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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Amor omnie")

directed by Lars von Trier
Denmark / Sweden / France / Netherlands / Norway 1996

 

For those who aren’t aware of it, Lars von Trier is obsessed with Carl Dreyer. He views him as a father figure, his role model, his favorite film is “Ordet”, he used Henning Bendtsen as cinematographer on “Epidemic” and “Europa”, he bought the suit Dreyer wore at the opening of “Ordet” and wore it at the opening of “Europa” (and again in “Riget”) and finally, during an interview he announced “I am a Dreyer guy”.

 

Like “Ordet”, so does “Breaking the Waves” depict the conflict between dark religion, which preaches the fear of God, and light religion, which believes in the love of God, and Lars von Trier very wisely doesn’t question religion. Instead he employs the conflict as a tool by which to examine how love and goodness, a golden heart, leads to self-sacrifice and ultimately the martyrdom of Bess. Speaking of martyrdom, Lars von Trier made cinematographer Robby Müller shot Bess with same gaze as Falconetti in Dreyer’s “La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc”. As much he is a “Dreyer guy”, as much is “Breaking the Waves” a “Dreyer film”. But underneath this camouflage of allusion and homage, is a perverse love story, portraying the transformation of Bess from shy innocence to self-sacrificing sinner, thereby attacking our conventions of normality and goodness. Only Lars von Trier would dare to turn something as beautiful as innocent love into a perverse sadomasochistic relationship. This is a stroke of genius. By placing religion in the background, no one questions blind faith in religion, but instead asks, why Bess seeks humiliation and personal degradation to satisfy the wishes of Jan. Thru Bess, Lars von Trier is setting self imposed slavery, either by religion or by love, up against each other, thereby examining the conflict of dark vs. light religion, and ultimately showing us, that there is a God, that he is a pretty decent guy, who understands us more than we give him credit.

 

Breaking the Waves” is the first film by Lars von Trier where the technical side doesn’t feel intrusive on the story. Where his earlier films became more and more constrained by form, “Breaking the Waves” demonstrates a carefree freedom, with handheld camera and editing defying rules of lines, visual continuity, space and perspective. Lars von Trier always sets up rules for this and that, and while “Breaking the Waves” is as controlled as for instance the mise en scene of “Europa”, if not more, it never demands attention for its own sake. The same can be said about the acting, which is instinctive and natural, like the characters are being “caught in the act”. This approach to cinema has since become synonymous of the directing and films by Lars von Trier and in retrospect we can say, that “Breaking the Waves” was the first film, where Lars von Trier was a master and hence fully deserves the label “Masterpiece”. out of

Henrik Sylow

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 1996 - Cannes Film Festival - France

Reviews                                 More Reviews                                       DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Paramount - Region 2- PAL vs. Artisan - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Sandrew Metronome (Denmark) - Region 0 - PAL vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Ole Kofoed and to Vincent BOUCHÉ for the  DVD Screen Captures!

1) Paramount - Region 2- PAL LEFT

2) Artisan - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Sandrew Metronome - Region All - PAL - THIRD

4) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

  

Artificial Eye (UK) Blu-ray:

Distribution

Paramount

Region 2 - PAL

Artisan

Region 1  - NTSC

Sandrew Metronome
Region All Denmark - PAL
Criterion Collection, spine #705 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 2:32:22 (4% PAL speedup) 2:38:15 2:32:15 (4% PAL speedup) 2:39:21.552
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.62 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

2.23:1 Original Aspect Ratio

Bitrate: 5.6 mb/s

NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

2.23:1 Original Aspect Ratio

Bitrate: 6.51 mb/s

16X9 enhanced
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

Disc Size: 48,828,936,555 bytes

Feature Size: 33,955,147,776 bytes

Average Bitrate: 24.47 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

 

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Paramount R2

Bitrate:

 Artisan

Bitrate:

 Sandrew

Bitrate:

Blu-ray

Audio English and French DD2.0 Surround English Dolby Digital 2.0

English Dolby Digital 5.1 and Italian Dub DD 2.0

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2416 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2416 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Subtitles French None Danish, Danish for the hearing impaired, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Italian, Greek, French, German, Portuguese, Romanian, Czech, Hebrew and none. English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Sandrew Metronome

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.23:1

Edition Details:
• Photo Gallery

DVD Release Date: 15 March 2000
Amaray case

Chapters 10

 

 

Release Information:
Studio: Artisan Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen Letterboxed - 2.234:1

Edition Details:

  • 4:3 Trailer.(3:18)
  • Production notes.

