139 Wild Strawberries

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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Zot!
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Re: 139 Wild Strawberries

#26 Post by Zot! » Wed Jul 10, 2013 4:40 pm

zedz wrote:That bleached-out look (I'm assuming you're talking about some of the dream sequences) has always been there as a deliberate effect to distinguish those scenes from normal 'reality'. It's a feature, not a bug.

Though when you saw dupey 16mm reductions of the film, it's a feature that almost turned the film into white-on-white abstraction for several minutes.
I'm pretty sure Bergman/Nykvist used this in at least one other film too for the same purpose. Hour of the Wolf perhaps? I don't remember. It is a striking, though simple effect.

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swo17
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Re: 139 Wild Strawberries

#27 Post by swo17 » Wed Jul 10, 2013 4:45 pm

Sawdust and Tinsel does it.

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Fred Holywell
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Re: 139 Wild Strawberries

#28 Post by Fred Holywell » Sat Jul 27, 2013 6:30 pm


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Red Screamer
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Re: 139 Wild Strawberries

#29 Post by Red Screamer » Thu Aug 15, 2013 2:58 pm

Did anyone else see the arguing couple as a glimpse into the Professors failed marriage? With the way this film plays with time and reality, I wouldn't be shocked if all the characters in "reality" represent some aspect of Borg's memories

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nyasa
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Re: 139 Wild Strawberries

#30 Post by nyasa » Sat Apr 19, 2014 5:31 pm

I love Bergman, and this has always been one of my favourites of his films. Couldn't wait to revisit it on Blu-Ray.

I guess this is one example of the format outstripping the original source. It started with Victor Sjostrom's moustache. It is now visibly different from shot to shot in individual scenes (especially in the car immediately after leaving Stockholm). The outdoor scenes filmed in the studio also suffer badly.

And whereas once I watched Sjostrom receive his award in Lund Cathedral, now he receives it in front of a massive 2D photo of the cathedral's interior.

That said, the genuine outdoor scenes are spectacular, and Sjostrom's voice is more sonorous than ever.

Still, it's made me wonder if, with certain films, we reached the peak with DVD.

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hearthesilence
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Re: 139 Wild Strawberries

#31 Post by hearthesilence » Sat Apr 19, 2014 6:01 pm

Funny, I was just having a conversation the other day with two acquaintances who were arguing over a student film they were making. They angrily disagreed on whether certain effects, shots, sounds, etc. were too crude, phony, etc. I took a look, and the first thing I thought was, "well, I can see what you mean, but there's literally thousands of masterpieces and classic films that get away with worse shit than this."

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FrauBlucher
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Re: 139 Wild Strawberries

#32 Post by FrauBlucher » Sat Apr 19, 2014 6:08 pm

Old time filmmakers didn't take into account that technology was going to advance so much that the blemishes of production would stand out. Nor did they think about a home entertainment market that their films would be watched over and over again at the viewers discretion.

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swo17
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Re: 139 Wild Strawberries

#33 Post by swo17 » Sat Apr 19, 2014 6:10 pm

nyasa wrote:Still, it's made me wonder if, with certain films, we reached the peak with DVD.
35mm film would like to have a word with you.

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domino harvey
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Re: 139 Wild Strawberries

#34 Post by domino harvey » Sat Apr 19, 2014 6:34 pm

Based on his point, don't you mean 8mm?

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Jeff
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Re: 139 Wild Strawberries

#35 Post by Jeff » Sat Apr 19, 2014 10:53 pm

35mm film is significantly higher resolution than Blu-ray, so if they flaws are evident on Blu, they'd be even more evident on a print. I think it's just that we're looking at films more closely and more often than directors of the pre-video era ever imagined.

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Yaanu
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Re: 139 Wild Strawberries

#36 Post by Yaanu » Sun Apr 20, 2014 12:40 am

FrauBlucher wrote:Old time filmmakers didn't take into account that technology was going to advance so much that the blemishes of production would stand out. Nor did they think about a home entertainment market that their films would be watched over and over again at the viewers discretion.
hearthesilence wrote:Funny, I was just having a conversation the other day with two acquaintances who were arguing over a student film they were making. They angrily disagreed on whether certain effects, shots, sounds, etc. were too crude, phony, etc. I took a look, and the first thing I thought was, "well, I can see what you mean, but there's literally thousands of masterpieces and classic films that get away with worse shit than this."
Didn't the recent 8K restoration of "The Wizard of Oz" end up being so clear that you could literally see the strings holding up the flying monkeys?

