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Short 2: Dreams

3.0 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

This reissue of the second release in a series of DVD anthologies of short films, like its fellow Short titles, is loosely organized around a common theme--in this case, the terrain of the subconscious. The big fish here is Chris Marker's 1962 classic, La Jetée, the forever- haunting, post-apocalyptic story of a man's descent into a time-tripping dream state, where his origins and destiny fold together in one fleeting moment at an airport. If that scenario sounds somewhat similar to a certain Terry Gilliam feature (oh, OK, it's 12 Monkeys), you're right, and Gilliam can be heard on an alternate soundtrack here talking about the challenge and fun of being "inspired by" Marker's film. (Yet another alternate soundtrack features commentary by 12 Monkeys screenwriters David and Janet Peoples.) Not surprisingly, La Jetée turns out to be a hard act to follow, and there's not much on Short 2 that even comes close to its league. Alison De Vere's 1974 animated piece, Café Bar, about a blind date at a coffee house, is more intriguing for its historical value as a "brushsticks style" of crafting images than as a work of art. Joachim Solum and Thomas Lien's watery Depth Solitude is an effectively blunt and bizarre--but ultimately obvious--fable about a pool cleaner who lives in his deep-sea-diving suit at the bottom of a public swimming facility. The best thing going for it is an English-language narration by Max Von Sydow, who unfortunately is not involved with Carmen Elly's A Guy Walks into a Bar. This competent but wearying film, about a college-bound young man (Fred Savage) who meets up with a sexy hitchhiker (Allison Moir) and finds his world changed, does not inspire thoughts of a second viewing. On the plus side, there's an interview with independent director George Hickenlooper and an accompanying, interesting bit showing us a pre-production prototype of select scenes from Hickenlooper's The Big Brass Ring. If you've seen the latter movie in its finished state (based on an original script by Orson Welles and Oja Kodar), it is startling to watch an entirely different roster of actors (including Malcolm McDowell) in roles that Hickenlooper ultimately recast with William Hurt, Nigel Hawthorne, Miranda Richardson, and Irène Jacob. --Tom Keogh

Special Features

  • Short 2: Dreams, previously known as Short Cinema Journal 1:2 Includes: La Jetee (inspiration for Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys), The Big Brass Ring starring Malcolm McDowell and A Guy Walks Into A Bar starring Fred Savage
  • Filmmaker Commentaries
  • Alternate Video Tracks
  • Web Access
  • DVD-ROM Features

Product Details

  • Actors: Hélène Chatelain, Davos Hanich, Jacques Ledoux, Malcolm McDowell, Peter Heilrath
  • Directors: Chris Marker, George Hickenlooper, Carmen Elly
  • Format: Black & White, Color, Full Screen, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: January 4, 2000
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000031VPS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #198,669 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Short 2: Dreams" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kayla Rigney VINE VOICE on April 13, 2000
Verified Purchase
Okay; I'll admit it. I bought this DVD solely so I'd have a copy of La Jetée that doesn't degrade every time I watch it. Unfortunately, this version of La Jetée is narrated in ENGLISH. Huh?
The cadence of the original French narration is hypnotic -- and its meaning filled with subtleties that get lost in translation. It's a FRENCH thing.
One of the major perks of DVD ownership is the wondrous world of alternate audio tracks and a wide selection of subtitles. (You haven't lived until you watch Groundhog Day subtitled in French!) Evidently, Warner's thinks the babble of Chris Marker wannabe's is interesting. I certainly don't. I'd rather listen to the soundtrack of my childhood.
We all have defining moments. We all walk along one pier or another. La Jetée is an eerie, magical film whose importance in my life cannot be described.
I'll stick with my ancient, fuzzy VHS version in the original French, thank-you-very-much.
Yes, Warner's, there IS a difference.
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This DVD contains one of non-mainstream cinema's most haunting (there's that word again) classics, "La Jetee". A French short done (almost) entirely in B&W stills.

The problem is that the DVD has the 1962 narration, originally done in French with English subtitles, changed to ENGLISH narration.

This is NOT snobbery, but this really hurts the mood of the picture. It's not simply that they dared translate it, but (as one poster points out below) the English narration, aside from changing some of the meaning of the phrasing, is just not as well done as the French. The original French narration was as stark and ominous as the film itself, and the new English narration lacks this, altering the effect of the film, taking it not simply out of France but out of the era in which it was filmed.

Mistake!!! Allegedly, Chris Marker gave his thumbs up on the new narration. If true, that doesn't mean that much to me (Peter Weir cut 7 minutes out of his 1975 film "Picnic at Hanging Rock" years after the fact and, in so doing, ruined it!) Besides. Marker probably thought the English narration would make the film more accessible to American audiences.....

Well (and this WILL sound snobbish), film fans who are going to appreciate "La Jetee" are not the same folks, frankly, who will demand such changes. To do so, panders to an audience that "La Jetee" is never going to have anyway.

Find a fuzzy cassette copy with the original French narration: otherwise, you haven't really seen the film.
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Warner's, in reissuing this excellent disc, has added some audio commentary, but deleted some material. I imagine most people will buy this to see La Jetee, but they will miss the excellent documentary "The making of Portrait of a Lady," which was included on side 2 of the old version.
Oh well.
Warner's has also redone the menus and removed some fairly humorous interstitials.
Oh well again. Warner's are not known for their aesthetics (see the Eyes Wide Shut censored disc, for example) as much for their attention to the bottom line.
Comment 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Please note: I bought this DVD solely for La Jetee and had to return it when I found out that the version on "Short 2: Dreams" is the dreadful English language version. I have read elsewhere that Chris Marker approved this version as well as the French one, and that he allegedly liked this one better. I only hope this isn't true, since I consider La Jetee in French to be one of the great masterpieces in all of film and I have no use for the English-language version. Buyer beware!
La Jetee in French is hard to find on DVD in the U.S., but worth the search.
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The first film in this anthology is the classic French short La Jetee, a chilling haunting film that you won't be able to get out of your head for days. All the more remarkable because it is composed almost entirely of stills (there is a brief moving shot about 18 1/2 minutes in that is both startling and deeply moving). A masterpiece not only of French cinema, but of cinema itself. Unfortunately, things go downhill fast after this.
Cafe Bar is a brief short of two people who fail to connect in a cafe and fantasize about each other. It plays like it was written by Jules Feiffer on an off day.
Depth Solitude is visually striking, but the story is labored and obvious.
A Guy Walks Int a Bar stars Fred Savage as a naive young man headed for Hollywood who interacts with various seedy stereotypical characters in the desert. A bit too long at 27 minutes.
Bride of Resistor-- visually inventive, but the story is a yawn.
Eye Like a Strange Balloon gets my nod for second-best of this DVD. There are some incredibly surreal images, but damned if I can figure out what it's about.
Vincent: The Junkie Chronicles is a 9 minute excerpt from an interview with a junkie about the damage he's done to himself. Sad more than shocking.
There are two brief shorts on filmmaker George Hickenlooper's attempts to film an Orson Welles screenplay, which are of interest to diehard film fans only.
And finally there is the aptly named Junk Drawer, a bunch of pointless and juvenile fragments that are not worth your time.
WARNING: one item on the main menu is actually a collection of commercials!
Verdict: La Jetee and Eye Like a Strange Balloon are the only ones worth repeated viewings, a few of the others worth a look, and Junk Drawer is best avoided.
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