Lumière!

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urbanora

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Lumière!

PostThu Nov 19, 2015 3:43 pm

I don't know if it has not recorded here or not, but two major Lumière resources are now available.

Firstly there's the 2-disc DVD (and Blu-Ray) set Lumière!, which presents Lumière 114 titles 1895-1905, derived from the recent 4K digital restorations. The results look superb, a revelation whether you are familiar with Lumière films or a newcomer. It's all in French, and only available from French sources so far as I know. See http://www.amazon.fr/LUMIERE-%C3%89dition-Prestige/dp/B00SVF133E (DVD = PAL , Region2; Blu-Ray = Region B/2)

Secondly, there's Catalogue Lumière, which is a complete listing of all Lumière titles, taken from the 1996 publication, La production cinématographique des Frères Lumière, edited by Michelle Aubert and Jean-Claude Seguin. It has a still for every film, and extensive hyperlinking makes it eminently browsable. The main catalogue is in French, but there are explanatory texts in English. And you can download the dataset too. See https://catalogue-lumiere.com/

I have reviewed the DVD set here: http://lukemckernan.com/2015/11/15/lumiere-forever/

I wax lyrical about the catalogue here: http://lukemckernan.com/2015/11/18/lumiere-encore/


Luke
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boblipton

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Re: Lumière!

PostThu Nov 19, 2015 3:54 pm

Good news, Luke. For those who do not have the money, ll the full Lumiere catalogue is available on Youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... 17754FBB19" target="_blank

Although because they are in a dozen compilations, it may be difficult to find the individual actuality.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Thu Nov 19, 2015 4:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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urbanora

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Re: Lumière!

PostThu Nov 19, 2015 4:00 pm

The new restoration and the YouTube videos (ripped from wherever) do not bear comparison. The promo videos gives an idea of the quality.

https://youtu.be/U4s4sS40G9s

Last edited by silentfilm on Thu Dec 03, 2015 12:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Embedded YouTube link
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boblipton

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Re: Lumière!

PostThu Nov 19, 2015 7:08 pm

Sans doute, Luke and I will enjoy looking at the dvds when they arrive.

My take on the Lumieres is a little different from yours. I find their better works accessible for a purely cinematic reason. While their contemporaries offered their audiences postcards in extended time, the Lumieres made the leap from still photography to motion pictures by understanding that it is motion that draws the eye, and set up their better actualities with competing lines of motion, Each frame is a little buffet with something else to draw the viewer's eye. Melies saw the possibility for magic; Edison's people never got that far with the execrable James White, the worst of the lot, purporting to show us views of something, be it a parade or the scenery around a railroad, and cheating, showing us the back of peoples' hats or the rails themselves. Feh.

More than that, the Lumieres were venturesome, as you noted, and audacious. When they showed you a lion from the London zoo, you believe they sent their cameramen across the Channel, even thought there was probably a perfectly fine lion closer to hand. They respected their audience and even let them in on the jokes. Here's my review of Londres, Entrée du cinématographe :

"Lumiere Cinematographe" reads the sign on the theater; "Every Evening". Gentlemen exit the theater and walk away. To an old artist, this is a fine example of trompe l'oeil. To a modern, it is perhaps the equivalent of an Andy Warhol self-portrait. To the Lumieres' audience it is a boast and audacious joke: we're Lumiere and we'll be here every night. Drop in and see us. Wear a tall silk hat.

To the modern viewer, the interest is in the details of the street scene: the tall silk hats, the horse-drawn wagons rolling by. There are no unaccompanied women and the men stroll, pleased with the show they have just seen and confident of their place in the world. Who knows what show tomorrow will bring?


I think the opportunity to see more than a hundred of these pieces in great prints is not one to pass up. However, there are more than 1300 Lumieres not on these disks. We should see them all and if the Youtube prints are not as good, they are easily available.

Bob
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bigshot

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Re: Lumière!

PostFri Nov 20, 2015 1:56 pm

Ordered the blu-ray set. Can't wait to see it. Along with the Gaumont, the Melies and the Edison sets, it is amazing how so much history is at our fingertips now.
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Brent

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Re: Lumière!