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warren oates
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Re: 139 Wild Strawberries

#37 Post by warren oates » Sun Apr 20, 2014 1:10 am

Yaanu is right. Filmmakers used to be able to count on a certain amount of built-in generation loss inherent in the process of making film prints to smooth out the rough edges of their visual effects. For well preserved film classics like Wild Strawberries and The Wizard of Oz, we're now getting pristine scans from original camera negatives and seeing way more detail in the image than previous audiences were really intended to see.
Last edited by warren oates on Sun Apr 20, 2014 1:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: 139 Wild Strawberries

#38 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Apr 20, 2014 1:18 am

So -- my increasingly crappy eyesight is a blessing, right?

rrenault
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Re: 139 Wild Strawberries

#39 Post by rrenault » Mon Nov 03, 2014 12:04 pm

warren oates wrote:Yaanu is right. Filmmakers used to be able to count on a certain amount of built-in generation loss inherent in the process of making film prints to smooth out the rough edges of their visual effects. For well preserved film classics like Wild Strawberries and The Wizard of Oz, we're now getting pristine scans from original camera negatives and seeing way more detail in the image than previous audiences were really intended to see.
Umm, this was pretty much my point in that "art films should look bad" thread that got deleted about 'older' films not having the "HD look" when you see them in a theater.

So others get away with arguing things I get attacked for. Okay, I get it.

Honestly, why aren't we allowed to share controversial opinions on this forum?

On Mubi, although the site's now on its last legs, you're allowed to be controversial and spontaneous. Why is everything so regimented here?

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Mr Sausage
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139 Wild Strawberries

#40 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Nov 03, 2014 12:31 pm

That thread was never deleted, Warren oates' point resembles yours only insofar as they are both about film, and the reason you get jumped all over is because you are addicted to making indefensible generalizations, treating personal opinion as established fact, and maintaining both with intractable stubbornness.

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lubitsch
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Re: 139 Wild Strawberries

#41 Post by lubitsch » Mon Nov 03, 2014 12:51 pm

Using studio inserts in scenes filmed outdoor or worse shooting them indoor is simply the way classical cinema was mostly shot. Especially the closer shots in front of a faked outdoor were made to ensure that the focus is on the actors, it's essentially a slight refinement of early silent cinema's way to shoot close-ups in front of a black background. Many very unrealistic modes of expression like blackface actors representing whites or visibly painted theater sets died off very early, but others which seemed less obtrusive like studio shooting or casting whites as Asians persisted much longer. This has nothing to do with the reproduction quality, it's blatantly obvious in mediocre DVDs. It's also not a matter of today's viewers being able to be more scrupulous. It was an aesthetic convention like black and white film.
As for 35mm being somehow inferior to Blu-Rays in the public imagination, one really wonders what people think that the cinemas of yesterday showed to their paying customers. I once had only a quite badly washed out bootleg DVD of a film for projection and one student asked later if the projection quality was better back then. It was a serious question.

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Roger Ryan
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Re: 139 Wild Strawberries

#42 Post by Roger Ryan » Mon Nov 03, 2014 1:55 pm

What does any of this have to do with WILD STRAWBERRIES? The film looks fantastic on Blu-ray and its special effect or process shots don't appear to be compromised one bit by the transfer.

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warren oates
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Re: 139 Wild Strawberries

#43 Post by warren oates » Mon Nov 03, 2014 2:26 pm

nyasa wrote:I guess this is one example of the format outstripping the original source. It started with Victor Sjostrom's moustache. It is now visibly different from shot to shot in individual scenes (especially in the car immediately after leaving Stockholm). The outdoor scenes filmed in the studio also suffer badly. And whereas once I watched Sjostrom receive his award in Lund Cathedral, now he receives it in front of a massive 2D photo of the cathedral's interior.
Scroll back above and you'll see that this is how it started. Nyasa had valid and specific beefs with some of the images whose resolution has been improved. I haven't revisited this title yet, but I don't think it's controversial to say that some moments in older films with painted 2D backgrounds and set extensions do tend to stand out more and call attention to their artifice more in HD than they would have in initial release prints. Which is not to say that these films ought to look bad on home video or that the resolution of the rest of the images should suffer or that the vast majority of these filmmakers, if given the option and the tradeoff, wouldn't make the same call that thoughtful archivists, historians and preservationist-filmmakers like Scorsese are making -- that, within the limits of the original capture medium, more resolution is generally better.

