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Criterion Collection: Rossellini's History Films [Import USA Zone 1]

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Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Sous-titré, NTSC, Import
  • Audio : Français, Italien
  • Sous-titres : Anglais
  • Région : Région 1 (USA et Canada). Ce DVD ne pourra probablement pas être visualisé en Europe. Plus d'informations sur les formats DVD/Blu-ray.
  • Rapport de forme : 1.33:1
  • Nombre de disques : 3
  • Studio : Criterion
  • Date de sortie du DVD : 13 janvier 2009
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 182.812 en DVD & Blu-ray (Voir les 100 premiers en DVD & Blu-ray)
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Amazon.com: 10 commentaires
45 internautes sur 47 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Difficult, challenging, enlightening.... 7 août 2009
Par Grigory's Girl - Publié sur Amazon.com
I am an avid fan of Italian cinema, but one director I never really got into was Roberto Rossellini. I have seen Rome, Open City, Paisan, and Voyage to Italy, and I thought they were good films, but he was never one I talked about very much. Recently, I watched all of the 3 films in this Eclipse/Criterion series (actually, there are 3 made for TV films, two of which are essentially miniseries), and I was surprised how much I liked them all.

These 3 films are unlike anything I've ever really seen. I was really surprised by them. Near the end of the 1960's, Rossellini felt cinema was dead, and decided to make films for TV. He sincerely believed that television could be a true catalyst for change and for true educational purposes. Roberto believed ignorance was the biggest obstacle to progress (he has a point there), and he made these 3 films (and The Taking of Power by Louis XIV, a film for French TV that's available in a seperate Criterion edition) in a genuine effort to educate the masses of Italy. As to whether his intentions helped allievate the ignorance of people remains to be seen. The 3 films are surprisingly good.

The films are not very conventional at all. If you're expecting a sex filled, blood soaked, historically inaccurate Showtimes type series (or HBO series), you will be disappointed. If you're expecting films that will genuinely make you think and demand your full attention, you will more than satisified.

The 3 films have the same characteristics. Most of the shots are static, the takes are long, the performances are for the most part perfunctory, the dialogue is very dry and intellectual, yet all 3 of the films held my attention and are endlessly fascinating. The costumes and set design are absolutely first rate. In fact, some of the shots are reminiscent of Renaissance paintings (which I'm sure Rossellini meant to do). The camera work is quite good. The running times are very long. The Age of the Medici runs 4 1/2 hours (but is in 3 parts), Cartesius runs 162 minutes (and is in 2 parts), and Blaise Pascal clocks in just over 2 hours.

The Age of the Medici is the best of the films. It shows how Cosimo de Medici became a brilliant merchant and helped shaped Renaissance thought. Despite its 255 minute length, the machinations of Medici and the Italian court are fascinating. Cartesius is about Rene Descartes, and his struggles with finding a bridge between rational thought and the spiritual quest of being one with God and Jesus. Blaise Pascal is the saddest of the films, with Pascal going on his own Descartes like quest and dying at the end of the film. It's quite sad and moving, surprisingly so. These films remind me of the austerity of Bressons's work, in that all the emotion is drained from the performances (Bresson did this intentionally), and the emotions are supplied by the viewers. It's a challenge to watch these films, make no mistake about it. But they are worth the challenge and are quite inspiring, especially to those interested in the time of the films. I even broke out an old Descartes book that I had not read in many, many years after watching Cartesius.

I had never heard of these films until Criterion/Eclipse put them out. I'm glad they did. These 3 films (and The Taking of Power by Louis XIV) should all be seen. While they are difficult and challenging, they are immensely worthwhile.
10 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A very unmodern effort 25 janvier 2010
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Achat vérifié
The three films in this series ( The Age of the Medici, Cartesius, and Blaise Pascal) were part of Rossellini's effort to awaken the public through the television medium. He felt that the " mass media were accomplishing 'a sort of cretinization of adults.' Rather than illuminate people their great effort seemed to be to subjugate them,'to create slaves who think they are free'".

Certainly these films by Rossellini aren't everyone's cup of tea. Slow moving - yes. Lacking in action - yes.
They deal with ideas, ideas that helped create our modern world. The acting can be described as understated, but conveys the emotions of the characters. Rossellini felt that "art can make you understand through emotion what you are absolutely incapable of understanding through intellect." So though these films deal with ideas, we come to understand them through our heart.

