S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
(Claude Lanzmann, 1985)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Ministčre de la Culture de la Republique Française
Video: Criterion Collection Spine #663 / Masters of Cinema - Spine #100-104
Region: 'A' / Region 'B' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 2:33:52.765 + 2:00:42.235 + 2:26:59.185 + 2:26:03.588
Runtime: 4:34:11.560 + 4:52:58.769
Disc One Size: 49,224,053,437 bytes / 49,322,687,461 bytes
Disc Two Size: 48,487,483,885 bytes / 49,236,276,819 bytes
Last of the Unjust: 46,461,941,395 bytes / DTS-HD Master 5.1 1755 kbps / 3:39:08.969 / 1.85:1
Video Bitrate: 19.77 Mbps / 18.27 Mbps / 20.49 Mbps / 19.00 Mbps
Chapters: 57+ 29, 21 + 16 / 86 + 37
Case: Standard Blu-ray case/ Custom Thick case
Release date: June 25th, 2013/ January 26th, 2015
Video (both packages):
Aspect ratio: 1.37:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio French 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
LPCM Audio Miscellaneous languages1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
English, English (SDH), none
Extras: (Blu-ray Disc 3 - has optional English subtitles)
• Three additional films by director Claude Lanzmann: A
Visitor from the Living (1999, 1:08:03); Sobibór,
October 14, 1943, 4 p.m. (2001, 1:42:12); and The
Karski Report (2010, 48:43)
• 4 Blu-rays of the five films, which total 1006 minutes in length
• Four additional films by director Claude Lanzmann
with optional English subtitles: On disc 3: A
Visitor from the Living (1999, 1:08:03); Sobibór,
October 14, 1943, 4 p.m. (2001, 1:42:10); The
Karski Report (2010, 48:42) and on disc 4; Last of
the Unjust (3:39:08)
Criterion PartOne TOP vs. Criterion Part Two BOTTOM
Masters of Cinema Disc One TOP vs. Masters of Cinema Disc Two BOTTOM
The Last of the Unjust
Description: Over a decade in the making, Claude Lanzmann’s nine-hour-plus opus is a monumental investigation of the unthinkable: the murder of more than six million Jews by the Nazis. Using no archival footage, Lanzmann instead focuses on first-person testimonies (of survivors and former Nazis, as well as other witnesses), employing a circular, free-associative method in assembling them. The intellectual yet emotionally overwhelming Shoah is not a film about excavating the past but an intensive portrait of the ways in which the past is always present, and it is inarguably one of the most important cinematic works of all time.
The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present – for the
first time on Blu-ray in the UK – Claude Lanzmann's landmark
documentary about the Holocaust, Shoah, alongside the
four films he made through 2013 on the subject.
Claude Lanzmann's landmark documentary about the Holocaust, Shoah, features alongside the four films he made through 2013 on the subject. Lanzmann spent twelve years spanning the globe for surviving camp inmates, SS commandants, and eyewitnesses of the Final Solution;. Without dramatic re-enactment or archival footage but with extraordinary testimonies Shoah renders the step-by-step machinery of extermination, and through haunted landscapes and human voices, makes the past come brilliantly alive. Also featuring the films A VISITOR FROM THE LIVING, SOBIBÓR OCTOBER 14 1943 4PM, THE KARSKI REPORT and THE LAST OF THE UNJUST.
Claude Lanzmann's extraordinary nine-and-a-half-hour documentary (1985) is constructed as a series of approaches--through language, memory, and landscape--to a subject that can't be depicted: the Holocaust. Speaking with witnesses to the events, interpreting the apparent trivia of German train schedules, or (most powerfully) allowing his camera to roam the now-peaceful fields and forests of Poland where the exterminations took place, Lanzmann does not build his film chronologically but through patterns of repeated images. There is no historical footage in the film; the past emerges wholly through the present. In searching for the most vivid possible presentation of his subject, Lanzmann has been led to reinvent many of the principles of modernist and structuralist filmmaking, which here acquire a new kind of nonacademic urgency and justness. More than a treatment of a great subject, the film itself is a great achievement in form. In French with subtitles.
