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Charles Mingus: Epitaph


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Charles Mingus: Epitaph + Charles Mingus: Triumph of the Underdog + Jazz Icons: Charles Mingus Live in '64
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Product Details

  • Directors: Humphrey Burton
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Eagle Vision
  • DVD Release Date: April 28, 2009
  • Run Time: 131 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001NP8PRQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #243,405 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

On June 3rd, 1989, the Alice Tully Hall at New York's Lincoln Center was the venue for the world premiere performance of Charles Mingus' masterpiece "Epitaph". Conductor Gunther Schuller directed 30 musicians in what the New York Times described as "One of the most memorable jazz events of the decade". The piece had been discovered after Mingus' death in 1979 and painstakingly restored and copied. It is the largest and longest piece for jazz orchestra ever written and is now available here on DVD for the first time.

TRACK LISTING
1) Main Score: Part One 2) Percussion Discussion 3) Main Score: Part Two 4) Started Melody 5) The Soul 6) Untitled Ballad 7) Moods In Mambo 8) Self Portrait: The Chill Of Death 9) O.P. (Oscar Pettiford) 10) Please Don't Come Back From The Moon 11) Monk, Bunk And Vice Versa 12) Peggy's Blue Skylight 13) Wolverine Blues 14) The Children's Hour Of Dream 15) Freedom 16) Untitled Interlude 17) Better Get Hit In Your Soul 18) Noon Night 19) Main Score Reprise

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By David Conklin on January 5, 2010
Format: DVD
Mingus fans should not hesitate to pick this up. It nicely captures the premier performance of this colossal work, live at Lincoln Center in 1989. A CD was released soon after the event, but apparently the DVD just came out in 2009. The audio quality of the DVD is very good, and the camera work is outstanding. The DVD makes it easier to follow the structure of this complex music, and you more fully experience the energy and passion of the musicians.

The nearly two hour composition consists of 18 movements or sections. Several of these are re-orchestrated, expanded versions of well-known Mingus songs. Others were conceived directly for a large 30 piece ensemble. The history of EPITAPH is not well-known, but it appears that Mingus worked on it intermittently for most of his career. Most of the score was intact, although Gunther Schuller--who ably conducts the orchestra--apparently had to piece together a few loose ends. Schuller's original, informative liner notes from the CD are included.

Overall, this is quintessential Mingus, with the remarkable gutsy sound, driving energy, and powerful punctuations you'd hope for and expect. Key soloists include Randy Brecker, Wynton Marsalis (trumpets), Bobby Watson, John Handy, George Adams (saxophones), Sir Roland Hanna and John Hicks (pianos). But, heck, all 30 of these talented players solo at various times. One 11 minute section includes nearly 100 little solos, providing "an ever changing kaleidoscope of instrumental color" (Schuller). Throughout most of the piece, everyone appears to be playing to a tight score (with limited improvisation), and the writing is ingenious, with ideas and sounds rarely heard in jazz.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Woopak VINE VOICE on October 14, 2009
Format: DVD
Yeh, yeh...I know what you are thinking. Asian horror has become redundant with long-haired vengeful ghosts that seek a break from their torment. While I would agree, the "Yurei" or long-haired pale-faced ghost is actually a significant part of Asian lore; much like vampires, werewolves and zombies and we, as Americans never get tired of those elements...so why should Asians? The Jung Brothers' horror drama "EPITAPH" (a.k.a. "The Last Breath") is a film that tries something different and puts this horror film in the middle of a period drama that takes place during Japan's occupation of Korea. The film is an episodic tale of three different short stories similar to "Three Extremes" but different since they are all linked together.

February, 1942. Jung-Nam Park (Ku Jin) is a young Med student who is engaged to be married to a woman he had never met. He is also assigned to watch over the cadavers in the morgue that during this time, he falls in love with a frozen dead woman. A new patient also gets admitted who was the lone survivor of a fatal car accident. This young girl named Asoka (Joo-Yeon Ko) also becomes haunted by ghosts every night. Meanwhile, a young married couple, doctors In-Young (Bo-Kyeong Kim) and Dong-Won Kim (Tae-Soo Kim, Hypnotized) arrives from Japan and suddenly a rash of murders begin to happen...just what is this sinister hospital?

The Jung brothers focus on a central theme; "Ghosts" and they attempt to challenge the thin lines between fragmented storytelling, arty style and a ostentatious narrative because of the way the stories are linked together by a common place, beautiful cinematography and bloody scenes embedded in its equation.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By LFrog1386 on December 30, 2008
Format: DVD
I saw this movie awhile ago so details are fuzzy but I can say it is almost on par with A Tale of Two Sisters. It may be a bit confusing at times but it has the kind of storyline that draws the viewer in and makes one want to watch again to understand the ending better. It is an excellent example of the newer Asian horror; the kind that messes with your mind but still has a touch of the supernatural instead of the "long haired ghost" stereotype. Here is the description of the film:

" 'Gidam' is a horror movie about a mysterious incident that took place at the Gyeongseong Ahnsaeng Hospital in 1942.

The film has attracted a large number of moviegoers with its fresh story line, scenes that appeal to the aesthetic sense and the underlying sadness behind the prevailing horror."

It's worth it, trust me.
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By James H Gundlach on June 9, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Damn thing won't play on any hardware I have in any room of the house or a car or a station wagon or a suburban, anything. It is a useless waste of time and money.
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Format: DVD
Yes a beautiful little film but confusing. I confess I was unable to separate the plots or keep track of the characters or keep track of the sequences through time. Very good production, excellent cinematography, and suitably creepy acting Obscure, confusing, and muddled. However, worth seeing.
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Format: DVD
Gidam (Epitaph) (Beom-Sik Jeong, 2007)

I will admit right out that part of my problem with Epitaph may, in fact, be my problem, rather than the movie's; as I often do when I am as ridiculously far behind in reviewing as I've been for the past year solid, I was writing reviews while the movie was playing, and thus I may not have been paying as close attention to it as it commanded. That said, I find in reading various reviews around the internet that I am far from the only person who found the film to be somewhat confusing [[...]] [...] [...] [...]. So I'm going to assume at least some of the burden of proof is on the movie itself.

Plot: there are actually three different plots, all of which converge on a wartime hospital. In one, a young girl survives a car accident and finds herself haunted by the ghosts of her parents. A second details an intern's obsession with a beautiful woman who committed suicide, and the third concerns a husband-and-wife team investigating a serial killer who preys on soldiers. All of these stories, unrelated as they may be, do eventually collide (though not in the most convincing of ways).

Despite the confusion aspect of the film, it's a very pretty thing, exquisitely-shot (though one wonders if maybe the cinematographer should have considered knocking things up a little given that the film is set in 1942 for the sake of archaism) and very nicely-acted. There is much to be said for that, especially since you can probably head for the internet and/or figure out most of the confusing bits to your satisfaction with a bit of reflection, so unless you're very easily frustrated that's not a reason not to watch this; it certainly could have been better than it is, but it's worth checking out. ***
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