PostFri Nov 20, 2015 8:47 pm

David Robinson (he of Chaplin fame) recently wrote a fascinating article about the brothers and the Paris "Lumière ! Le cinéma inventé" centenary exhibition, of which these DVD/BD and book releases are a part:
http://www.brentonfilm.com/articles/major-exhibition-casts-new-light-on-the-lumieres
Brenton Film: The past, present and future of silent film
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martin arias

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Re: Lumière!

PostSun Nov 29, 2015 6:24 am

I just got my copy.

Restoration on the 114 films is outstanding. Most of them look like filmed yesterday. It's really amazing. The only regret is it's very short. Yes, there are 114 films, but with each lasting 50 seconds, it makes barely more than an hour. The selection is beautiful, narration and music are wonderful, and it's day and night in visual quality compared with any previous issue of these materials. But it consists still of just 114 out of the more than 1400 existing Lumiere films. Compared with the Edison, Gaumont and Melies DVD box sets, it's far from generous. You are left with a strong desire to watch more, more so when half of the films selected here (albeit in lesser image quality, of course) have been widely seen in a variety of collections, such as the 1968 old Marc Allegret compilation. Considering that the BFI devoted four DVDs to the works of Mitchell and Kenyon alone, the pioneers of cinema should have deserved at least a selection of 500 films or so. For instance, half of the films on the Allegret compilation are not here, and also many many more Lumiere films (365) circulate on the internet on short television versions prepared in 1995. Why not making a more comprehensive set after so many years? So this set leaves you with a 1 hour or so DVD plus another "bonus" DVD which contains merely fill-ups, old and new documentaries which do not add one single extra film and, while not entirely dull, certainly are not what you were looking for when buying this set. The Lumiere official site states that from the 1405 restored film by the Lumiere Brothers, 1040 have NEVER been shown or issued in any form after their initial première. So, again, if these films HAVE BEEN restored, why not making a truly comprehensive set?

The other odd fact is that the whole set (and by that I mean not just the audio track but also the booklet) are just in French, only in French, and in nothing else than French. I should tell the producers, with all due respect, that French is not anymore a universal language as it was in the 19th century. So a recording of the audio commentary in English and a translation of the booklet would have been useful. And, by the way, it did not affect me personally, as I do understand French.

So, above all, it's a wonderful collection taking into account the first DVD, which could nevertheless have been much better. I hope a more ambitious project regarding the Lumiere materials is being planned, for the films themselves are amazing from many points of view, not just historically but also aesthetically.
Last edited by martin arias on Sun Nov 29, 2015 4:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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bigshot

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Re: Lumière!

PostSun Nov 29, 2015 2:46 pm

I watched this last night too... What a spectacular job of restoration! Some of these films look like they could have been shot yesterday. They really take advantage of high definition with incredible sharpness and almost three dimensional grayscale at times. I was really struck by how fantastic the composition of the setups was, and how in the brief amount of time, there were contrasts in action and layers of near/far elements to give the composition depth. These films are utterly amazing projected on a big screen.

The disk itself was well encoded, with menus and commentary only in French. The music was the only disappointment... they used needle drop Saint-Saens that fit the general mood fine, but overlapped the beginnings and endings of the films and never really synced up to anything. The music made the viewing pleasant enough, but it added absolutely nothing to the films themselves. Perhaps if Flicker Alley licenses this, they will add a proper soundtrack.
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Silentvalerio

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Re: Lumière!

PostSun Nov 29, 2015 6:08 pm

https://silentvalerio1927.wordpress.com/2015/11/14/lumiere-le-cinematographe-1895-1905/

My article about the exhibition held in Paris, the restoration and a review of the BluRay containing the complete list of titles.
Valerio
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Zepfanman

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Re: Lumière!

PostFri Dec 01, 2017 9:54 am

Thank you for the reviews!

There have been a lot of 2K and 4K restorations in the past five years released to Blu-ray. The quality of these releases is often breathtaking and breathes new life into so many older films that we've generally only been able to see on 480p or worse.

The Flicker Alley Trip to the Moon Blu-ray is the only other HD set I've seen of pre-1903 material. Are there any other high-quality sets that have been released?

- J. J.

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