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Edvard Munch-Special Edition 2-DVD Set

3.3 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

This is the first commercial US release of the extended 2-part version of Peter Watkins
masterpiece

"Famously described by Ingmar Bergman as a ""work of genius"", Peter Watkins' multi-faceted masterpiece is more than just a bio-pic of the iconic Norwegian Expressionist painter. Focusing initially on Munch's formative years in late 19th Century Kristiania (now Oslo), Watkins uses his trademark style to create a vivid picture of the emotional, political and social upheavals that would have such an effect on his art.

The young artist (Geir Westby) has an affair with ""Mrs Heiberg"" (Gro Fraas), a devastating experience that will haunt him for the rest of his life, and his work is viciously attacked by the critics and public alike. He is forced to leave his home country for Berlin, where, along with the notorious
Swedish playwright August Strindberg, he becomes part of the cultural storm that is to sweep Europe.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Berit Rytter Hasle, Nils-Egar Pettersen, Rachel Pedersen, Kare Stormark, Peter Watkins
  • Directors: Peter Watkins
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled
  • Language: English, Norwegian
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: New Yorker Video
  • DVD Release Date: November 13, 2007
  • Run Time: 220 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000UUX2VE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,833 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Peter Watkins' "Edvard Munch" is a biopic that has us peek into the culture and time of Munch's Norway. While we experience the tension and fragility of the artist we are given falshbacks and narrative overlays that strip the "documentary" of any feeling of artificiality. I cannot think of any other documentary that functions with such immersive absorption. Munch's art is the depiction of a soul's shadow with no substance to shade that which it illuminates. The Norwegian painter did not want to submerge the outer world in a welter of subjective colors, as in the work of later expressionists like Georges Rouault and Emil Nolde; or to dissolve it (nearly) in a swirling, intensely private vision, like Van Gogh's paintings or to disturbingly illustrate a tenuous self-pity as in the work of Egon Schile. Nor did he want to ring variations on realism in which the inner world is merely hinted at, as Manet did. Like his contemporary and fellow countryman Ibsen, Munch wanted to make inner life as recognizable as physical reality, and outer life as immediately felt as an emotion.
He neither uses color to excite emotional states in the viewer, which was the aim of the German expressionists Munch influenced, nor employs color to provoke the eye, which was the goal of the French fauves who cleared the path for the German expressionists. For all their symbolic resonances and personal inflections, Munch's colors describe his subjects through indolence and fatigued disarray, with gossamer-light brush strokes visible on the canvas like embodiments of the afflicted pathos and distilled by the gravitas of a melancholy hopelessness.
In Munch, strong feeling both dignifies a person and threatens to destroy his humanity.
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Format: VHS Tape
I've seen this twice, the first time in its theatrical showing, maybe twenty years ago, then more recently on video, which as I recall was also in widescreen. So that's six hours with Watkins' demandingly beautiful film. For awhile I later confused Watkins with David Watkins, the fabulous photographer of OUT OF AFRICA, and for all I know these two filmmakers are related. EDVARD MUNCH is a masterpiece of tonalities. This is a movie about light. You are in a Munch work just by the demanding beauty of the light and of Watkins' inspired painterliness with rich Munch-like blues. The smokey blue scenes in Bohemian bars have the same dense sense of lost time recaptured as do scenes of Munch painting in his attics and scoring his pictures violently as the sharp end of his brush digs into fresh paint and almost rips his canvas. When you think of John Huston's MOULIN ROUGE, a dull film with some good moments, particularly when Lautrec's "hand" draws figures on a restaurant table, we remember mostly idle moments in Lautrec's lovelife (and of course the Can-Can dancers). From EDVARD MUNCH we recall far more extraordinary feelings of being lifted out of ourselves and thrust back into the very rooms Munch lived in and the into the Scandanavian light he worked in and into the tortured set of his mind as he shrank figures into hard, strong, symbolic forms. I await the day this film appears digitally (it was never a laser disc, sad to say, or I'd have it already). Since it may not be issued on DVD for eight or ten years, seek the video cassette version. You will watch it more than once. Maybe not in the same year but it will be a respected treasure that you will thank yourself for having sought out. Or rent it first. Maybe you don't really have to own it if it will be on hand for renting. Still, not all that many stores will have it ready to rent, now that it's out of print. And even if the video is not in widescreen, you will be dazzled just by the blue tones filling the monitor.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Edvard Munch is the Citizen Kane that nobody saw. From a storytelling point of view, its portrayal of the constant torment that led to Munch's art is oddly enthralling throughout its 3+ hr length. From a filmmaking point of view, Munch is like no other (except, perhaps, Watkins other later work). To my knowledge, no one has so expertly reproduced the personal thoughts and internal feelings of a man on screen as Watkins does in Munch. Sounds, images, narration, recollections--all float in and out of Munch's consciousness and into ours during this captivating biography on the Norwegian artist most famous for "The Shriek."
Perhaps every aspect of this film is avant-garde, from its editing all the way down to its casting (many parts were played by non-professionals), but perhaps no other movie has enveloped me in its universe the way that Munch does. I have always marveled at how little-known Peter Watkins' Edvard Munch is, and I've been so thankful that it found me. You will be too.
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Format: VHS Tape
EDVARD MUNCH is an ambitious, often heavy-going effort to transcend traditional artist biographies with a cinematic equivalent of the artist's paintings. It fails, but on the way succeeds in so many other ways that the failure almost doesn't matter.
In interviews, director Peter Watkins has been explicit about his total identification with Munch, how in the obsessive effort to portray the artist's life on screen, he effectively was revealing his own neuroses and experiences. People might be put off by the results. Watkins gives the film the look of a fictional biography. He then films events as if he were a documentary filmmaker present at the time. So there is a lot of loose, hand-held camera; there are "interviews" with actors (many of whom improvised or wrote their responses) speaking in character; and Watkins himself frequently intrudes with narration that helps us understand both Munch's significance in the history of art and how his times influenced his work. The voice-over also tells us what Munch feels and experiences, much as the narrator of a novel pretends to know what his protagonist is thinking at any given moment.
It is this effort to reveal the relationship between the artist's turmoil and his work that motivates the kaleidoscopic editing style, jumping from one event in the "present," to one in the past, sideways to another, back to something else we've already seen, then out again. Sometimes these edits are built on visual associations; often Watkins relies on the soundtrack to glue them together. It is here that the film's ambitions start to unravel. Other filmmakers who have used such technique (Eisenstein, Resnais, Godard and Roeg, for example) let their cuts ebb and flow over time.
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