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Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dome Vongvises, Jan 16, 2003.
I hear it every now and then, but are there filmmakers/academics that still haven't embraced DVD?
Yes, I would definately cast a vote for Woody Allen. He seems completely uninterested in the DVDs being produced of his films. But I think we should all understand that not all filmmakers feel the same way about home video. I think there are two points here to consider:
1) Some directors don't feel the need or desire to "revisit" their films. Once they are done with something, they move on. Sure, they can look back and appreciate what they've done, but have no reason to put much effort into something from the past when they have projects they are currently working on and preparing ones for the future.
2) I also think that some directors don't feel much affinity for the home video format (creatively, not financially). They make films for the cinema, for the big screen. And once their run is over, it's time to move on.
I don't know for sure where Woody Allen fits in here, but I would say probably to some degree both points. He is 68 years old this year. He's old school, in other words. Home video didn't take off until the early 80's, just 20-some years ago, and by then he was well into his film career (I believe "What's Up Tiger Lily" was his first film, which was 1966).
So, sadly, I can understand how some filmmakers have little to no interest in their past work being released on DVD.
Also, I remember seeing a Mark Cousins documentary with Allen, discussing some of his best scenes, and Allen really doesn't seem comfortable with watching his own films once he is 'finished' with them generally. I certainly couldn't imagine him sitting down to record a commentary track.
Allen, like most of the other directors accused of disliking DVD, seems to be of the opinion that if you need a commentary telling you about the scene, then they have failed - the film should speak for itself.
I've heard this from somewhere else, but it seems to be true: David Lynch hasn't necessarily embraced it either. A look at most of his DVD's (well, Blue Velvet being the lone exception) don't have chapter stops, and they're mostly barebones.
To say they dislike it is perhaps somewhat of a groundless comment to make in just assuming this because their films on DVD have little to no extras and so on. Lynch and his want of no chapter stops I find an almost inspired idea to be honest.
It has to be respected that in many cases, a filmmaker likes their work to speak for itself and they are within their right to provide as little or as much additional content as they please.
There's no denying we'd love to get more personal with such noted filmmakers as mentioned in posts above, but we actually can, just not through the DVD medium but the print medium with books, articles and so on. Much the same for Kubrick too, some wonderful books out there about his works.
I think they do very much embrace DVD in the sense that they are happy to know a quality version of their film, in it's intended ratio can be out there for the public to own. This fact was certainly of interest to Kubrick in his later years.
I buy DVDs for the film. If there's bonus stuff on there, fine, though when there is it is rarely of much substance. EPKs and uninformative commentaries fuel more releases than ever before and I am just not interested in many of the bonus materials these days.
However much many buyers may dislike the idea, filmmakers are within their right to not provide any supplemental material whatsoever and just let their individual works speak for themselves. It's a brave move to be sure, and one I admire and take rather kindly to.
Well, if Woody Allen saw some of the shoddy tranfers his films have recieved on DVD maybe he would be more concerned about the home video end of things. I keep expecting someday they will anounce a newly-remastered boxset of all his films, ala the Stanley Kubrick Collection, but I don't think it'll ever happen. His films don't sell that well to warrant it, but you never know.
I agree that a DVD not having any extras doesn't mean that the filmmaker doesn't have an interest in DVD, but you'd think they would want to make sure that at least the quality of the film and sound transfer is good.
Good question, Dome.
I have no idea as to Allen’s take on DVD, but I would observe that a some directors will not participate in commentaries simply because they prefer to let their films speak for themselves.
And this has always been the case, as some have been reluctant to be interviewed or to write much about their films.
I have read that Lynch has said that his films are not books and should not have chapters. I’m paraphrasing, but if I understand, he wants them to be seen as one continuous whole and is not enamored of our being able to jump directly into a point of the film that we like or to skip those parts we don’t like.
As for the academics, I would have thought that most of them have embraced DVDs. They are great tools for teaching professionals and valuable, easy to use reference materials for film historians and for those doing research. There may be those who are anti-DVD, but I’ve not read about them. Of course this does not mean that there are none, just that I’ve not heard about them.
The most academic critic with whom I’m familiar (and who famously does not have a PhD), Jonathan Rosenbaum, has even acceded to the DVD tidal wave.
