HISTOIRE(S) DU CINÉMA

 

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/godard.htm

 

Toutes les histoires (1988)     Une histoire seule (1989)     Fatale beauté (1997)

Seul le cinéma (1997)     La monnaie de l'absolu (1998)     Le contrôle de l'univers (1998)

Une vague nouvelle (1998)     Les signes parmi nous (1998)


Histoire(s) du cinema; - as TV series/video essay - was made for Canal+, ARTE and Gaumont, from 1988 to 1998. The work subdivides into four chapters of two parts each. Of those four chapters, the first was broadcasted on five European channels simultaneously, the three others have been screened at film festivals. The series was shown as part of an installation at Documenta X, the interdisciplinary arts festival in Kassel, Germany, in 1997. The Museum of Modern Art in New York has screened each episode as it has become available.

Undeniably a work of enormous scope, Jean-Luc Godard's Histoires du cinéma eludes easy definition. An extended essay on cinema by means of cinema. A history of the cinema, and history interpreted by the cinema. An hommage and a critique. An anecdotal autobiography, illuminated by Godard's encyclopedic wit, extending the idiom established by JLG par JLG. An epic - and non-linear - poem. A freely associative essay. A vast multi-layered musical composition. Histoires du cinéma is all of these. It is above all, a work made by a man who loves and is fascinated by the world of film.

For American movie critic Jonathan Rosenbaum, Godard's video series represents the culmination of 20th century filmmaking, and is a work "of enormous importance": "Just as Finnegans Wake, the art work to which Histoires du cinéma seems most comparable, situates itself at some theoretical stage after the end of the English language as we know it, Godard's magnum opus similarly projects itself into the future in order to ask, 'What was cinema?'." (From ECM Records).

 


Titles

 

 


 

"... regarding the long-anticipated DVD release of Jean Luc Godard's Histoire(s) du cinema. The film had attracted notice at festivals, but seemed destined to obscurity, as a result of copyright issues. It seems that Godard's liberal use of clips from Hollywood cinema, as well as his unconventional & at times invective-filled rant against the Machine risked the ire of the studios here. Various related books and soundtrack releases, all elegantly done, found their way into stores in France and in Europe. But until recently, the only way to obtain the video was through Japan, where the Box-set was fetching upwards of 33,000 yen (around US $278). Some enterprising individuals on eBay were getting as much as $50 for bootleg copies. Well, the wait is over. The set will be available in a Region 2 edition as of Jan. 16, and Amazon France is offering the set for an unheard-of 39 euros. The good news does not end there---orders from the US benefit from a 6 euro TVA reduction, bringing the total to a mere 33 euros (US $40) for the 4 discs! " - Excerpt from TwitchFilm located HERE

Package

Theatrical Releases: 1988 - 1998

  DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Gaumont (4-disc) - Region 0 - PAL

 

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

NOTE: the cover on Amazon.FR is incorrect at present - the image to the left is the correct one.

Distribution Gaumont - Region 0 - PAL
Time: Approx 4:24:00
Bitrate: Disc 1
Bitrate: Disc 2
Bitrate: Disc 3
Bitrate: Disc 4
Audio

French (2.0)

• Press conferences have only optional French as audio is mostly in English (for the 1st one).

• 2 x 50 ans de cinéma français has no subtitles at all

Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Gaumont

Aspect Ratio:
All Original Aspect Ratios - 1.33 

Edition Details:

  •  DVD 1
    Toutes les histoires (51 min)
    Une histoire seule (42 min)
    Conférence de presse – Cannes 1988 (13 min)

    DVD 2
    Seul le cinéma (26 min)
    Fatale beauté (28 min)
    Conférence de presse – Cannes 1997 (27 min)

    DVD 3
    La monnaie de l’absolu (26 min)
    Une vague nouvelle (27 min)

    DVD 4
    Le contrôle de l’univers (27 min)
    Les signes parmi nous (37 min)
     

  • • 2 x 50 ans de cinéma français –1995 (50 min)
    Un film de Jean-Luc Godard et Anne-Marie Mieville.
    • Conférence de presse de Jean-Luc Godard – Cannes 1988 (13 min)
    • Conférence de Presse de Jean-Luc Godard – Cannes 1997 (27 min)


DVD Release Date: April 5th, 2007

5 Slim Transparent Keep Cases inside a Slipcase cardboard box
Chapters: 18 X 2, 16 X 3 = 84

 

 

Comments:

As pure cinema homage art it is very hard to critique the image as it is rife with overlays, spillage of color, over-contrast and various other intentional effects - but we can say that the transfer is progressive and the discs are dual-layered. As one can see below the eight features do offer optional English subtitles and there are some supplements - both of which I will comment on below.

