Henri Cartier-Bresson may be considered the father of modern photojournalism, but he was not solely a photographer. This lavish collector’s edition includes: a series of documentaries about the artist, which allows us to (re)discover his powerful and rare photographic work; five major works directed by Cartier-Bresson himself; and a 32-page illustrated collectible book containing criticism of his work as well as reproductions of his legendary photographs.
Henri Cartier-Bresson is remembered as one of the greatest photographers ever – but he was also an avid and talented filmmaker. Several documentaries he shot between the 1930s and the 1970s bear witness to his affection for the cinema, a medium that he sees as “an alternative to photography in the way it sees the world and captures its movement.” A new, 2-disc collection released by New Video includes includes five of his major films plus a series of documentaries about the artist. A 32-page illustrated booklet containing reproductions of his legendary photos completes the package. Timed to release before the first retrospective of Cartier-Bresson’s works in the US in three decades at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Henri Cartier-Bresson: Collector’s Edition will become available on 30 March 2010, priced at $49.95.
If only every historical figure had a two-disc set, that spans over five hours worth of material, available to the public so that they could not only become informed about their works but to also see them then we’d probably find a lot of history much more exciting. New Video brings us a massive collection of Cartier-Bresson’s past works as well as documentaries about them to DVD for the first time and while some of these efforts have been seen previously (notably the more famous “The Impassioned Eye” documentary from 2003, which is the first thing you’ll see on the second disc), this is the first collection that has all of them packed into one nice and tidy set.
As far as crash courses in history go, this is probably one of the better collections I’ve seen focusing on one individual. It spans everything from Cartier-Bresson’s more well-known career in photography all the way to his love for film as shown through his five documentaries that are included here (two of which were restored from archives). It’s really quite an interesting journey, as even though the documentaries are sometimes primitive in nature, they’re still thoroughly captivating. But it’s the documentaries on the second disc that really help you appreciate the man and his talents, as “The Impassioned Eye” really is just quite possibly one of the most informative and enlightening pieces one could hope for when it comes to talking about one single man and his influence.
It certainly helps if you’re already interested in the field of photography before viewing this collection but honestly the man had such an amazing outlook on life and such a passion for what he was doing that it’s as equally inspiring as it is enjoyable to watch. There is truly a lot on this collection to check out and I highly doubt anyone could possibly be disappointed with this one.
Included on this set:
Victory of Life* (1937)
Spain Will Live* (1938)
The Return (1945)
California Impressions (1970)
Southern Exposures (1971)
* Restored from the Archives Françaises du Film du Centre National de la Cinématographie, Ministère de la Culture
Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Impassioned Eye (2003)
Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Adventure (1962)
Contacts: Henri Cartier-Bresson (1994)
Flagrants délits (1967)
A Day in the Studio of Henri Cartier-Bresson (2005)
Lest We Forget: Letter to Mamadou Bâ (1991)
Overall this is a fantastic collection and one that comes Highly Recommended.
The set itself arrives in a fold-out digi-pak setup with the aforementioned 32-page booklet. The set is a bit pricey, but with over five hours of content it’s hard to pass up quite honestly. The packaging is well done and the menu system laid out nicely. Video is a mixed bag as some of the footage dates back all the way to 1937 so obviously it’s not going to be in the most immaculate of condition, but overall it’s a very nicely done set. Some of the audio is a bit dated sounding, but the Dolby Stereo 2.0 mix is strong enough to keep one attentive.
There’s really nothing more to say about this set—there are no extras and there certainly doesn’t need to be with the kind of spread this set has. Obviously if you’re a random observer you aren’t going to want to pop $50 down on this set, but if you’re already a fan of his works or in the photography field then you really should add this to your collection and study it thoroughly. Not only are Cartier-Bresson’s works beautiful, but so was the man. Recommended.
Henri Cartier-Bresson: Collector’s Edition arrives on DVD on March 30th.