|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
(aka "Hunger" or "Sult")
directed by Henning Carlsen
Denmark / Norway / Sweden 1966
Knut Hamsun's remarkable book HUNGER was written in 1890 and it remains one of the freshest books I've ever read. This 1966 film adaptation, SULT [HUNGER], was the first ever Swedish/Danish/Norwegian film co-production and it is a masterpiece of cooperation, subtlety and respect for its source material. It was director Henning Carlsen's fourth feature film (after fifteen years making documentaries) and he talks eloquently in the DVD extras interview about the problems of adapting an entirely first person perspective book to the screen. In another filmed extra, author Paul Auster talks of his love for the film with Hamsun's grand-daughter Regine, who both agree that it is one of the best film adaptations of a novel ever. Auster compares the intensity of the film to Bresson's DIARY OF A COUNTRY PRIEST, another of his favourites.
The entire film rests on Per Oscarsson's lead performance - he is in practically every shot of the film - and he completely embodies the main character of Hamsun's book (even though he was second choice for the role).
The list of interesting people who worked on this film is astonishing: Bergman regular Gunnel Lindblom plays the female lead; for art director Erik Aaes (who worked for Renoir, Cavalcanti, Dreyer, etc) it was his last film; regular Polanski collaborator Krzysztof Komeda wrote and performed the haunting score; and Birgitte Federspiel (Inger in ORDET) has a small role as Lindblom's sister.
Theatrical Release: May 11th, 1966 - Cannes Film Festival - France
DVD Review: New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
CLICK to order from:
|Distribution||New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC|
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.79 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
|Audio||Danish, (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)|
|Subtitles||English, French, or None|
DVD Release Date: August 22nd, 2006
minute interview with director Henning Carlsen
Nick Wrigley reviewed the PAL - Danish Film Institute / Swedish Film Institute collaboration of this DVD (see below) that came out in 2003 and was available online at the DFI Bookshop HERE. We have replaced that with the newer NTSC DVD captures comparing both (the subtitle sample).
Oliver Groom of Project X has done some fabulous DVD production work including four Watkins films - Punishment Park, The Gladiators, The War Game (which includes Culloden) and Edvard Munch - plus Mai Zetterling's Loving Couples. Rendering Henning Carlsen's Hunger (Sult) to NTSC digital is yet another triumph. The image is pristine - subs and audio are equally adept and there are worthwhile extras.
Noticing some differences from the SFI/DFI PAL disc - the NY'er edition appears to have even a better image - unlike the PAL release it is anamorphic and contrast is more pure with stronger black levels. Both contain the same Carlsen interview, conversation between author Paul Auster and Regine Hamsun, granddaughter of Knut Hamsun and extensive gallery of stills. New Yorker have added text screens of Carlsen's filmography. The PAL has more subtitle options but they are of a larger font and more intrusive onto the image (see sample below).
Although not an official comparison, if it was the New Yorker would be ahead in all categories - excepting if you required Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, German, Spanish, Russian, or Finnish subtitles.
We should really be grateful that this DVD is now easily available to North American audience in such a sterling package. I can really find no glaring (or minute) flaws at all. A commentary would have been the only further desirous supplement. It is great news that Project X has come forth, along with DVD production companies like Masters of Cinema and Second Run. They are meticulously releasing incredible, often clandestine films, using the power of the Digital Versatile medium to expose these works to vastly larger audiences. What a great time to be a film fan! Bravo!
The director wrote to tell me that the print used was not particularly spotless but has been digitally restored to a very high level. This gives the impression that a spotless print has been used, when in fact a lot of cleanup has been done. The transfer is non-anamorphic 1.66:1 OAR and it is a very high quality transfer. The subtitles are 16:9 safe. It has been very well encoded.
The amount of effort that has gone into subtitling *everything* on this disc, in many languages, must be noted - very impressive indeed. Carlsen informed me that together with his wife it took them eight months to get acceptable translations for the subtitles made. A highly recommended disc of a knockout film. Here's hoping for more where this came from.
(New Yorker - Region 1- NTSC TOP vs. DFI / SFI - Region 0 PAL BOTTOM)