All four DVDs are housed in their own custom book-style case (see image above) that fit snugly into a heavy VHS-sized box. Each are un-coded (Region 0) in the PAL standard. The transfers are accurate in the 1.33 aspect ratio. There are no liner notes.

The eight features have audio in original French stereo and, as mentioned, there are optional English subtitles.

Bitrates are very strong ranging from from about 8 MPS to 9 MPS.

The subtitles do not appear wholly complete to me. I have never seen 6 of the 8 features before and many (almost all) of the various flashed title capture cards are not translated nor is the background dialogue (the latter is more understandable as it is often murmured and probably not meant to be audibly understood). there are some healthy gaps ( I verified on two separate machines to insure it was not the player). In fairness I am very unsure of what is meant to be translated (this is 'art' folks) and what is not (often poetic and softly recited vocals seem intentionally vague) but I thought it only fair to mention this and hopefully someone more familiar with how it may have been shown theatrically or at festivals can inform us. We will post that information here as we receive it so I'd very much appreciate others opinions on this as well (HERE).

NOTE: Jonathan Rosenbaum on the subtitles: "Basically, Gary, I think they did it the right way. Admittedly the translation's only partial, but for a work that's already so dense and literally multilayered, it would have been an overload if they'd attempted to translate most of the intertitles as well, not to mention the verbal portions of certain movie soundtracks. And sometimes you can figure out what some of the titles are saying anyway.

If you check out the audio version of this released several years back by ECM on CDs, with books containing translations in English and German of the "texts," you'll see that they basically selected the same passages to be translated, and the same goes for the books that have come out in French with texts taken from various Godard films and videos. In all these cases, what gets selected from the soundtracks and the actual shots is partial, and I'd be very surprised if anyone other than Godard made the actual selections. So I think an aesthetic decision is being made about this, and I believe it's the right decision (as well as, most likely, Godard's decision).

Sometimes subtitles can actually be a distortion: famously, some of the English-subtitled versions of Godard's 60s films make more of the soundtrack legible than would be understood by any fluent French person. Similarly, we're not necessarily or invariably supposed to "get" or "understand" everything that's thrown at us in Histoire(s) du Cinema, in my opinion. From this standpoint, publishing a skeleton key consisting of identifications of all the film clips and art works--identifications that were made by Bernard Eisenschitz for Gaumont, with Godard's assistance, in the late 90s--would probably be even more valuable than translating all of the soundtrack and/or the onscreen texts, but not as part of the text--rather, as useful backup.

What's less justifiable about not translating the extras (and that includes most of the second Cannes press conference, by the way; if memory serves, only the first 3-4 minutes are in English) is that laziness and/or cheapness seem to be the reasons in this case. 2 X 50 Years of French Cinema was already subtitled by the British Film Institute, who produced the video, so there's no reason why Gaumont couldn't have purchased those subtitles.

Incidentally, in the earlier press conference, if you listen very, very hard, you can hear Godard briefly addressing me (I was seated in the front row) and me replying. He was trying to remember the title of the George Steven film with Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift, asked me what it was, and I said, A Place in the Sun, which he repeated. My bid for posterity!
".

***

Lastly the three supplements have no English subtitles. Only the first Godard Press Conference at Cannes (1998) is spoken in English for the most part (and that does offer French subs) but there is some French spoken as well and it offers no subtitles. The rest of the extras - another Press Conferences from Cannes (1997) - and the film Deux fois cinquante ans de cinéma français from 1995 (about 51 minutes) directed by Godard and Anne-Marie Miéville is not translated (NO subtitles).

The package is quite an event with it bordering on essential and a true piece of iconoclast cinema of the 20th century. There are hundreds of films referenced and they come together in a most inspiring and unique form. Truly unforgettable and worth repeated viewings but be forewarned - it IS very artsy with sprawling disjointed imagery and obtuse, erratic dialogue.  It made me feel quite wonderful to see it in one complete sitting. It, personally, gave me a settling, warm and comfortable thrill about the joys of film and how it can often communicate on such deep, clandestine levels.       

Gary W. Tooze




DVD Menus



 

 

Screen Captures

 

DVD 1


Toutes les histoires (51 min)


Une histoire seule (42 min)

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

DVD 2


Seul le cinéma (26 min)


Fatale beauté (28 min)

 

 


 

 

Screen Captures

 

DVD 3


La monnaie de l’absolu (26 min)


Une vague nouvelle (27 min)

 

 

 


 

 

Screen Captures

 

DVD 4


Le contrôle de l’univers (27 min)


Les signes parmi nous (37 min)

 

 

 

 


 

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

NOTE: the cover on Amazon.FR is incorrect at present - the image to the left is the correct one.

Distribution Gaumont - Region 0 - PAL




 

Hit Counter

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

Mail cheques, money orders, cash to:    or CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!