DVD Release Date: July 25, 2000
Keep Case

Chapters 40

Release Information:
Studio: Sandrew Metronome

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.23:1

Edition Details:

  • Selected commentary with Lars von Trier, editor Anders Refn - Interviewed by Dod Mantle (In English) (Total 44:42 - PAL).
  • Excerpts from the documentary 'Tranceformer - A Film about Lars von Trier' (17:27).
  • Interview with Adrian Rawlins (2:09).
  • Casting of Emily Watson (with optional commentary) (2:05).
  • In Memomory of Katrin Cartlidge (Deleted scene) (1:11).
  • Lars von Trier promo clip - Made for the Cannes Festival 1996 (0:15).
  • 2 deleted scenes (with optional commentary) (3:34)(2:53).
  • 2 extended scenes (with optional commentary) (3:18) (1:32).
  • Trailers for Dogville, Europa, Breaking the Waves, The Kingdom, Dancer in the Dark and The Idiots.
  • 2-DVD set.
  • Extras are subtitled in English (When there is non-English spoken), Italian, Greek and Portuguese.

DVD Release Date: December 2, 2003
Keep Case

Chapters 20

 

NOTE: The Danish release has (as shown in theatres):  Davie Bowie's "Life on Mars" on the last "inter-title" while all other old video/DVD-releases (including Criterion's Laserdisc)  have Elton John's "Your Song" - so this should be the first release that have the original soundtrack. The Bowie song was removed because of problems with song rights.

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Disc Size: 48,828,936,555 bytes

Feature Size: 33,955,147,776 bytes

Average Bitrate: 24.47 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

Edition Details:

• Selected-scene audio commentary featuring von Trier, editor Anders Refn, and location scout Anthony Dod Mantle (47:14 - chapters: Cutting on Emotion, Primitive Visual Cuts, Mantle's Funeral, Violent Time Cuts,  All Bible Bashers at Heart, Rage at Test Screenings, Directing via  Video link)
• New interview with filmmaker and critic Stig Björkman (10:27)
• New interviews with actors Emily Watson (17:12) and Stellan Skarsgård (12:26)
• Interview from 2004 with actor Adrian Rawlins (2:11)
• Excerpts from Watson’s audition tape, with commentary by von Trier (2:08)
• Deleted and extended scenes, with commentary by von Trier (Deleted: 3:34 + 2:56 Extended: 3:20 + 1:34)
• Deleted scene featuring the late actor Katrin Cartlidge (1;15)
• Cannes Film Festival promotional clip (:17)
• Trailer (2:02)
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic David Sterritt and an excerpt from the 1999 book Trier on von Trier

2 DVDs with all the features of the Blu-ray
 

Blu-ray Release Date: April 15th, 2014
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 20

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - March 2014': I have no explanation why the new 1080P transfer of Breaking the Waves differs so dramatically from the decade-old DVDs, excepting that Criterion's new 4K digital restoration was supervised by director Lars von Trier. It has a very earthy brown tone, is darker and I occasionally felt it was yellow/golden. It shows more information - mostly on both side edges and clocks-in at about a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. It shows the grain textures very well without looking 'noisy' or displaying artifacts as the SD was prone to. It looks great in-motion and, eventually, I found the color-shift less noticeable.

Daniel tells us in email "For what it's worth, looking at the captures for the new 4K Criterion version, they look the way I remember the theatrical version looking back in 1997 when I first saw the film. It appears to be a great looking transfer." (Thanks Daniel!)

Audio is transferred via a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at 2416 kbps. Separations are evident from the frequent wind to more subtle effects. I had forgotten all the great music in Breaking the Waves, if often incomplete songs from the likes of Bob Dylan, Rod Stewart, T-Rex, Leonard Cohen, Elton John (Goodbye Yellow Brick Road), David Bowie, Roxy Music and more. The uncompressed adds a layer of crispness. There are optional English subtitles on the region 'A'-locked Blu-ray disc.

NOTE: David Bowie's "Life on Mars" is used at the Funeral Title card (Not the Elton John's "Your Song".)

