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The Complete Jean Vigo

À propos de Nice (1930)      Taris (1931)          Zéro de conduite (1933)        L’Atalante (1934)

 

Even among cinema’s legends, Jean Vigo stands apart. 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; 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 L’Atalante, widely regarded as one of cinema’s finest achievements, about newlyweds beginning their life together on a canal barge. These are the witty, visually adventurous works of a pivotal film artist.

 


(aka "LeChaland qui passe" )

directed by Jean Vigo
France 1934

Jean Vigo’s only full-length feature (1934, 89 min.), one of the supreme masterpieces of French cinema, was edited and then brutally re-edited while Vigo was on his deathbed, so a definitive restoration is impossible. But the one carried out in 1990 is probably the best and most complete we’ll ever be able to see, and it’s a wonder to behold. The simple love-story plot involves the marriage of a provincial woman (Dita Parlo) to the skipper of a barge (Jean Dasté), and the only other characters of consequence are the barge’s skeletal crew (Michel Simon and Louis Lefebvre) and a peddler (Gilles Margaritis) who flirts with the wife at a cabaret and describes the wonders of Paris to her. The sensuality of the characters and the settings, indelibly caught in Boris Kaufman’s glistening cinematography, are only part of the film’s remarkable poetry, the conviction of which goes beyond such categories as realism or surrealism, just as the powerful sexuality in the film ultimately transcends such categories as heterosexuality, homosexuality, and even bisexuality. Shot by shot and moment by moment, the film is so fully alive to the world’s possibilities that magic and reality seem to function as opposite sides of the same coin, with neither fully adequate to Vigo’s vision.

Excerpt from Jonathan Rosenbaum's article "30 Great Movies on DVD" located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: September 12th, 1934

Reviews         More Reviews        DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL vs. New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman and Gary Tooze for the Screen Caps!

1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT

2) New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

 

Distribution

Artificial Eye

Region 2 - PAL

New Yorker
Region 1 - NTSC
Criterion Collection - Spine #578 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:25:15 (4% PAL speedup) 1:25:12 1:29:14.390
Video

1.31:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.49 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.31:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.2 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,234,218,904 bytes

Feature: 16,537,546,752 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 20.99 Mbps

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Artificial Eye

 

Bitrate:

 

New Yorker

 

Bitrate:

 

Blu-ray

 

Audio French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

LPCM Audio French 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Subtitles English, (removable) in white English, (removable) in white English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.31:1

Edition Details:
• 2 disc collector's edition
• A Propos de Nice (1929) (0:21:43)
• Taris (1931) (0:09:15)
• Zero de Conduite (1933) (0:41:56)
• 'Filmmakers Of Our Times: Jean Vigo' documentary (1:34:09)
• 'From L'Atlante To L'Atlante' documentary (0:09:55)
• 'The Voyage Of L'Atlante' documentary (0:38:24)
• 'Sound Regained' documentary (0:09:49)
• Interview with Otar Losseliani (0:19:07)
• Extracts from the first version of 'A Propos De Nice' - 6 sequences
• Jean Taris: Gaumont newsreels (0:03:37)
• Stills gallery (27 stills from all movies)
• Poster gallery (7 posters in slide show)
• Vigo biography

DVD Release Date: October 25, 2004
Keepcase

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: New Yorker

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.31:1

Edition Details:
• The Making Of...
• Stills Gallery - about 50+ still images that run in a slide show presentation
• Vintage Posters Gallery - less than 10 posters in a slide show presentation
• Jean Vigo Filmography - static screen listing of films
• 8 page insert

 

DVD Release Date: April 15, 2003
Keepcase

Chapters 24

Release Information:
Studio:
Criterion

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,234,218,904 bytes

Feature: 16,537,546,752 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 20.99 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
• Audio commentaries featuring Michael Temple, author of
Jean Vigo
• Score for À propos de Nice by Marc Perrone, from 2001
• Alternate edits from À propos de Nice, featuring footage cut by Vigo (21:31 in 1080i)
• Episode of the French television series Cinéastes de notre temps about Vigo, from 1964 (1:38:16 in 1080i)
• Conversation from 1968 between filmmakers François Truffaut and Eric Rohmer on L’Atalante (18:17 in 1080i)
• Animated tribute to Vigo by filmmaker Michel Gondry (:45 in 1080P)
• Les voyages de “L’Atalante,” film restorer and historian Bernard Eisenschitz’s 2001 documentary tracking the history of the film (40:03 in 1080i)
• Video interview from 2001 with director Otar Iosseliani on Vigo (19:57 in 1080i)
• A liner notes booklet featuring essays by critics Michael Almereyda, Robert Polito, B. Kite, and Luc Sante

Blu-ray Release Date:
August 30th, 2011
Transparent Blu-ray case

Chapters 17

 

Recommended Reading in French Cinema (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