Rossellini shows himself again to be a master film maker through these low budget, quickly filmed, made for television historical dramas. Once viewed they will not be easily forgotten.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Remarkable, and not quite like anything else 18 novembre 2012
Par William A. Smith - Publié sur Amazon.com
In the last phase of Roberto Rossellini's career, he focused his efforts on a series of low-budget films for Italian and French television dealing with historical subjects. They form a rather Utopian program of using television as a way of increasing the historical understanding of the average viewer. Criterion has done us a considerable service in making four of them--the three in this set and The Taking Of Power by Louis XIV--readily available.

One of the things we rarely think about in looking at films not set in the present is how the film represents the reality of a historical setting. This goes well beyond such considerations as art direction and costume. The way that we look at the world has changed dramatically over time. Even for so recent a period as Victorian England, there are numerous differences in world-view that must color the way we look at things in order to get an informed insight. How much more difficult, then, to recreate, not just the look, but also the mindset, of Imperial Rome, or Renaissance Italy, or 17th century France?

Various filmmakers take various routes, from ignoring the problem (the most common) to radical attempts to recreate the physical details of the setting, as Jean-Jacques Annaud did in The Name Of the Rose--on the assumption that getting the setting right will re-create the mental landscape as well. Within the limits of his budget, Rossellini did much the same thing--but he took things considerably further. These films are not dramatic in a conventional sense--if you are expecting something like the four-part series on The Medici in the Empires series, you will be sorely disappointed.

Instead, Rossellini has two radical steps. First, much of the dialogue is taken directly from the writings of the participants. Second, Rossellini shows us, without comment, many historically accurate but unsettling details of daily life--from the 17th century version of an indoor toilet in the Pascal film to the extreme way in which Florentine guilds dealt with those who stole guild secrets in the Medici films. It's a strategy of showing, rather than telling--in the later Cartesius and Blaise Pascal, he abandons the occasional patches of exposition that you will find in the Medici film and in the Louis XIV film.

These are films of great subtlety, and very little overt affect, although they are not without emotional impact. Some might dismiss them as historical pageants, rather than dramas, which would be an error. The drama lies in the play of ideas--since there are, above all, films about ideas.

The longest of the three is The Age of the Medici. It's also the most accessible--a large cast of characters, a great deal of incident, and above all a really remarkable evocation of the optimistic spirit of the Florentine Renaissance, particularly in the episode dealing with Alberti. It deals with a very wide range of subjects--politics, both temporal and ecclesiastical; the revival of Platonism; Renaissance banking and trade; architecture and the rebuilding of Rome. The only slight downside is that a bit of a background in the period will make the film far easier to digest. Unfortunately, there is a bit of a paradox in Rossellini's method--he has an educational program, but the films offer their richest reward to those who already know somethng about the subjects.

Cartesius and Blaise Pascal move us to 17th century France, and two of the great philosophers and mathematicians of the period, of contrasting temperaments. (Criterion's labeling is a bit misleading here--neither Descartes nor Pascal are really Enlightenment figures, although they point in that direction.) Taken in sequence, they offer an extended meditation on key problems of philosophy and science--the roles of faith and reason; tradition versus experimentation; building up from first principles and reason (Descartes) versus building down from the infinite mysteries of faith (Pascal). These films are striking for the extended excerpts from Pascal's and Descartes' writings; in the first case, the script quotes liberally fro the Pensees and includes what appears to be the full text of Pascal's Memorial--the record of his mystical conversion experience.

One particular image that recurs, time and again, in these films is awakening. A character will walk into a room and open a pair of shutters, and light will flood the scene--usually as a preparation for awaking a character from sleep. How tempting it is to see this as a metaphor for Rossellini's project--throwing light on key aspects of our history. These are films that will not be to everything's taste; they demand careful attention. But they are remarkably rewarding. A very high recommendation indeed.
5 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Rossellini Making History! 2 décembre 2011
Par Bob Quaif - Publié sur Amazon.com
At last! Here are the three greatest achievements from the final phase of Rossellini's career in good transfers and - where appropriate - with a choice of different languages on the soundtrack, in addition to the subtitles. Previous (overpriced) VHS issues of two of them were visually poor, and offered only the Italian soundtrack version of "Blaise Pascal" (the French is better) and the English version of "Age of the Medici" (the Italian is MUCH better!); and an earlier DVD issue of the third, "Cartesius", was excellent but not easily available.

