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A Hollis Frampton Odyssey (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

7 customer reviews

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(Apr 24, 2012)
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The Criterion Collection
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Editorial Reviews

Icon of the American avant-garde Hollis Frampton made rigorous, audacious, brainy, and downright thrilling films, leaving behind a body of work that remains unparalleled. In the 1960s, having started out as a poet and photographer, Frampton became fascinated with the possibilities of 16 mm filmmaking. In such radically playful, visually and sonically arresting works as Surface Tension, Zorns Lemma, (nostalgia), Critical Mass, and the enormous, unfinished Magellan cycle (cut short by his death at age forty-eight), Frampton repurposes cinema itself, making it into something by turns literary, mathematical, sculptural, and simply beautiful and always captivating. This collection of works by the essential artist the first home video release of its kind includes twenty-four films, dating from 1966 to 1979.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Directors: Hollis Frampton
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Color
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: April 24, 2012
  • Run Time: 266 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B006X64S12
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,563 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray
Many Criterion Collection fans have wondered when the company would release more anthology collections featuring avante-garde filmmakers.

We have seen the release of films by Stan Brakhage via two anthology volumes on Blu-ray but yet, fans have hoped to see an anthology or special release showcasing the work of Maya Deren, Kenneth Anger, Ernie Gehr, Andy Warhol, Marie Menken, Pat O'Neill and Hollis Frampton, to name a few.

With the support from those who enjoyed the "Stan Brakhage Anthology" release, Criterion Collection has chosen some of the best work of avante-garde filmmaker Hollis Frampton, in order to help introduce Frampton's oeuvre to curious cineaste but also please a following who have wanted to see a more thorough collection of his hard-to-find films.

Hollis Frampton is one of the most unique and talented filmmakers, especially when you follow his career as a student at Harvard University and Western Reserve University who was looked at by his peers as a genius but at the same time, he was also the type that walked the beat of his own drum and while taking a lot of classes that he wanted to take, he never graduated.

But it's the third of learning of art that inspired Frampton. From his friendship with painters Frank Stella, sculptor Carl Andre to developing a correspondence with modernist poet Ezra Pound, Frampton would take an interest in photography documenting Carl Andre's work.

And with his pursuit of creativity, Frampton would explore his ideas through filmmaking and showcasing his experimental use of film, audio and also digital art through the use of computers during that time of his life.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Brad Jupp on April 30, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I am glad that Criterion has assembled a Hollis Frampton anthology. Over the last quarter century I have had only a few chances to see his movies. Screenings of experimental cinema are scarce. When I watched them, I found Frampton's movies difficult and in need of repeated viewing. It is good that they are accessible, and in the excellent condition that Criterion is known for.

The movies themselves challenge the viewer. Frampton has some basic topics he likes to address: the material work of movies and moviemaking, forms of human experience and perception, the promises and disappointments of arcane knowledge. He likes to push the audience past the point of comfortable viewing. It an approach to film making that is directly related to the approach of conceptual artists, and it has the same effects. The experience of watching his movies, even short ones, can be confusing and stretch concentration past its limits.

There was a burst of creative film-making in New York beginning in the late 50s and running through the early 80s. For two generations, artists like Bruce Connor and Michael Snow, Lou Reed and Andy Warhol, Beth B and Richard Kern made movies that refused to let the audience sit comfortably in a dark room watching familiar projected images. Hollis Frampton is is one of the most important of those artists. By assembling this small collection, Criterion has made it a little easier to understand this difficult but important film maker.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Phxsns1 on August 22, 2012
Format: Blu-ray
Hollis Frampton's films are certainly not for everyone. In fact, Nostalgia and Zorns Lemma are the only ones I got any real "enjoyment" out of (make no mistake, I'm glad I saw everything). I would strongly encourage you to check out some of Frampton's work on Youtube before you buy this set.

The video quality on these films varies quite a bit. The earlier films look a bit rough, but Zorns Lemma, Nostalgia and The Magellan Cycle all look quite good. Criterion, I'm sure, has done the best they could with what they had.

Sound quality fairs the same. Many of these films lack a soundtrack, but when it's present, sound effects and dialogue come across well.

The extras are actually a fairly big draw to the set. Most of the films come with remarks by Hollis Frampton himself. He doesn't have the most engaging delivery, but his comments are interesting and provide some much needed insight into these films. A 20-minute interview with Frampton included, as well as a lecture by Frampton narrated by Michael Snow, and a collection of product labels designed by Frampton.

A terrific set, but not for the unconverted.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael N. Krugman on April 1, 2014
Format: DVD
Hollis Frampton was a seer and a prophet well ahead of his time. I had the good luck to take some film-history courses with him, and it was a revelatory experience. I mean, how many people could have predicted in 1971 that silver-emulsion film was going to all but disappear, and that virtually all film and photography would one day be in digital form, via the computer? Frampton, who died in 1984 at the age of 48, foresaw it all, yet he did not live to see the digital revolution. His films are not entertaining! They are, rather, intellectually stimulating, very much so. Each one of the experimental films in this collection is different, because each one was truly an experiment, not a just a knee-jerl repetition of some commercial formula. That said, I'm not totally convinced that seeing these films on DVD is the way to go. To really understand appreciate them for what they are, you must see them as a traditional film projection. But for those who might never have the chance, at least this release gives you a hint of what HF was all about.
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A Hollis Frampton Odyssey (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
This item: A Hollis Frampton Odyssey (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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