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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "La Chinoise, ou plutôt à la chinoise: Un film en train de se faire" or "Kinesiskan")

 

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

France 1967

Perhaps Godard's most political film, "La Chinoise" is also Godard at his most primitive in terms of filmmaking and his most extreme in terms of mise-en-scene. On one side Godard openly displays his views on America and their imperialism by a very aggressive and beautiful mise-en-scene, but on the other side his approach towards Maoism and Communism borders the naïve, here voiced thru the students and their discussions, as it portraits a group of young students of Sorbonne, who spend their summer vacation discussing ideology and end it all with assassinating a Russian cultural attaché, before returning to school. It is thus interesting, that Godard not only composes a sequence, where Francis Jeanson talks about radicalism while riding in a train, but also ends the narrative with the heroine saying,

"When the summer was over, for me and many of my comrades, the classes began again and so the fight. But on the other hand, I deceived myself. I believed that I made a big progress, but I realized, and had to admit, that it was only the first small step toward a very long march."

both removing himself from the films ideology, and noting towards his future films and ideology.

Today “La Chinoise” is difficult to approach, mainly because its so primitive and extreme, and as such appears very aged, but also because Godard attacks any narrative structure (the film has neither beginning nor end) and instead creates a symbolic and dialectic structure, but also because it feels like a relic of its time. As a film, its more related to “2 ou 3 choses que je sais d'elle” than his next film, “Week-End”.

Henrik Sylow

Posters

Theatrical Release: August 30, 1967

Reviews                                                                    More Reviews                                                             DVD Reviews

 

Comparison: 

Optimum - Region 2 - PAL vs. Koch/Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Henrik Sylow for the PAL DVD captures!

1) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT

2) Koch/Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Cover

 

   

 

 

Also available from Gaumont in a Region FREE Blu-ray with English subtitles and the same interviews, but not the commentary:

 

Distribution

Optimum

Region 2 - PAL

Koch/Lorber

Region 0 - NTSC

Kino Lorber
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:32:13 (4% PAL speedup) 1:36:03 1:36:30.743 
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.60 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.87 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,973,211,533 bytes

Feature: 29,786,904,576 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate :

PAL

Bitrate:

NTSC

Bitrate:

Blu-ray

Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital French 2.0 Dolby Digital French

DTS-HD Master Audio French 1942 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1942 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1876 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1876 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

Subtitles English, None English, None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Optimum

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Introduction by Colin McCabe (7:35)
• Godard Trailer show

DVD Release Date: May 16, 2005
Keep Case

Chapters 8

Release Information:
Studio: Optimum

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Introduction by Colin McCabe (7:35)

• Godard Editing table Interview (French with Eng subs) - 2:41

• Venice Film Festival Press (French with Eng subs) Conference - 1:58
• Interview with Anne Wiazemsky (French with Eng subs) - 7:19

• La Gai Savour trailer - 2:12

DVD Release Date: May 13th, 2008
Keep Case

Chapters 14

Release Information:
Studio:
Kino

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,973,211,533 bytes

Feature: 29,786,904,576 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps


Edition Details:

• Audio commentary by film historian James Quandt
• Trailer (2:20)
• Interviews with actor Michel Semeniako (38:28), Asssistant director Charles Bitsch(19:49)

• 2nd assistant director Jean-Claude Sussfeld (17:39)
• Interview with writer Denitza Bentcheve (18:54)
• Interview with Historian Antoine de Baqccque (30:34)
• Film Socialism trailer (1:17)
• Goodbye to Language Trailer (1:27)
• Booklet essays by Richard Hell and Amy Taubin

 

Standard Blu-ray case

Blu-ray Release Date: October 17th, 2017

Chapters:
9

 

 

Comments

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

ADDITION: Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray October 17': Kino's new Blu-ray transfer tarts with the Gaumont logo and shows richer, deeper colors (the film's dominant reds) than the older DVDs, has more information in the frame - on all four sides - and looks beautiful in-motion. The new Kino 1080P is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate and contrast is superior to the SDs and there is depth. This looks very strong.

NOTE: It is still missing the final title card that Peter mentioned 9-years ago, so it is no longer available on this source print.

The audio, which has Pierre Degeyter 's International (on the radio) and Claudes Channes performing Mao Mao is transferred in a DTS-HD Master (24-bit) 2.0 channel - is exceptionally clean and clear with scattering and effects coming through as intended. There are optional English subtitles on the Region 'A'-locked Blu-ray disc.

