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To dvd or not to dvd?
Movies go digital, it's a fact. From
Bergman to Kurosawa, from Antonioni to Fassbinder, whole oeuvres are
opened up to us on dvd. We no longer have to wait for a retrospective
in a filmtheatre, we can watch Yojimbo and Katzelmacher in
our homes, in front of our dvd sets, treated to perfect images and
perfect sound. Lots of movies from all over the world that were not
or that were very hard to see before, are suddenly available on dvd.
Critics take it serious. Next to their movie columns they have their
dvd columns. Not only in specialised magazines, but also in daily newspapers.
But what if Samuel Fuller's 35mm masterpiece The Big Red One comes
to us in a digitally blurred version, as Chicago critic Gabe Klinger
argues. Should we be happy seeing Singin' in the Rain in
a brand new digital version which, when projected in a movie theatre,
has plastic colors and no depth at all? And what if Simon Field, former
director of the International Film Festival Rotterdam, is just dreaming,
when saying that the old filmtheatre in Tsai Ming-liangs Goodbye,
Dragon Inn will be replaced by a new one which is technically
more up to date, and that people will always be wanting to come together
to see a film in a public space, whether there's a strip of light or
not. Is Tsai Ming-liang just nostalgic? Are we? Belinda van de Graaf
The Big Red One, Sam Fuller's epic about
his World War II combat experience, was severely cut by its original
distributors back in 1980. Film critic Richard Schickel has assembled
a new version that's 50 minutes longer and considerably richer. At the
occasion of a screening In Chicago, Gabe Klinger writes about his impression
of the new version.