Capsule of Dave Kehr's review at the Chicago Reader found HERE
“Making a history was not what I wanted to do. I wanted to construct
something more powerful than that” – Claude Lanzmann
The enormity of Claude Lanzmann’s mission and the devastating nature of his subject matter have tended to overshadow Shoah’s greatness as documentary filmmaking. Not simply the most ambitious movie ever made about the extermination of the Jews, Shoah is a work that treats the issue of representation so scrupulously it might have been inspired by the Old Testament injunction against graven images—it’s a movie you watch in your mind's eye.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The restoration of Shoah looks much improved on Blu-ray from Criterion. The previous DVDs (New Yorker and MoC) looks very flat and green in comparisons. This is housed on two dual-layered disc with a reasonable bitrate and textured grain is highly pleasing. Colors lean to appearing more realistic and there are instances of depth. It also seems that there is significantly more information (notably on the right edge) in the, original, 1.37:1 frame via this HD rendering. This Blu-ray is clean and has no discernable flaws - it supplies a vastly improved presentation via the restoration and 1080P transfer.
The new Masters of Cinema 1080P differs from the Criterion. Colors are richer, skin tones warmer and the greenish overhang is gone. It even shows a bit more grain. It looks great in-motion and is a superior image to their US counterpart.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
More Blu-ray Captures
Clean audio in an an authentic linear PCM 1.0 channel mono track in original French (with English, German, Hebrew, Polish and Yiddish) at 1152 kbps. There are optional English or English (SDH) subtitles and my Oppo has identified this Blu-ray as being a region 'A' -locked.
Same liner PCM mono audio as on the Criterion. In brief testing my ears could not distinguish a difference. The Masters of Cinema also has optional English or English (SDH) subtitles, but the UK Blu-ray disc is region 'B'-locked.
All the supplements are located on a third dual-layered Blu-ray disc. Criterion have included three additional films by director Claude Lanzmann. A Visitor from the Living is made from footage originally shot for Shoah. It looks at Theresienstadt, a town 50 miles outside of Prague that was chosen by the Nazis as a "model" ghetto. In it, Lanzmann interviews Maurive Rossel, a Red Cross delegate who was sent to survey conditions in the ghetto in June 1944. It ruins 1 hour 8-minutes and was made in 1999. While making Shoah, Claude Lanzmann interviewed Yehuda Lerner, who had taken part in the uprising at the Sobibor concentration camp in 1943. Ultimately, Lanzmann decided that the story needed to be a film in its own right, so he used the footage to create this 2002 1 3/4 hour documentary entitled Sobibór, October 14, 1943, 4 p.m. In it Lerner describes the fateful events of that day and his personal story of survival. The Karski Report has a Polish underground member (Jan Karski - as seen in Shoah) communicating the dire situation in the Warsaw ghetto. In this 2010 49-minute film (The Karski Report) Lanzmann presents additional footage of Karski, who goes into greater detail about his missions and the world leaders he met with - President Roosevelt among them - in hopes of saving the many Jews trapped in the ghetto. We also get a new 1-hour conversation between Lanzmann and critic Serge Toubiana director of the Cinematheque Francaise. They sat down together in January 2013 to discuss his epic work. There is a second interview with Lanzmann - this one from 2003 about A Visitor from the Living and Sobibór with writer Helene Frappat. It runs 14-minutes. There is a new, 2013, 1/2 hour interview with Caroline Champetier, assistant camera person on Shoah (and who supervised the color timing on this restoration), and filmmaker Arnaud Desplechin who has written about the films of Claude Lanzmann. There is also a liner notes booklet featuring an essay by critic Kent Jones and writings by Lanzmann.
We lose the 1.5 hours worth of interview extras on the Criterion, but keep the three Lanzmann films (also in the Criterion); A Visitor from the Living , Sobibór, October 14, 1943, 4PM  and The Karski Report  all on a separate Blu-ray disc. Masters of Cinema additionally include the monumental 3 1/2 hour The Last of the Unjust  on its ownBlu-ray (a 4th in the package). It moves between 1975 and 2012, detailing Lanzmann's mid-'70s Rome interviews with Benjamin Murmelstein, the last President of the Jewish Council in the Theresienstadt ghetto, and the filmmaker's own return to the location 37 years later — providing an unprecedented insight into the genesis of the "Final Solution". Masters of Cinema also add a 300-page liner notes book containing writing on all of the films.
Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Disc 3
Both Blu-rays have:
But only Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray has:
Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Masters of Cinema have advanced upon the Criterion with an incredible package offering different, richer, video, and go further in terms of supplements. Truly the definitive package of this draining film experience. Our strongest recommendation!
June 10th, 2013
January 20th, 2015
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
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