Kino include an audio commentary by film historian James Quandt who is the Senior Programmer at TIFF Cinematheque, Toronto. It is professional and discusses themes, Godard and much more. Very worthwhile listening. There are over 2-hours worth of interviews with actor Michel Semeniako, assistant director Charles Bitsch, 2nd assistant director Jean-Claude Sussfeld, writer Denitza Bentcheve and, lastly, historian Antoine de Baqccque for 1/2 hour. These are an excellent addition and with the commentary vault this release to a must-own. There are trailers for La Chinoise, Film Socialism and Goodbye to Language. The package has a liner notes booklet with essays by Richard Hell and Amy Taubin.

One of the better releases of the entire year - essential for Godard fans and extremely valuable for world cinephiles. An amazing, stacked, Blu-ray package. Don't hesitate. 

***

NOTE: Koch Lorber's response about the issue of the missing intertitle in La chinoise...
"We have in fact had several inquiries about this missing title card at the every end of the film. While it evidently was included in the original theatrical of La Chinoise, no master since has included it. Evidently the controlling estate removed it from all subsequent master materials and we believe this was a creative choice not in our control." (Thanks kindly to Ronald for sending us this!)

ADDITION: Koch/Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - May 08': The Koch / Lorber DVD is single-layered and interlaced (see combing sample below). It also appears to be missing the final intertitle (see Peter's comments below). So where the PAL Optimum eclipses in image quality (colors too seem more vibrant), the Koch Lorber has some decent extra features. Both have optional English subtitles although the Koch are gaudy yellow.

Both disc share the same 7.5 minute introduction by Colin McCabe, but the Koch/Lorber has more. There is a short (less than 3 minute) Godard Editing Table Interview (in French with Eng subs - as are all the rest of the Koch supplements). An even shorter Venice Film Festival Press Conference and finally a 7 minute interview with lead actress Anne Wiazemsky, who was also married to Godard for 12 years.

For die-hard fans of Godard the inclusion of the shortish supplements may be incentive enough to get the Koch (or even double dip), but the Optimum has the superior image if you are viewing on anything higher than a CRT. 

 - Gary Tooze

***

NOTE: FROM PETER HENNE: "You may want to alert readers of dvdbeaver.com that Optimum's DVD of Godard's "La Chinoise," already reviewed on your website, is missing an intertitle at the very end. After the final shot, there should be an intertitle which reads in capital letters FIN D'UN COMMENCEMENT. Translated that is "End of a beginning." It's simply not there on the DVD! I've checked three times.

For confirmation of this intertitle and where it occurs in the film, you may wish to consult James Roy MacBean, "Film and Revolution," Indiana University Press, 1975, p. 27, also James Monaco, "The New Wave: Truffaut, Godard, Chabrol, Rohmer, Rivette," Oxford University Press, 1976, p. 196. Both authors explicitly cite this intertitle as the closure to the film. Obviously, the film has different meanings without it, not to mention altering the context for the two features directed by Godard immediately following, "Weekend" and "Le Gai Savoir," which also close on intertitles. The DVD of "La Chinoise" is otherwise good but this absence is puzzling. You can hear the closing music over a blank, black screen, during the time that the intertitle should appear. The absence thus seems more like a removal--if the final seconds of the source print were simply lost, how could you still have the soundtrack?

When I saw the film projected in 1988, at the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles, this intertitle was present." (Thanks Peter!)

***

The image is to begin with grainy, but it also displays compression artifacts like edge enhancements, colour banding and grouping of pixels.

Sadly only a brief introduction to the film by Colin McCabe, author of "Godard: A Portrait of the Artist at 70" is as extra. This is perhaps Godard's most political film from his first period, thus an audio commentary or a lengthy discussion of the film should have been added.

 - Henrik Sylow


Menus

(Optimum - Region 2 - PAL LEFT vs. Koch/Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC RIGHT)
 

 
 
 

 

 

Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

Combing Sample from Koch/Lorber DVD

 


Subtitle sample (English only)
PAL Captures in 768 px native resolution
/ NTSC in 720

1) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Koch/Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Koch/Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Koch/Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Koch/Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Koch/Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Koch/Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures


Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras:

Blu-ray

 

Box Cover

 

   

 

 

Also available from Gaumont in a Region FREE Blu-ray with English subtitles and the same interviews, but not the commentary:

 

Distribution

Optimum

Region 2 - PAL

Koch/Lorber

Region 0 - NTSC

Kino Lorber
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray




 

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Gary Tooze

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