Not to take us off topic, but which transfers are you talking about Zane? I have quite a few of his films on DVD and never found the transfers lacking. Extras, yes, but not transfers.
Dan Brecher said:
David Lynch can do as he please, and I certainly respect his opinion to do so, but I call his logic into question.
As I understand it, he doesn't want chapter stops in his DVD's because he feels film and literary works should be seperate. That reasoning may sound correct, but he has an obvious misconception of chapter stops. Chapter stops, titled or not (which may be the stem of David Lynch's problem with the DVD's) are matters of convenience for people. Things happen, and you may have to leave in the middle of the night. It wouldn't make any sense to have to fast foward all the way through just to get back to a stop. I can't think of how many times I'll be settled in to watch a DVD, and then have dear mom and dad make me run errands outside of the house in the middle of the night.
There are certain people (many of them academics) who can never be happy with something if too many people like it.
RE: the AFI situation...
I don't disagree with him. I review films and try to avoid screeners for the simple fact that watching something in the theater versus at home can be a profoundly different experience. If I'm to make a judgement on a film other people will be seeing in the theater, I feel it is important to see what they are seeing, if you follow. I can't imagine trying to formulate a list based off of watching DVDs and videotapes. Not that they aren't useful--I've received a couple in the course of this awards season--but I don't think it's fair to the filmmakers to determine the year's best films by seeing them on home video.
Seeing something on the big screen is always ideal, but let's face it, it isn't very practical, especially for academics or scholars.
Mark Pfeiffer said:
Dome, I think it's a matter of scope and a matter of your surroundings. Seeing a film projected on a huge screen with no external distractions (outside noise, the telephone, etc.) versus watching it on a 27" television with all sorts of distractions at hand is, in my mind, a big difference.
Most of the time--but not all, in my experience--screener tapes or DVDs are in the proper aspect ratio, so that's not really the issue. I'll provide a couple of examples. I've seen 2001: A Space Odyssey and Patton in 70mm projection. Watching these on home video are not remotely comparable experiences. The theatrical presentation is far superior, not just because of equipment but because of the interaction with the crowd and the sheer enormity of the image. Seeing Beauty and the Beast at an IMAX theater is a much different experience than watching it at home. So I guess to a certain extent it is the size, although I feel the same way even if the film isn't large format. There are so many more details to notice that I can't see on home video.
Films were made to be seen in theaters, not at home. I realize everyone can't see everything theatrically, and I don't begrudge anyone watching DVDs. I was just trying to shed some light as to why this person might not wish to determine the best films by watching a bunch of DVD screeners. (We could get into the supposed difference in the way the brain processes film versus video, but I don't have any links readily available and don't recall enough specifics to make it worthwhile.) While people in general may not be able to articulate specifically the difference between watching in the theater versus watching at home, they do often acknowledge a difference. I've read on here more than a few times that some people don't go to the theaters often but make a point to see the spectacle films (epics, films with lots of special effects, etc.) at the multiplex.
To be honest, I think you'll be hardpressed to find many people who don't embrace DVD or home video. We have the opportunity to study movies more conveniently and more economically than if it didn't exist. Generally speaking, if I want to check out any film, chances are I can go to the library or a store and pick it up to watch at home. Compare this with pre-home video, when I suspect it was a matter of contacting companies that rented prints and going through all of the trouble that entailed. Home video has made a broader range of films available to more people. It doesn't, however, replace the theatrical experience.
I know that probably isn't comprehensive, but I hope I've explained myself somewhat better.
Well, I think Annie Hall could certainly use a new transfer.
Maybe I was a bit hasty in describing Woody Allen's films on DVD as shoddy (after looking at a few of them again). I just wish they would remaster the entire collection of films. I think a director of his status would merit it.
Not embracing DVD and not having special features on a DVD are two very different things. For example, David Lynch and Michael Mann are two very strong proponents of DVD because of its quality and aspect ratio, but they do not wish to put extras on their discs, as they feel, rightly so, that their films speak for themselves. I have absolutely no problem with that. Give me a good transfer of the film in its OAR (anamorphic if applicable) and the original sound format, and I'm happy.