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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka '24 - jikan no joji')

directed by Alain Resnais
French 1959

A cornerstone film of the French New Wave, Alain Resnais’ first feature is one of the most influential films of all time. A French actress (Emmanuelle Riva) and a Japanese architect (Eiji Okada) engage in a brief, intense affair in postwar Hiroshima, their consuming fascination impelling them to exorcise their own scarred memories of love and suffering. Utilizing an innovative flashback structure and an Academy Award-nominated® screenplay by novelist Marguerite Duras, Resnais delicately weaves past and present, personal pain and public anguish, in this moody masterwork.

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Theatrical Release: June 10th, 1959 - France

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Comparison:

Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Criterion Collection  Region 'A' - Blu-ray

1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

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Distribution Criterion Collection  Spine # 196 Region 1 - NTSC Criterion Collection - Spine #196 - Region 'A' Blu-ray
Runtime 1:30:06 1:30:29.465
Video 1.31:1.00 Letterboxed WideScreen / anamorphic
Average Bitrate: 7.55 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 45,974,841,402 bytes

Feature: 26,679,595,008 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.98 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) 

LPCM Audio French 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:

1:31:1

Edition Details:

  • New high-definition digital transfer
  • Audio commentary by film historian Peter Cowie
  • Cinepanorama interview with Alain Resnais (1961) (5:42)
  • Audio interview with Alain Resnais (1980) (10:49)
  • Emmanuelle Riva interviewed by François Chalais at Cannes (1959) (5:40) and in 2003 (19:18)
  • Excerpts from Duras’ annotations to the screenplay (8:19)
  • Isolated music and effects track
  • A new essay on the film by Kent Jones
  • A new essay on composer Giovanni Fusco by Russell Lack
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition


DVD Release Date: June 24, 2003
Keep Case
Chapters: 18

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 45,974,841,402 bytes

Feature: 26,679,595,008 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.98 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

• Audio commentary by film historian Peter Cowie
Interviews with director Alain Resnais from 1961 and 1980 (5:43 +10:52)
Interviews with actor Emmanuelle Riva from 1959 and 2003 (5:42 + 19:20)
New interview with film scholar François Thomas, author of L’atelier d’Alain Resnais (26:22)
New interview with music scholar Tim Page about the film’s score (10:12)
Revoir Hiroshima . . . , a 2013 program about the film’s restoration (11:15)
PLUS: An essay by critic Kent Jones and excerpts from a 1959 Cahiers du cinéma roundtable discussion about the film

Blu-ray Release Date: July 14th, 2015
Transparent Keep case

Chapters: 15

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were obtained directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray June 15': The Criterion 1080P is derived from the 2013 restoration looks very different from their old SD from 2003. Less marks and scratches and the high resolution exports a darker image and layered contrast . Overall it can appear like watching a different film. It is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate and the video presentation is still flat and a bit soft (with no minimal depth) but, in-motion, will be notable as being quite different to those who own and/or watched the older SD transfer. The textures are a shade blocky and less consistent than I would have anticipated. There is more information in the frame (generally on all 4 edges.)

The audio is via a linear PCM mono track at 1152 kbps. The score has contributions by Georges Delerue (Jules et Jim, The Woman Next Door, The Last Metro, Day For Night) and Giovanni Fusco (L'Avventura, The Red Desert, L'Eclisse, Il Grido) and subtly portrays the film's shifting moods throughout the feature. It sounds clean and clear. There are optional English subtitles on the region 'A'-locked Blu-ray disc.

Criterion include the 2002 audio commentary by film historian Peter Cowie as found on there original DVD - as well as the dual-interviews with director Alain Resnais from 1961 and 1980 (5:43 +10:52) and actress Emmanuelle Riva from 1959 and 2003 (5:42 + 19:20). We appear to lose the 8-minutes of excerpts from Duras’ annotations to the screenplay and the isolated music and effects track - as found on the Criterion's 2003 SD release. What we do get are some new (2015) interviews. In Memory and Meaning, we hear music scholar Tim Page about the film’s score and contributions of Georges Delerue and Giovanni Fusco to Hiroshima Mon Amour plus a 26-minute interview with film scholar François Thomas, author of L’atelier d’Alain Resnais. Revoir Hiroshima . . . , is a 11-minute 2013 program about the film’s restoration. Argos Films, the Technicolor Foundation, the Groupama Gan Foundation, and the Cineteca di Bologna collaborated on a 4K digital restoration of Hiroshima Mon Amour. The work performed at L'Immagine Ritrovata, the Cineteca's restoration lab, whose director Davide Pozzi, oversaw a delicate process of scanning the original camera negative. In the included program from that year, Pozzi talks about the film's restoration with cinematographer Renato Berta, a special consultant on the project. The package contains a liner notes booklet with an essay by critic Kent Jones and excerpts from a 1959 Cahiers du cinéma roundtable discussion about the film.

Total masterpiece film and a must own!

***

ON THE DVD: What can you say; Criterion does it again. Although there are still some scratches on the archival footage, it has been cleaned up very well. The "film" footage is marvelous with superb contrast and sharpness. The Extras speak for themselves. This is another stellar job by Criterion. Bravo!out of

Gary W. Tooze


Recommended Reading in French Cinema (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

The Films in My Life
by Francois Truffaut, Leonard Mayhew

French Cinema: A Student's Guide
by Philip Powrie, Keith Reader
Agnes Varda by Alison Smith Godard on Godard : Critical Writings by Jean-Luc Godard Notes on the Cinematographer by Robert Bresson Robert Bresson (Cinematheque Ontario Monographs, No. 2)
by James Quandt
The Art of Cinema by Jean Cocteau French New Wave
by Jean Douchet, Robert Bonnono, Cedric Anger, Robert Bononno
French Cinema: From Its Beginnings to the Present
by Remi Fournier Lanzoni
Truffaut: A Biography by Antoine do Baecque and Serge Toubiana

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