The Films in My Life
by Francois Truffaut, Leonard Mayhew

French Cinema: A Student's Guide
by Philip Powrie, Keith Reader
Agnes Varda by Alison Smith Godard on Godard : Critical Writings by Jean-Luc Godard Notes on the Cinematographer by Robert Bresson Robert Bresson (Cinematheque Ontario Monographs, No. 2)
by James Quandt
Jean Vigo by Michael Temple The Art of Cinema by Jean Cocteau French New Wave
by Jean Douchet, Robert Bonnono, Cedric Anger, Robert Bononno
French Cinema: From Its Beginnings to the Present
by Remi Fournier Lanzoni
Truffaut: A Biography by Antoine do Baecque and Serge Toubiana

Check out more in "The Library"


Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - August 11': I have strong suspicions that Criterion's Blu-ray transfer(s) are from a new source OR has been further restored. I usually can use damage marks to help match captures but they weren't the same, or as visible, on the new 1080P transfer. Also the new hi-def appearance had other, different, light damage and scratch marks. It's hard to say with 100% certainty as Criterion may have done some digital improvement and Blu-ray tends to accentuate some damage marks and the, usually less-visible, vertical lines. In my estimation it is from a different or restored source. This must certainly be true of Taris (see compared sample, near bottom, below) as it is dramatically superior in the high-definition presentation beside the Artificial Eye DVD. Compared to the DVDs - the Criterion contrast is superior - it is now from the correct standards source (New Yorker was, obviously not.) Grain is much more visible and despite the imperfections inherent - this looks fabulous in my opinion. Criterion have done an amazing job with these important films.  

Criterion remain faithful to the original audio with a linear PCM mono track at 1152 kbps 1.0 which sounds, we presume, as good as it can but still suffers from the age of the film and condition. There is a 2001 score by Marc Perrone used for À propos de Nice and it is quite delightful. Once again Criterion improves upon the previous SD editions in the audio department with some perceived depth and strength. Criterion, have optional English subtitles (see sample) with a slightly different translation and the Blu-ray disc is, as always, region 'A'-locked.

The supplements are tremendous. We get excellent audio commentaries for all the films by Michael Temple, author of Jean Vigo. There is the option for the, slightly longer, alternate edit of À propos de Nice, featuring footage cut by Vigo. Included is a 98-minute episode of a 1964 French television series, Cinéastes de notre temps, about Vigo and also a 20-minute conversation from 1968 between filmmakers François Truffaut and Eric Rohmer on L’Atalante from "Postface a L'Atalanate" originally shown following a French broadcast of the film. Michael Gondry supplies a very cool 45-second animated tribute to Vigo and a 40-minute, 2001, documentary tracking the history of the film and the savage cuts made to it in 1934 to the more complete version we see today. This is entitled Les voyages de “L’Atalante, made by film restorer and historian Bernard Eisenschitz. There is also a 20-minute video interview from 2001 with Georgian-French director Otar Iosseliani talks about the influence that Jean Vigo had on his own work and there is a linr notes booklet featuring essays by critics Michael Almereyda, Robert Polito, B. Kite, and Luc Sante.

Great to see Criterion offer these Jean Vigo films in their best a/v transfer - and all available on one Blu-ray disc! Plus all the important extras in HD. It's like a cinephile dream come true and this should make some big waves in our Year End Poll. L'Atalante remains one of cinema's all-time greatest masterpieces and to be able to screen it in your home theater in this vastly improved presentation is an irresistible enticement. Strongly recommended!

***

ON THE DVDs: The New Yorker DVD is again taken from a PAL source and has all those inherent problems of ghosting and artifacts. We can also see that it is slightly cropped on all 4 edges. Although both appear to have a close level of detail, the NY'er has a greenish/sepia dark haze to its image. The Artificial Eye DVD shows some nice film grain and is the far superior visual treat, although both show the same damage marks and obviously come from the same source. Aside from the 2 Vigo shorts included on the Artificial Eye disc, the PAL edition is stacked with other extras (a whole 2nd disc). We recommend the new "The Complete Jean Vigo" from Artificial Eye.

- Gary Tooze




DVD Menus

(
Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)
 

 

Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 


 

Subtitle Samples

 

1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 


Screen Captures

1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


Taris

1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

3) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

Zero de Conduite

1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

3) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

À propos de Nice

More L'Atalante Blu-ray Captures

 

Recommended Reading in French Cinema (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

The Films in My Life
by Francois Truffaut, Leonard Mayhew

French Cinema: A Student's Guide
by Philip Powrie, Keith Reader
Agnes Varda by Alison Smith Godard on Godard : Critical Writings by Jean-Luc Godard Notes on the Cinematographer by Robert Bresson Robert Bresson (Cinematheque Ontario Monographs, No. 2)
by James Quandt
Jean Vigo by Michael Temple The Art of Cinema by Jean Cocteau French New Wave
by Jean Douchet, Robert Bonnono, Cedric Anger, Robert Bononno
French Cinema: From Its Beginnings to the Present
by Remi Fournier Lanzoni
Truffaut: A Biography by Antoine do Baecque and Serge Toubiana

Check out more in "The Library"


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Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras:

Blu-ray

 

DVD Box Covers

 

Distribution

Artificial Eye

Region 2 - PAL

New Yorker
Region 1 - NTSC
Criterion Collection - Spine #578 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 

 

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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...