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The Documentaries of Louis Malle - Eclipse Series 2

 

Vive le tour (1962)     Humain, Trop Humain (1974)

 

Place de la République (1974)     Phantom India (1969)       Calcutta (1969)

 

God's Country(1986)         ...And the Pursuit of Happiness(1986)


Over the course of a nearly forty-year career, Louis Malle forged a reputation as one of the world’s most versatile cinematic storytellers, with such widely acclaimed, and wide-ranging, masterpieces as Elevator to the Gallows, My Dinner with Andre, and Au revoir les enfants. At the same time, however, with less fanfare, Malle was creating a parallel, even more personal body of work as a documentary filmmaker. With the discerning eye of a true artist and the investigatory skills of a great journalist, Malle takes us from a street corner in Paris to America’s heartland to the expanses of India in his astonishing epic Phantom India. These are some of the most engaging and fascinating nonfiction films ever made..

 


Titles

 

 


 

Vive le tour (1962), Humain

Trop Humain (1974)

Place de la République (1974)

An energetic evocation of the Tour de France, a meditative investigation of the inner workings of a French automotive plant, and an entertaining snapshot of the comings and goings on one street corner in Paris – Louis Malle’s three French-set documentaries reveal, in an eclectic array of ways, the director’s eternal fascination with, and respect for, the everyday lives of everyday people.

 

Phantom India (1969)

Malle called his gorgeous and groundbreaking Phantom India the most personal film of his career. And this extraordinary journey to India, originally shown as a miniseries on European television, is infused with his sense of discovery, as well as occasional outrage, intrigue, and joy.     

 

Calcutta (1969)

When he was cutting Phantom India, Malle found that the footage shot in Calcutta was so diverse, intense, and unforgettable that it deserved its own film. The result, released theatrically, is at times shocking – a chaotic portrait of a city engulfed in social and political turmoil, edging ever closer to oblivion.

 

God's Country (1986)

Over the course of a nearly forty-year career, Louis Malle forged a In 1979, Louis Malle traveled into the heart of Minnesota to capture the everyday lives of the men and women in a prosperous farming community. Six years later, during Ronald Reagan’s second term, he returned to find drastic economic decline. Free of stereotypes about America’s “heartland,” God’s Country, commissioned for American public television, is a stunning work of emotional and political clarity.       

 

...And the Pursuit of Happiness (1986)

Malle’s lively cross-section of everyday American citizens who, like him, are recent immigrants to this country.

Theatrical Releases: 1962 - 1986

  DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Eclipse Series One from the Criterion Collection (5-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC

 

 

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution Eclipse / Criterion Collection - Region 1 - NTSC
Time: Respectively - 1:35:06, 10:56, 1:12:51, 7 episodes X 51:00, 1:39:24, 1:29:03 and 1:21:06
Bitrate:

Disc 1

Bitrate:

Phantom India - Disc 1

Bitrate:

Phantom India - Disc 2

Bitrate:

Calcutta

Bitrate:

God's Country

Bitrate:

...And The Pursuit of Happiness

Audio French (original mono) and English on last two.
Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Eclipse / Criterion Collection

Aspect Ratio:
All Original Aspect Ratios - 1.33 

Edition Details:

  •  one page (for each film) of liner notes in the transparent case


DVD Release Date: April 24th, 2007

5 Transparent Keep Cases inside a Slipcase cardboard box
Chapters: various

 

Comments:

NOTE: The 6 DVDs (in total) of this boxset are housed in individual slim transparent keep cases (see image above) they are not sold separately at this time. Phantom India is a two-disc set and comes in a thicker transparent keep case. At present these NTSC editions can only be obtained in Criterion's Eclipse Series Two package. These are, more than likely, obtained from the French Gaumont Coffret Louis Malle 3 DVD set HERE with the exact same content. Criterion have transferred into NTSC, added English subtitles and improved the compression by separating the films over 6 discs instead of 3. They are divided as follows:

Disc 1: Vive le tour (1962), Humain, Trop Humain (1974), Place de la République (1974)
Disc 2: Phantom India (1969)
Disc 3: Calcutta (1969)
Disc 4: God's Country (1986)
Disc 5: ...And the Pursuit of Happiness (1986)

Vive le tour (1962) is also available in the Optimum - Region 2- PAL Malle collection Vol. 1 reviewed HERE.

Six of the seven documentaries are pictureboxed transferred (see our full description of 'pictureboxing' in our Kind Hearts and Coronets review) although Phantom India is NOT being tight to the frame edges. Each are coded for Region 1 in the NTSC standard. The transfers are progressive and are all in their original 1.33 aspect ratio.

The audio is in original French mono (English for God's Country and ...And the Pursuit of Happiness) and there are optional English subtitles.

Bitrates are scattered ranging from 5.54 MPS to 8.27 MPS.

Aside from one page liner notes for each film (visible on the inner case sleeve through the transparent case cover) and a 4 page leaflet - Essay "A Whole New Old World" - for Phantom India there are, as anticipated, no supplements.

Image quality varies quite a bit - the disc 1 shorts - Vive le tour (1962), Humain, Trop Humain (1974) and Place de la République (1974) - looking very weak with multiple scratches and speckles. There is no visible restoration. The appearance of the others is better but certainly not at Criterion standard. I do query why Eclipse One - Early Bergman is NOT pictureboxed and 4 of the 6 discs here are. This is a lack of consistency that we don't usually see from a Criterion boxset. I again am hopeful and wonder if they are gravitating away from this practice with all but Phantom India done prior to the policy change.   

The sound is original mono but dialogue is clear and quite audible - I noted a couple of instances of softened pops in the first three features on Disc 1, but overall it is acceptable.

The Eclipse Mission Statement description on the back of the boxset is once again appropriate for this package: "Eclipse is a selection of lost, forgotten, or overshadowed classics in simple, affordable editions. Each series is a brief cinematheque retrospective for the adventurous home viewer." This is exactly what you are getting here with your opportunity to view these documentaries that would be very rare to view anywhere else.. even in a retrospective. You might get lucky and see one or two on television over the course of a decade.

I wasn't particularly in the mood when I watched these documentaries and I viewed them almost consecutively one right after the other (which I don't recommend - you really need time to digest), but I was growing more keen with each feature. In the end I felt very satisfied and although the word 'revelation' might be too strong - it turned from a chore to such an enjoyable experience that I can give a healthy recommendation. Malle is great - I love all the feature films of his that I have seen and now I can include these lesser-known documentaries. My favorites of this collection were Phantom India and ...And The Pursuit of Happiness. Criterion has their professional and detailed work all over this packaging and the DVDs are progressive and competent despite the lack of supplements. The good thing is that the price reflects that and it amounts to a fabulous deal considering the content. With no surprise - we recommend and heighten our expectation for Eclipse 3 - Late Ozu    

Gary W. Tooze




DVD Menus



Slim Transparent Keep Case Cover

 

 

 

Screen Captures

 

Vive le tour (1962), Humain, Trop Humain (1974), Place de la République (1974)
 

 


Slim Transparent Keep Case Cover

 

 

 

Screen Captures

 

Phantom India (1969)
 

 


Slim Transparent Keep Case Cover

 

 

 

Screen Captures

 

Calcutta (1969)
 

 


Slim Transparent Keep Case Cover

 

 

 

Screen Captures

 

God's Country (1986)

 

 


Slim Transparent Keep Case Cover

 

 

 

Screen Captures

 

...And the Pursuit of Happiness (1986)

 

 

 


 

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

 

 

Distribution Eclipse / Criterion Collection - Region 1 - NTSC




 

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