The apparent result is that, for example, the scene for which the filmmaker waited weeks before the sky "looks right" almost doesn't contain the sky anymore.
I know there are customers who just want the "full" picture even if nothing looks how it should (shorter people or missing parts of the content) but those who want to get what author made should probably wait for (hopefully) some later different edition, if it ever happens ("blah blah average customer etc"). But I guess the current format is a partial reason why those disc are untypically cheap. The real fans who want to own the film could care. Others don't want to watch it more than once and don't particularly even need to buy the disc.
As an example for everybody to evaluate if they consider left-out pixels significant for them, this "Barry Lyndon" snapshot is 16:9 (1280:720)
In that resolution, what's missing is "just" 72 pixels total above or under the picture. The difference would be that there's no "cut" of the stones of the fire.
On another snapshot
the foot that misses the sole would be whole.
Seem to be small differences. There are certainly enough films which were shoot with the intention not to project everything that's in the frame (that's why the mics are often "in frame" in "wrong" transfers -- the idea was that the last correction was during the projection, and there actually keeping everything is against the director's intention). But "Barry Lyndon" is exactly the movie that went to extraordinary lenghts for the photography aspect of it. Think about it: it's technically hugely inconvenient not using modern lights during shooting of the whole movie, but that was one of the major decisions of the director. The piece of the object cut off the photograph when not intended is the photographer's nightmare.
But I can really understand that people who wouldn't care honestly wouldn't.
By the way, the "exact" transfer to the TV HD would give 1800 instead of 1920 pixels wide image, that is, 60 pixels left and right would be black. Would some customers complain as "not wanting black pillars" too? Probably. But the fans?
Everyone, absolutely everyone who has good taste and knows something about movie making seems to worship this film. Only those who are unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent don't like it.
Let me then be the one to admit I'll be the stupid, incompetent one, but willing to learn. Why is this film brilliant? I found it unbearable. Half the story is told by an omniscient narrator (a device that simply doesn't work in a film), the story advances at a glacial pace, the protagonist is completely unlikable. Of course the backstory would feel somewhat pompous and dated, based on a 19th century book, but in my uninformed, incompetent opinion bringing this old fashioned feel unchanged to a 20th century medium didn't do either of them any favors.
Kubrick made a number of classics that have either aged very well or become a cherished document of the time when they were made. Can someone please explain to me why this movie belongs up there with the Shining, 2001 and Dr. Strangelove?
> Kubrick made a number of classics that have either aged very well or become a cherished document of the time when they were made. Can someone please explain to me why this movie belongs up there with the Shining, 2001 and Dr. Strangelove?
To be honest, I've repeatedly watched all the films you mention, and Barry Lyndon is by far my favorite. For me, it's the rare film that actually immerses you into a different historical era. Most "historical" productions take contemporary people and attitudes and put them into old costumes (for a particularly egregious example, watch an episode of The CW series "Reign"). Barry Lyndon actually takes you to a different age; and, you're correct, to our sensibilities it seems pompous and dated (to their sensibilities, we'd probably appear presumptuous and uncivilized). The movie does great justice to the Thackeray book - it brings it to life in its original form, instead of shoehorning it into modern sensibilities. On top of that the camera work, music etc. is just icing on the cake. I believe that allowing yourself to be engrossed by a film like Barry Lyndon, reaching the point where you understand the characters and can relate to their motivations, is a very rewarding experience, comparable in many ways to traveling to a strange but wonderful new country where people tick to much different rhythms.
* The photography is singular, this is self-evident
* The acting is outstanding
Complaints usually then come down to story and direction.
I interpret the direction as perfectly executing my understanding of Kubrick's intended impact: Contrast between character (developed through the story) and sentiment.
A sentiment engineered with all the available emotional tools:
* The tone of the narration
* Slow pacing
* Divine Music
* Lavish Costume
All intended to convey the message - "Take this very seriously". Imparting a gravity to every word and action. Be it glory, or tragedy.
What then of the contrasting element - Character?
As you say - The protagonist is unlikable. This wasn't a mistake. He's a selfish, spineless, jerk, of no inherent merit, who raises himself to mediocre heights through questionable behaviour, morals, and company only to be struck down again. A parody of the Greek tragic form.
What does that leave us with? A comedy!
It's a simple proposition, a farcical contrast between story content, and story form. Told completely straight-faced and dry. In this light I find it to be one of the most original and daring pieces of cinematic story-telling I know of.
The punchline to the joke, however, seems to be that I've never found another person who shared this perspective, and most seem to take the the sentiment seriously and at face value... You seem like you might be someone who enjoys looking at it from this angle.
I haven't yet read or watched any reviews of this film or the book it was based on,
and was surprised to see the film being discussed on Hacker News, so in the tradition
of a good internet commenter, I'm writing this comment before having read the article.
I'll go ahead and read OP's link now and see if any of my ideas are vindicated :)
The photography also happens to be awe-inspiring, though many people don't appreciate it because they're not used to looking at scenes filmed in natural light.
I can understand why you wouldn't like Barry Lyndon: it is slow, and fixated on a very idiosyncratic corner of history/lit history. I think this comes down to a matter of personal taste, some people don't enjoy spending time with the characters and the places on screen here, and some people do.
With regards to 'omniscient narrator', I agree it is almost always ill suited to film, but for me in Barry Lyndon the world was so indebted to that of the novel, that the narrator didn't seem odd or out of place.
At the same time, I think anyone would be hard pressed to argue that the film isn't a landmark, technical achievement. I can't think of another film which looks like a moving 18th century painting. The film is also, consciously, epic, dealing with a wide spread of characters, locations and lives, fitting them into a framework which at the very least attempts to say something about 'the big things' (mortality, love, society etc etc). Even if it seems pretentious and vapid to some, it doesn't to others. It also feels singular (though so does all of Kubrick). I would be willing to bet you could take any frame and it would be recognizable out of context.
