The Puppetmaster (Hou Hsiao-Hsien)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by James Steffen, Sep 28, 2001.

  1. James Steffen

    James Steffen Auditioning

    May 12, 2001
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    Has anyone actually seen the new Winstar DVD of THE PUPPETMASTER yet? I absolutely love Hou Hsiao-Hsien but have been somewhat reluctant to buy the DVD since the specs for it say "full frame."
    To be sure, full frame is not always such a bad thing--it depends on the aspect ratio of the negative (incl. hard matte vs. open matte, for widescreen films), how the image is composed, and whether the transfer itself is cropped or simply open-matte. That's why I want more details before making any judgments or decisions about this DVD. I'd really appreciate any information anyone (including Winstar) has on this particular transfer.
    James Steffen
  2. DonaldB

    DonaldB Supporting Actor

    Mar 30, 2000
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    The aspect ratio is the least of this disc's problems. I too love Hou, and this film in particular, so my hopes for this DVD were understandably high, especially after seeing how decent a transfer Flowers of Shanghai was given.
    This is without a doubt the softest transfer I've seen, something I never thought I'd say after witnessing what was done by Fox Lorber to Yi Yi. And, like Yi Yi, it appears to be another PAL to NTSC transfer, complete with all the shimmer artifacting common with such a transfer. The colors are noticeably off: desaturated with a greenish cast throughout.
    It's hard to tell whether this is an open-matte transfer or whether it's actually cropped. If it is the latter, then not much of importance seems to be missing, but still, there's no excuse for not presenting it as it's supposed to be seen.
    I'm heartbroken over this DVD. Such a wonderful film presented in a fashion that is utterly and without exaggeration unwatchable.

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