Criterion include the same selected-scene audio commentary, as found on the 2003 Sandrew Metronome DVD. It features von Trier, editor Anders Refn, and location scout Anthony Dod Mantle. It runs 47:14 and the chapter titles are Cutting on Emotion, Primitive Visual Cuts, Mantle's Funeral, Violent Time Cuts, All Bible Bashers at Heart, Rage at Test Screenings, and Directing via Video link. Criterion have a new (May 2013) 10-minute interview with filmmaker and critic Stig Björkman talking about the on-location shooting of Breaking the Waves and observing Lars von Trier at work. There are also new interviews with actors Emily Watson (17-minutes conducted by Criterion in June 2013) discussing the challenges she faced playing the complicated character Bess, and 12-minutes with Stellan Skarsgård from may 2013 discussing the director for the first time on Breaking the Waves a swell as their subsequent collaborations. There is a brief 2004 interview with actor Adrian Rawlins and some excerpts from Watson’s audition tape, with commentary by von Trier. Criterion also have the 2 deleted and 2 extended scenes, with commentary by von Trier as found on the Danish DVD and a deleted scene featuring the late actor Katrin Cartlidge. Lastly are a 17-second Cannes Film Festival promotional clip and a trailer. The package contains a liner notes booklet featuring an essay by critic David Sterritt and an excerpt from the 1999 book Trier on von Trier. The dual-format set has 2 DVDs with all the features of the Blu-ray.

What can be said of Breaking the Waves. It remains a powerful viewing experience and the director's experimentation is still fascinating to behold. It is incredibly emotional and penetrating with memorable performances. The Criterion Blu-ray was like seeing the draining film afresh. The new video extras are much appreciated. Recommend! 

***

ADDITION (Paramount Region 2 - July 04) - the Paramount R2 is hazy but uncensored. The Artisan is still the sharpest image. The Sandrew still has the best audio and extras.

***

Well, we are not really looking at the same film here with the Artisan being censored, but as far as transfers go... they are about even. Same colors, no cropping, aspect ratio maintained. I see a tiny smidgen of green in the Sandrew/Metronome release as well as it being slightly brighter, but the mere fact of its anamorphic stature, better extras and for the boosted 5.1 sound. Widescreen TV owners will notice quicker, but the Region 2 is the way to go.

The audio commentary on the Sandrew/Metronome DVD is below any standard. Not only of very short duration to begin with, but it is spread out over 6 chapters, making it more like footnotes, where Anthony Dod Mantle and Anders Refn add some depth, and where Lars von Trier rarely is serious.

 - Gary Tooze.


Menus

(Paramount - Region 2- PAL LEFT vs. Artisan - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Sandrew Metronome - Region All - PAL - RIGHT)


   

 

Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

Screen Captures

1) Paramount - Region 2- PAL TOP

2) Artisan - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Sandrew Metronome - Region All - PAL - THIRD

4) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Paramount - Region 2- PAL TOP

2) Artisan - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Sandrew Metronome - Region All - PAL - THIRD

4) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Paramount - Region 2- PAL TOP

2) Artisan - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Sandrew Metronome - Region All - PAL - THIRD

4) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Paramount - Region 2- PAL TOP

2) Artisan - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Sandrew Metronome - Region All - PAL - THIRD

4) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Paramount - Region 2- PAL TOP

2) Artisan - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Sandrew Metronome - Region All - PAL - THIRD

4) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Paramount - Region 2- PAL TOP

2) Artisan - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Sandrew Metronome - Region All - PAL - THIRD

4) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Paramount - Region 2- PAL TOP

2) Sandrew Metronome - Region All - PAL - SECOND

3) Artisan - Region 1 - NTSC- THIRD

4) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

The Artisan DVD is censored.  This is from the Paramount (first) Sandrew Metronome (second)  at 18:10

 

 

This is as close as the Artisan gets. From IMDb:" The director's cut of then film, featuring explicit shots removed from the US version for ratings purposes, is available on Criterion laserdisc". This is incorrect as the original version isn't a 'directors cut' just the original uncut version.

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 


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Report Card:

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras:

Blu-ray

 

Box Covers

  

Artificial Eye (UK) Blu-ray:

Distribution

Paramount

Region 2 - PAL

Artisan

Region 1  - NTSC

Sandrew Metronome
Region All Denmark - PAL
Criterion Collection, spine #705 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray




 

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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...