That Rossellini spent his last decade or so making what might be called docu-dramas for TV is due to the tragically widespread misinterpretation and undervaluing of his work in the two decades before. There were always admirers - especially in France in the fifties - who understood and revered his work, but so many others failed to appreciate its subtlety, originality, beauty and complexity of attitude that the director lost faith in fictional cinema. The documentary aspect that had long been a feature of his work took over, and he set about creating a body of TV films that would focus on key moments in History. The three multi-episode series "Iron Age" (1964), "Man's struggle for survival" (1967) and "Acts of the Apostles" (1968) have rarely been shown outside of Italy - though screenings of a gratingly dubbed, awkwardly truncated print of "Acts of the Apostles" in London in 2007 revealed that it contains some great moments. But "The rise to power of Louis XIV" (1966) was released theatrically abroad and, despite occasional lapses into stolidity, the intelligence, lucidity and elegance of most of its scenes impressed many viewers. However, apart from a handful of effective sequences, "Socrates" (1970) and "Augustine of Hippo" (1972) seem disappointing, at times graceless, even clumsy.

Everything appears to click, though, for "Blaise Pascal" and "Age of the Medici" (both 1972) and "Cartesius" (ie. "Descartes" 1974), and they are complex, near-flawless masterpieces. The long takes, the refined but insidious camera movements and the placing of actors in the context of images that vivify both the splendour and the squalor of their historical periods are a wonder to behold. If "Blaise Pascal" is the most moving of the three, it is also dark and chilling: in Pierre Arditi's affecting performance the French philosopher comes across as a sympathetic but quietly anguished figure, using his superior intellect largely for the good of others but unable to emulate his sister Jacqueline's devout religious faith, or to come to terms with the suffering he sees all around. Though bleak, the final deathbed sequence, with its eerily graceful tracks and ominously slow zooms, is sublimely great art that cannot be reduced to a single, simple meaning. By contrast, "Cartesius" glows with the light of enquiry and discovery: time and again a servant enters a darkened bedroom where Descartes is sleeping late, throws open the curtains, and daylight floods in, so that the erudite clutter of the restless thinker's environment is revealed with Vermeer-like radiance.

"Age of the Medici" is chiefly concerned with the devious social, political and economic forces at work in 15th century Florence (and other Italian city states), but the human focal point, at first Cosimo de Medici (altruistic but ruthless) gradually becomes Leon Battista Alberti, portrayed as spokesman for the scientific and artistic underpinning of Renaissance humanism. Rossellini displays a franker admiration for Alberti than for any other historical figure in his films, which could be seen as a loss of "objectivity" - but it gives the final section of "Age of the Medici" a wonderful sense of uplift.
Cartesius 21 janvier 2015
Par Doug Anderson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Roberto Rossellini CARTESIUS (1974): This plays mainly as an intellectual biography (with lots of discourse on the method). At 2 hrs ad 40 min it can get tiring but if you stay with it it leaves you with a crystal clear picture of a crystal clear mind. I particularly liked the fact that Descartes rejected the Paris salons of his day (thought by most to be the intellectual centers of the world) and instead chose to travel, mainly through Northern Europe where men were less in thrall to intellectual tradition and more receptive to new ideas. Descartes spent a lot of time in the beer halls and coffee houses of the commercial centers through which the new ideas freely flowed and wherein the new ideas were freely discussed by men who had professions and experience of the world (this perhaps a less-discussed/lauded aspect of Descartes' method). One imagines that Rossellini has found a like soul in Descartes. Both men are certainly interested in using the new sciences and technologies of their respective days to see things more clearly as they are (and not as the teachings of renowned scholars/artists would have them believe they are). The main thing Descartes wanted to see more clearly was reason itself and he seemed to take great pleasure in examining reason and what man can truly know with it. Whats surprising is how earthy and cool Descartes is and how much everyone likes him and comes alive in his presence. His mission was to examine reason as well as to find the right use of reason and to humbly apply his method to each subject he put his mind to. And one imagines that this is what Rossellini is doing as well in this historical film...searching for and/or applying a right or suitable use of reason/of cinema/of art/of civilization (during one of its more turbulent and uncertain epochs). Certainly its very calming and civilizing to watch a 3 hr film about a man who dedicated himself to conversation and meditation. In Rossellini's hands, the New Realism (or at least the 1960's and 1970's incarnation of it) does function or can be viewed to function as an extension or re-invigoration of the enlightenment project and a re-discovery or re-affirmation of the value of clarity, unprejudiced clarity (in art and in science and in all things). I'll be checking out Rossellini's Age of the Medici (1973) next.
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