I actually think Barry Lyndon has aged better than 2001 and Dr. Strangelove, and maybe that's why it receives more love now than back when it was released. Barry Lyndon and the Shining don't have any special effects which look laughable in a modern context (men in ape costumes, psychedelic colours, falling against a greenscreen backdrop etc). 2001 and Dr. Strangelove are still immensely enjoyable, and valuable, and it's remarkable they haven't aged worse, but they still look like they were made when they were.
Sorry for being a pompous arse, I actually can really see where you're coming from, just trying to argue the other side :)
Compare it with contemporary or slightly newer movies like Planet of the Apes, Barbarella, Logan's run. It's not a standard space opera with space battles, faster than light travel, alien empires and magic space gravity. Sure, the men in ape suits look a little naff, but then I don't see how else he could have done it. Claymation would have been worse, herding actual gorillas not an option.
Its an epic movie that takes you through a persons life. Its great because it plays with your emotions. The audience starts out rooting for him and, and least I was, get impressed when he succeeds. Then you experience his decline and get a feeling for how success changes him. He makes some bad decisions, but its easy to understand why. The mistakes start to pile up and he quickly becomes someone most people loathe and he becomes the antagonist in someone's story.
Lots of movies do similar things, but I thought Barry Lyndon was incredibly engrossing and it actually succeeds in this crazy character development that might feel trite in most cases. It was also shot extremely well and the film score is fantastic.
I've always thought Wolf of Wall Street as a modern day version of Barry Lyndon, but with more flash and less substance.
Every time this film is mentioned, I'm reminded of the old fairly tale, the
emperor’s new clothes.
Everyone, absolutely everyone who has good taste and knows something about movie
making seems to worship this film. Only those who are unfit for their positions,
stupid, or incompetent don't like it.
A lot of the social behaviour you seem to be lamenting are associated with the fact that many such works of art require a certain education and progressive experience to appreciate. Bebop just sounds “frenetic” to the ear that hadn’t been listening to Swing for a decade. Modal Jazz sounds ”pleasant but meandering” to the ear that hadn’t been listening to Bebop for a decade. And so forth.
But when you have the foundation in place, you appreciate the way Bebop broke from Swing, and Modal broke from Bebop. But without the foundation, you get nothing. So some people, being tribal and wanting to self identify through contempt for others, will measure your fitness for belonging to their club by whether you have the educated ear to appreciate Free Jazz, or some such.
It’s not that much different than looking down our noses at people who don’t appreciate the “obvious” brilliance of higher-kinded types and monads. Sometimes, people don’t appreciate them because they don’t have the education in place (whether formal or not). But sometimes, they have the education but it simply doesn’t “click.” There is taste and personal experience involved, not just an absolute standard of aesthetic appeal.
In my own case, I had trouble with appreciating the albums “In a Silent Way” and “Bitch’s Brew” when I first heard them, even though I was studying Jazz and thought I had the right stuff to get into them. I thought I understood intellectually what was going on, but nevertheless they didn’t speak to my heart.
I came back to them perhaps a decade after I first heard them, and as it happened, I began to feel them, not just listen to them. But that doesn’t happen to everyone. If it doesn’t, there is no need to beat someone up over it, but then again, it doesn’t mean that the work of art is a fraud, and that everyone is standing around a blank canvas marvelling at the brush strokes the artist chose not to employ.
In the end, a movie like Barry Lyndon fits the old quip:
A “classic” is a book everyone wants to have read, but few want to read.
p.s. This is a a whole ‘nother topic, but the expression “good taste” does not actually refer to taste that is good in some absolute sense. It is a term that refers to having taste in common with the upper classes of society at a particular time and place. Lots and lots of excellent and fine things were not “in good taste,” and many things in good taste are now thought of quite poorly. “Good taste” is a measure of fashion more than anything else.
You have the right to not like the story, on my side I liked it very much.
I somewhat agree with you. I don't find Barry Lyndon to be in the class of the three films you list. I think it's a good film--and a tour de force with respect to cinematography and general production design--but may of the criticisms leveled at it when it first came out still apply.
With regard to this movie, I simply don't know if I'm the innocent who cries out that the emperor is naked, or if I'm simply too incompetent and unfit to see it.
I personally enjoy Barry Lyndon overall--and this may well get me to watch it again--but I've been less inclined to re-view it than I have many other Kubrick films. (Honestly, I'm not really in a big hurry to rewatch 2001 either; it was also an impressive achievement when it came out but it shares the coldness and the very deliberate pacing of Barry Lyndon.)
I don't think it's at all irrational to say, meh, didn't enjoy it and don't want to see it again.
Just give him time. Grow as a human, get older, live your life. And then at some point of your life, watch his movies again. There's a good chance you'll get them.
It was in the reign of King George III
That the aforesaid personages lived and quarreled;
Good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor
They are all equal now
A significant portion of my short film "HOWTO: Demon Summoning" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZoiva3DfI8) was shot with nothing but candle light last year. Four tealights, to be exact.
We just used a regular f/1.4 50mm Contax/Yashica lens on the a7s body, running at 40,000 ISO or therabouts.
The footage was a bit noisy as it came out of the camera, not aided by my shooting in LOG format without exposing as high as I should have done, but once we ran it through the Neat Video noise filter plugin it looks great.
I wrote a bit about the process over here: http://www.strangecompany.org/lessons-i-learned-from-my-firs...
Is this new? I am not a fan of the recent trend of refusing to date posts. It seems like that is done to milk advertising, but it makes it impossible to know when something was written.