someone with enough clout figures this out.
My other complaints are fairly minor. The box itself is merely a flimsy paper slipcase, and each of the discs features the same documentary as a special feature. While the documentary is interesting and worth watching, I don't understand the logic of putting it on all three discs. Also, the price that Waterbearer has put on this set, especially considering the mediocre-at-best quality of the transfers, is puzzling if not downright insulting. However, for Pasolini enthusiasts, it's all we've got for now.
Waterbearer will be releasing Volume 2 this summer, and it will include a re-issue of The Gospel According to St. Matthew, Accatotone, and The Hawks and the Sparrows. Hopefully, those transfers will be worthy of such an innovative filmmaker.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A master filmmaker gets a bland treatment, May 22 2003
By 
Scott Richardson (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Pier Paolo Pasolini Collection, Vol. 1 (Oedipus Rex / Porcile / Love Meetings) [Import] (DVD)
I've reviewed each of the titles in this box set separately (although Oedipus Rex won't come up if you search by Pasolini, as it's attributed to Philip Saville, who also directed a version of the Sophocles play in 1967), so I won't go into specifics here, but I would like to make some general statements about this box set. Pasolini is an intriguing figure, both as a filmmaker and as a person. His films are a strange mix of politics, social criticism, neo-classicism, and deeply personal insight.
Unfortunately, Waterbearer hasn't done these films justice. The transfers on the discs are very washed-out, they're poorly matted, and the film is pitted and scratched. The audio on the discs is hissy and the levels are set too high - there is quite a bit of distortion on some of the music. The subtitles are burned in (not optional) and are white. On <Love Meetings> this makes for extremely difficult reading, as the film itself is black and white. Some of the subtitles on <Oedipus Rex> are also impossible to read, as some of the characters are wearing white costumes.
I would be willing to chalk all of these problems up to the age of the films if it weren't for one thing. Waterbearer's earlier, now out-of-print issues of Pasolini's Trilogy of Life films (Decameron, Canterbury Tales, and Arabian Nights) all suffered from muddy transfers and poor audio, yet MGM's recent reissue of The Decameron features a beautiful anamorphic transfer (incidentally, Waterbearer's edition of Spirits of the Dead also featured a cruddy transfer, which has fortunately been superseded by HVE's beautiful edition). It is possible to restore these films, and there is certainly interest in them, but unfortunately it looks like we're going to have to suffer with these mediocre transfers until someone with enough clout figures this out.
My other complaints are fairly minor. The box itself is merely a flimsy paper slipcase, and each of the discs features the same documentary as a special feature. While the documentary is interesting and worth watching, I don't understand the logic of putting it on all three discs. Also, the price that Waterbearer has put on this set, especially considering the mediocre-at-best quality of the transfers, is puzzling if not downright insulting. However, for Pasolini enthusiasts, it's all we've got for now.
Waterbearer will be releasing Volume 2 this summer, and it will include a re-issue of The Gospel According to St. Matthew, Accatotone, and The Hawks and the Sparrows. Hopefully, those transfers will be worthy of such an innovative filmmaker.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Three intriguing Pasolini films, May 15 2003
By 
J. Clark (metro New York City) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Pier Paolo Pasolini Collection, Vol. 1 (Oedipus Rex / Porcile / Love Meetings) [Import] (DVD)
This three-film box set provides a very good introduction to Pasolini. It includes the rare early documentary LOVE MEETINGS (1964); one of his best and most representative films, OEDIPUS REX (1967); and the deeply strange but unforgettable PORCILE (1969). Although I have written about these DVDs individually elsewhere at Amazon.com, let me briefly introduce them here. LOVE MEETINGS (COMIZI D'AMORE, literally "debates about love") is Pasolini's cinema verite investigation of sexual attitudes among a broad spectrum of Italians, from liberal students to soccer stars to traditional villagers, from all parts of the country. It also provides a fascinating, albeit indirect, portrait of Pasolini himself, as this extraordinary filmmaker, poet, novelist, and theoretician reveals much about his own attitudes towards sex and the Italian people. OEDIPUS REX is his opulent and riveting adaptation of the ancient myth; simultaneously, it is a provocative reflection of the filmmaker himself (Pasolini sets the prologue in Fascist Italy, depicting his own father and mother as Oedipus' parents). PORCILE (aka PIGSTY), filmed with serene beauty and underlying horror, is one of Pasolini's most hauntingly original works. It interweaves two seemingly disconnected tales, that of a young man forced into a life of cannibalism in a dreamlike medieval Wasteland, and that of the enigmatic son of an ex-Nazi industrialist in modern Germany. Both men become sacrificial victims of their different societies. Each of the three discs includes the same excellent half-hour 1970 documentary on Pasolini, but no other features. The Pasolini Foundation in Rome, which controls the rights to all three films, insisted that the U.S. distributor release the DVDs without any chapters (i.e., each is in one continuous track), to encourage people to watch each picture in its entirety. Still, it is a privilege to have these three extraordinary films on DVD, and I look forward to the Pasolini Collection, Volume 2.
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Pier Paolo Pasolini Collection, Vol. 1 (Oedipus Rex / Porcile / Love Meetings) [Import]
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