Above - MGM Home Video (and ERA Re-Mastered) - Title TOP vs. Razor - Title - BOTTOM

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/zhang.htm
China 1991

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A masterpiece. The historical dramas of Zhang Yimou, a master "Fifth Generation" filmmaker who emerged from the reopened Beijing Film Academy during the liberal climate of the early 1980s, resonate with subtexts of repression, resistance and retribution. Though Zhang's screenplay for RAISE THE RED LANTERN (based on the 1989 novel Wives and Concubines by Su Tong) got a stamp of approval from the Chinese censors, the finished production was banned at home while playing to great praise abroad.

Almost all of this superbly rendered tragedy takes place within the confines of the Master's vast estate, and Zhang Yimou uses a mostly stationary camera to frame the characters within careful compositions of doorways, portals, canopies and courtyards; the severe, rigid style effectively turns the sumptuous residence into a metaphorical prison compound. As bleak as the material sounds, there is a certain sardonic humor, mostly from the spirited Meishan and even the Master himself, who's absolutely baffled as to why his spouses seem so discontented.

This sumptuously shot $1 million production was financed by Taiwanese interests through a Hong Kong intermediary, and it was Hong Kong that submitted RAISE THE RED LANTERN as its official candidate for the 1992 Academy Award for best foreign language film, a move disapproved by Beijing.
out of

Excerpt from TV Guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: September 10th, 1991 - Toronto Film Festival

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DVD Comparison:

 ERA (RE-Mastered) Home Video - Region 0 - NTSC vs. MGM Home Video -  Region 1 - NTSC vs. Razor - Region 0 - NTSC

 (ERA Home Video (RE-Mastered) - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT vs. MGM Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE vs. Razor - Region 0 - NTSC RIGHT)

DVD Box Cover

 

Thinking of buying from YesAsia? CLICK HERE and use THIS UPDATED BEAVER PAGE to source their very best...

 

Distribution ERA Home Video (Re-Mastered)  Region 0 - NTSC MGM Home Video  Region 1 - NTSC Razor -  Region 0 - NTSC
Bitrate: ERA (Remastered)
Bitrate: MGM
Bitrate: Razor
Runtime 2:04:32  2:04:56  1:59:00 
Video

1.83:1

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.20 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.83:1

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.28 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.81:1
Average Bitrate: 4.69 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
Audio Mandarin (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo) Mandarin (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo) Mandarin (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Mandarin (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Subtitles English, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, none English, Spanish, French, none English, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: ERA Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
WideScreen  - 1.83:1

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Edition Details:

Photo Gallery

Trailer

DVD Release Date: June 17th, 2006

Keep Case inside cardboard slipcase
Chapters: 8

Release Information:
Studio: MGM Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
WideScreen  - 1.83:1

 

Edition Details:

None

DVD Release Date: July 24th, 2007

Keep Case
Chapters: 28

Release Information:

Razor

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen  - 1.81:1

 

Edition Details:

None

DVD Release Date: January 17th, 2006

Keep Case
Chapters: 9

 

Comments:
ADDITION: MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - July 07':

NOTE: We replaced the original ERA edition screen captures, into the middle position, with the new MGM. The ERA was easily usurped by its remastered predecessor.

The new MGM edition has the same color scheme and framing as the remastered ERA - probably inferring that is from the same source print. Both are progressive, anamorphic and dual-layered. Differences? it seems to have come from a film source as opposed to analog and skin tones may be slightly more true. It probably has had nothing done to it digitally (no boosted black/red levels) and hence appears slightly less sharp. Audio is standard (Dolby Mandarin) but subtitles may be superior on the MGM - not understanding the language I can't be positive but strongly suspect it. Supplements go the way of the ERA (it has a trailer and photo gallery) as the MGM offers nothing. All of these differences are fairly minor but as the ERA seems to have vanished from e-tailors (well, YesAsia anyway) the $15 MGM is the way to go. I wasn't expecting any extras but the film surely deserves a commentary and more. Shame. At least MGM didn't screw up the transfer. It looks quite acceptable.