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knives
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Re: 139 Wild Strawberries

#44 Post by knives » Mon Nov 03, 2014 3:33 pm

Is, especially in this movie, this a bad thing? Many films are artificial and a film coming across that way is perfectly fine. Objectively watching a Bluray on whatever television you have is not going to give the same amount of detail as watching a 35mm in a theater. Under ideal conditions this fakery would be evident and the question isn't as you seem to suggest if more resolution is better but if you are willing to take the film on the level it was intended to.

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FerdinandGriffon
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Re: 139 Wild Strawberries

#45 Post by FerdinandGriffon » Mon Nov 03, 2014 3:36 pm

Yeah, is what Warren said above strictly true? I would think a Bluray would still have less detail than a release print, even if it was a few generations away from the negative.

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knives
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Re: 139 Wild Strawberries

#46 Post by knives » Mon Nov 03, 2014 3:40 pm

As far as I understand a Bluray at its best with a large enough television set and you sitting the right distance away roughly gives the impression of 16mm even though some things are differentiated due to the different method of projection. This means that outside of generation wear a 35mm print when projected will still appear more detailed than that Bluray. In the far end of subjectivity you can see this pretty easily by just watching a Bluray around the time of a 35mm showing of a film. The difference is really obvious even to an untrained eye like mine.

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warren oates
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Re: 139 Wild Strawberries

#47 Post by warren oates » Mon Nov 03, 2014 3:51 pm

Why couldn't a new Blu-ray, from say, a 4K scan of a restored OCN have both more visible detail than an older second or third generation print from the time of a film's initial release might have had and at the same time less resolution technically than the newest restored 35mm print that current technology allows?

I think the grey area is whether some filmmakers ever intended certain effects to be as sharply visible as pristine OCN HD transfers permit. While lubitsch is right about the history of visual storytelling conventions (like rear projection or using studio sets for "matching" close-ups), it'd be hard to argue that the 2D backdrops and set extension paintings in films like Wild Strawberries were intended to be seen as sharply, visibly, manifestly fake as, say, the expressionistic sets in Caligari or that we're supposed to see smudged up dirty floors in those Fred Astaire films or guide wires for props and effects in The Wizard of Oz.

Here's David Bordwell on some of these issues:

"A 35mm color negative film is said to approximate about 7000 lines of resolution, but by the time a color print is made, the display yields about 5000 lines—still a bit ahead of 4K digital. But each format has some blind spots. There’s a story that the 70mm camera negative of The Sound of Music recorded a wayward hair sticking straight out on the top of Julie Andrew’s head. It wasn’t visible in release prints of the day, but a 4K scan of the negative revealed it."

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knives
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Re: 139 Wild Strawberries

#48 Post by knives » Mon Nov 03, 2014 3:58 pm

The problem with your theory though is that not everyone was watching from third or fourth generation prints on the initial release and given how spectacle heavy some of these films are (Wizard of Oz was made to be spectacle) to suggest it was made to be anything other than as pretty as a first generation print could muster is absurd. Also it takes a significant number of generations to muddy up 35mm to 16mm status and even then the resolution isn't the issue, but the actual degradation of the printed image which is fading. I love Bordwell, but that post is at best nitpicking some imperfections in the original film that no one working on it cared about.

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FerdinandGriffon
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Re: 139 Wild Strawberries

#49 Post by FerdinandGriffon » Mon Nov 03, 2014 3:59 pm

Well, in the example Warren borrows from Bordwell, the offending detail was only visible in a 4k scan, and certainly wouldn't be on a Bluray, even if created from the same scan.

I don't think these things were ever intended to be obviously fake, but were inevitably so, a limitation of the technology that the audience of the time had come to expect and were able to ignore (in much the same way that most hi-tech CGI nowadays is manifestly fake, but nonetheless expected and appreciated by audiences who are accustomed to having it be part of the spectacle they've paid for).

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knives
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Re: 139 Wild Strawberries

#50 Post by knives » Mon Nov 03, 2014 4:06 pm

Yes, that second paragraph gets at what I mean. By modern standards these qualities seem fake or wrong if that's how you choose to view it, but at the time certainly that was to some extent just the style. After all even contemporaneously things like Hitchcock's rear projection or what have you were teased so it's not like people didn't notice. though the hair thing still seems like nitpicking. I think that sort of judging by stills rather than while watching the actual movie is further from the artists' intentions than anything that could come from a Blu.

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