International Finnish war movie "The Winter War" (Talvisota,1989) restored in 4K

Jari K

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Just wanted to point out, that one of the finest war movies from Finland, "The Winter War" (Talvisota, IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098437/ ), has been restored to 4K by KAVI (Finnish National Audiovisual Institute). Here's the article about the restoration (sadly only in Finnish, but perhaps you could at least translate it):
http://www.elonet.fi/fi/elokuvat/kava-digitoi/kavin-restaurointi-talvisota-1989-national-filmi-oy

The film has now been released on Blu-ray at least in Germany and Finland. Based on the reports the German Blu-ray is sourced from the new 4K master, BUT the German distributer Pandastrom apparently (?) then did some additional tweaking to the picture. So there are some issues with black levels being too pale etc. Some of the scenes in the original film are a bit dark and some scenes have a "natural light" feel (artistic choice by the DOP, and probably also somewhat related to the tight budget).

However, there are also reports that the Finnish release has also some (disc) mastering issues, again related to color space (it's too pale if you don't choose "RGB 0-255" from the Blu-ray player - which you shouldn't normally have to do). Finnish Blu-ray has Finnish DTS-HD MA 5.1 and PCM stereo, with optional English and Swedish subtitles.

Sorry, this is the best (and quick) info that I have at this point, taken mainly from the Finnish forums. I haven't seen the disc myself yet.
 
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Ernest

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i purchased the Blu-ray it is titled "WINTERKRIEG" it is the director's cut 197 minutes long. The audio is German or Finish in DTS-HD Master with German and English subtitles. Terrific war movie I found the video excellent. This Blu-ray is available form Amazon.de. Winterkrieg.jpg
 

Brent Reid

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Thanks for posting Jari; I didn't know a BD of this brilliant film was out. Sadly though, the longest version is still unavailable in HD. As with Das Boot (1981), there are three distinct versions:
  • Original theatrical cut (125 min) – German BD
  • Director's cut (199 min) – German BD
  • TV miniseries (5 x 51-55/265ish mins) – only on non-anamorphic Finnish DVD, w/no subs
Your partially incorrect notes on DVDCompare need revising too...
 

Jari K

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Terrific war movie I found the video excellent.
Sure, it's a miles better than anything we've seen previously (truth to be told, the old masters on DVD and TV have been pretty s**tty) and it's taken from the new 4K master, but the German disc is said to be too "pale" (meaning, that they brightened the picture somewhat when they mastered the actual disc - the 4K master is not that pale). This info comes from KAVI who handled the restoration and saw the German disc.

The original cinematography had a very natural light approach (as was often the style with the Finnish DOP Kari Sohlberg) and some of the scenes are actually quite dark (especially the ones inside the dugouts etc). There's film grain in the original film. There was also changing weather conditions throughout the shoot (the weather even changes within the scenes). Sohlberg supervised the color correction and the 4K master (which was created from the original 35mm material). It's even in the OAR of 1.66:1, and not in 1.78:1/1.85:1 as often is the case with these remasters.

So U.S. companies, take note. Solid 4K master is waiting in Finland. Contact: https://kavi.fi/en/

:)

Sadly though, the longest version is still unavailable in HD. As with Das Boot (1981), there are three distinct versions:
  • Original theatrical cut (125 min) – German BD
  • Director's cut (199 min) – German BD
  • TV miniseries (5 x 51-55/265ish mins) – only on non-anamorphic Finnish DVD, w/no subs
Yes, there's also a TV miniseries, but I have no idea what has happened to that material (film material, I mean). Sadly, the current master of the TV series is also s**tty. It's possible that they just didn't have the money/time to (also) restore the TV version. Or will. I mean they didn't even bothered to record the interview, let alone an audio commentary, for the BD, even when the original DOP supervised the transfer and probably watched the film a few times. They had a chance to record some history of the film, but chose not to (nothing personal, but the Finnish companies doesn't really care about the extras). The director/co-writer Pekka Parikka died in 1997 and almost legendary sound designer Paul ”Pappa” Jyrälä in 2007. Most of the main actors are still around, though (since they were quite young at the time). Actor Esko Nikkari died in 2006.

The ~199 minute version (4K restoration) is actually the original theatrical version. Shorter version was made for some of the international territories, but it was never released in Finland. This "Director's cut" label is a bit misleading, but I guess it works in German where the shorter version was originally shown (at least I believe it was).

Your partially incorrect notes on DVDCompare need revising too...
It'll be updated when we have confirmed specs. In the near future, that's.
 
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john a hunter

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I know little about this film but form your description ,it looks good.
Was it shot for 1.66 AR. ???
If so ,it seems strange decision even for TV in the 80's, let alone a cinema release.
 

Brent Reid

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Gotta say Jari: your posts above are among the best I've read here lately! Very in-depth and informative – thank you.

In the absence of the entire miniseries in English-subbed HD, I plan to pick up the German BD. I see there's also a Special Edition version with a white case. Do you know the difference; a second disc of extras, perhaps? If so, what are they and are they English-subbed too?
 

Ernest

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There will always be different opinions on the video/audio quality of Blu-ray. I can speak first-hand because I purchased Winterkrieg and found the video/audio excellent.
 

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