***

ADDITION: ERA (RE-Mastered version) July 06'- Well, I was very skeptical when news of this release was reported - and I almost didn't bother buying, but we received some evidence from fellow Beavers to support inclusion in this comparison and (drum roll please)... it IS by far the best! Firstly, this new DVD is both progressive, anamorphic and dual-layered. Colors and detail are superior and the optional subtitles are the least intrusive of the three. The new 'Re-Mastered' edition from ERA appears to have almost no contrast manipulation and few, if any, obviously visible artifacts. It is darker, but that is usually and excellent sign that it is adhering to the source print. It has been transferred at approximately 1.85 aspect ratio. There is a slim black border around the edges - slightly limiting horizontal resolution. The bitrate suggests that it is probably not taken from a film source - most likely analog. Now, this is not Criterion image quality, but it is not bad at all. It is easily the best digital representation of this film currently available.

Brian tells us: 'The subtitles have sensible translations. My “sensible,” I mean that the translations are grammatically correct and they seem to fit correctly (from what I remember about it, when watching it when it was broadcast on cable a few years ago). I noticed one typo, “slepped” instead of “slipped” but it wasn’t distracting.' (Thanks Brian!)

There is, at least, an attempt at extras. There is a photo gallery and trailer for the film included on the Re-Mastered DVD. Even the menus are superior. So, this is an easy choice - the price is exceptional at $13. We strongly recommend and am extremely happy that ERA have leap-frogged into a better DVD-production category with this release.

*****

Just when you were sure things couldn't get worse. Both issues are rife with flaws - extensive contrast boosting on the Razor - a horrible non-progressive transfer - I can't tell why the film is 5 minutes short - and shows rounded corners. On the ERA front - the dual burned-in subtitles would have been a deal-breaker but the image quality, detail and colors are far superior to the Razor - occasionally the ERA looks vertically stretched - appears to be cropped - it has no extras (neither does the Razor) or menus.

Taking price into account we can't help but recommend the ERA (NOTE: It has a different cover now at YesAsia but its the same transfer).

It is almost hard to believe that this film, which radiates such intense depth, is still left totally unacceptable on the digital front. What a crazy world.

Gary W. Tooze



DVD Menus

 

ERA Home Video (Remastered) - Region 0 - NTSC

 



 (MGM Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. Razor - Region 0 - NTSC RIGHT)

NOTE: The RE-Mastered ERA edition has this warning screen. And I, for one, am very thrilled that all these profiteers who have been showing "Raise the Red Lantern" on Oil Rigs will hopefully be deterred.


Subtitle Sample

 

(ERA Home Video (RE-Mastered) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. MGM Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE vs. Razor - Region 0 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

 (ERA Home Video (RE-Mastered) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. MGM Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE vs. Razor - Region 0 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


 

 (ERA Home Video (RE-Mastered) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. MGM Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE vs. Razor - Region 0 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


 

(ERA Home Video (RE-Mastered) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. MGM Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE vs. Razor - Region 0 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


 

 (ERA Home Video (RE-Mastered) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. MGM Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE vs. Razor - Region 0 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


 
 (ERA Home Video (RE-Mastered) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. MGM Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE vs. Razor - Region 0 - NTSC BOTTOM)
 

 


 
 (ERA Home Video (RE-Mastered) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. MGM Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE vs. Razor - Region 0 - NTSC BOTTOM)
 

 


 
 (ERA Home Video (RE-Mastered) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. MGM Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE vs. Razor - Region 0 - NTSC BOTTOM)
 

 


 
 (ERA Home Video (RE-Mastered) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. MGM Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE vs. Razor - Region 0 - NTSC BOTTOM)
 

 


Report Card:

 

Image:

MGM / ERA - RE-Mastered

Sound:

-

Extras: ERA - RE-Mastered
Menu: MGM

 

 

DVD Box Cover

 

Thinking of buying from YesAsia? CLICK HERE and use THIS UPDATED BEAVER PAGE to source their very best...

 

Distribution ERA Home Video (Re-Mastered)  Region 0 - NTSC MGMHome Video  Region 1 - NTSC Razor -  Region 0 - NTSC



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