S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
A Hollis Frampton Odyssey [Blu-ray]
(24 films, dating from 1966 - 1979)
Review by Gary Tooze
Video: Criterion Collection, Spine # 607
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 49,633,252,999 bytes
Total Feature Size: 44,976,224,256 bytes
Video Bitrate: 18.99 Mbps
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: April 24th, 2012
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
• Audio commentary and remarks by filmmaker Hollis Frampton
on selected works
Description: An icon of the American avant-garde, Hollis Frampton made rigorous, audacious, brainy, and downright thrilling films, leaving behind a body of work that remains unparalleled. In the 1960s, having already been a poet and a photographer, Frampton became fascinated with the possibilities of 16 mm filmmaking. In such radically playful and visually and sonically arresting works as Surface Tension, Zorns Lemma, (nostalgia), Critical Mass, and the enormous, unfinished Magellan cycle (cut short by his death at age forty-eight), Frampton repurposes cinema itself, making it into something by turns literary, mathematical, sculptural, and simply beautiful—and always captivating. This collection of works by the essential artist—the first release of its kind—includes twenty-four films, dating from 1966 to 1979.
Hollis Frampton is known for the broad and restless intelligence he brought to the films he made, beginning in the early '60s, until his death in 1984. In addition to being an important experimental filmmaker, he was also an accomplished photographer and writer, and in the 1970s made significant contributions to the emerging field of computer science. He is considered one of the pioneers of what has come to be termed structuralism, an influential style of experimental filmmaking that uses the basic elements of cinematic language to create works that investigate film form at the expense of traditional narrative content. Along with Michael Snow and Stan Brakhage, he is one of the major figures to emerge from the New York avant-garde film community of the 1960.Excerpt fromHollisFrampton.org located HERE
As Frampton's photography moved toward exploring ideas of series and
sets, it was natural that he begin filmmaking. He based a lot of his
early films on concepts, which he applied clearly and cleverly. All of
his very early works were either discarded or lost. His earliest
surviving work was Information (1966). His early works were
reasonably simple in construction. A few of them including Maxwell's
Demon, Surface Tension, and Prince Rupert's Drops were
based on concepts from science, a subject he was well read on. As he got
on, his films gradually increased in complexity.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
A Hollis Frampton Odyssey is an incredible anthology package on Blu-ray from the Criterion Collection. The image reflects the production limitation but beyond that it still looks better than I would have anticipated. The quality, on the dual-layered Blu-ray disc, varies dependant on the condition of the sources. We have almost 4.5 hours of material here (specific shorts - Zorns Lemma is actually an hour - are listed below) but it fairly consistent showing grit and grain. There are, of course, scratches and marks - more, usually prevalent at the titles sequences and beginnings of the works. The brightness of colors makes gives the impression of a more recent production. Overall these are immensely watchable and the 1080P resolution brings out the texture and thickness.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Many of the shorts are silent but about half have sound and they are rendered in a linear PCM mono track at 1152 kbps. This, again, belies the weaker production roots - but is very acceptable - all things considered. There are no dramatic flaws that I could ascertain. There are no subtitles.My Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked like all Criterion Blu-rays to date.
Selected works offer an audio commentary and remarks by filmmaker Hollis Frampton. There is an excerpted interview with Frampton from 1978 running just over 20-minutes. He seems like an incredibly cool guy. We also get 'A Lecture'; a performance piece by Frampton, recorded in 1968 with the voice of artist Michael Snow at Hunter's College. It runs about 23-minutes in 1080P. There is a gallery of works from Frampton’s xerographic series By Any Other Name, plus the package contains a booklet featuring an introduction by film critic Ed Halter; essays and capsules on the films by Frampton scholars Bruce Jenkins, Ken Eisenstein, and Michael Zryd; and a piece by film preservationist Bill Brand.
NOTE: Just an observation. With all the works included this is a complexly authored disc - it may take longer to load on your Blu-ray player than previous ones. Mine was a little clunky, but that may also mean I require a firmware update. Just say'in.
April 19th, 2012
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
ALL OUR NEW FORMAT DVD REVIEWS