Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Down to Earth" )

 

directed by Pedro Costa
Portugal/France/Germany 1994

Leao (Isaach De Bankole, WHITE MATERIAL), a Cape Verdian man working on a construction site in Portugal has a fall and ends up in a coma. While still comatose, arrangements are made from his hometown to have him sent back. A nurse, Mariana (Ines de Medeiros, O SANGUE), ready for a change of scene, volunteers to accompany him. Upon her arrival, nothing is as she expects. No one seems to be waiting for Leao.

As Mariana waits for someone to turn up, even Leao from out of his coma, she gets increasingly involved with the mysterious community and the intrigue mounts. In fact, CASA DE LAVA recalls CHINATOWN, where the nosy outsider steps into a situation that turns out to be much more than was bargained for.

The narrative itself, however, takes a back seat to poetics, which crafts stanzas out of ellipses and assumes a meter of remarkably edited cinematic rhythm. Director Pedro Costa creates some arresting portraiture, especially the selective low-angled close-ups, while cinematographer Emmanuel Machuel arrives at some exquisite night shots. The mise-en-scene ranges from highly suggestive to quite stealthy. An arsenal of symbolism, audio-visual disjunction, and insinuating edits work to paint a portrait of the social landscape. The pacing of CASA DE LAVA never languishes; the music is always in the moving image, whether the infectious Cape Verdian soundtrack is playing or not.

Fred Patton

Posters

Theatrical Release: 10 February 1995 (Portugal)

Reviews                          More Reviews                           DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Gemini Video Editions - Region 2 - PAL vs. Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL

Big thanks to Fred Patton and Eric Cotenas for the Screen Caps!

(Gemini Video Editions - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Gemini Video Editions

Region 2 - PAL

Second Run DVD
Region 0 - PAL
Runtime 1:45:28 (4% PAL speedup) 1:45:28 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.63:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.4 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.65:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.5 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

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

Bitrate:

 

Gemini Video Editions

 

Bitrate:

 

Second Run DVD

 

Audio Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo

Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo

Subtitles English, French, Portuguese, none English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Gemini Video Editions

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.63:1

Edition Details:
• Pedro Costa's Notebook (31:11)
• Interview with cinematographer Emmanuel Machuel (7:47)
• Film Analysis by Serge Kaganski (4:11)
• Poster Gallery
• Still Gallery
• Filmographies
• Trailers for O SANGUE, OSSOS, CASA DE LAVA

DVD Release Date: 17 January 2005
Amaray

Chapters 14

Release Information:
Studio: Second Run DVD

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.65:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with director Pedro Costa (16:9; 18:44)
• Interview with cinematographer Emmanuel Machuel (4:3; 7:57)
• The Other CASA DE LAVA - extracts from Pedro Costa's scrapbook (16:9; 23:41)
• New Essay Booklet by Jonathan Rosenbaum

 

DVD Release Date: 24 September 2012
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Second Run's dual-layer, anamorphic DVD is mastered from a new director-supervised HD master which is brighter and appears to handle the contrasts of the sun-baked cinematography (as well as the night scenes) better than the previous SD master. The sound mix is supposed to be Dolby Stereo, but the remastered audio mix - while vibrant - is not too directional (although the mix suits the film's atmosphere).

Pedro Costa appears in an English-language interview shot at the Tate Gallery in 2009 (the Eureka Entertainment copyright suggests that Costa's discussion of COLOSSAL YOUTH on the Eureka "Masters of Cinema" release and this may have been part of a career-length discussion). Costa confirms Jonathan Rosenbaum's assertion in the disc's liner notes essay that the film was at first mounted as a remake of Jacques Tourneur's I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (which was later remade in a more straightforward yet less satisfactory adaptation as RITUAL in 2002 as the intended third installment of Universal's TALES FROM THE CRYPT feature film series but ended up shelved for several years before being purchased by Miramax and released straight to DVD). Costa discusses the difficulty of financing his second feature despite O SANGUE's reception and his conflicts with the cast and crew when he decided to abandon (and even boycott) his own script (he refers to the shooting of the film as his APOCALYPSE NOW). He (as does Rosenbaum in the booklet) also discusses the importance of this film to his subsequent Cape Verde-set films (the Robert Desnos poem recited in this film - in the form of a love letter - is heard repeatedly in his later films, and a character late in the film even shouts "Juvemtude em Marcha" the Portuguese title of the later Costa film better known as COLOSSAL YOUTH).

The French disc also featured excerpts from Costa's scrapbook, but Second Run's version is newly-created (set to the music of Raul Andrade from the film and the ambient sounds recorded by Henri Maikoff during the production). Since it runs shorter than the version on the French disc, I'm not sure whether anything has been omitted or if the the former simply lingered longer on each page. The scrapbook really does not get us that much closer to Costa's original scenario (some brief subtitle captioning of the text or pictures might have been useful), but it may give viewers a hint of the filmic world Costa had constructed for the project before it was ruptured. Although copyrighted 2012, cinematographer Emmanuel Machuel's interview is presumably the same one as seen on the French disc (it is in 4:3 unlike the other extras). Machuel's discussion is extremely generalized and seems to be more about the general working method rather than his actual collaboration with Costa.

 - Eric Cotenas

FRED PATTON ON THE FRENCH RELEASE: The disc is subtitled throughout the bonus content and the film. This seems to be a standard for Gemini Vid?o Editions, who decide on some 15 films to release a year and handle them like artworks. While there is no director commentary or interview with the director, the provided supplements are excellent. Costa's preparation notebook is a gem. Kaganski's commentary is quite brief. Machuel's 8 minute talk is nice. All said, the extras are perhaps a wee bit lean, but the notebook slide show leaves me very satisfied. I look forward to pursuing the rest of Gemini's catalogue.

 


DVD Menus
(Gemini Video Editions - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL - RIGHT)


 

 

 

 


 

Screen Captures

(Gemini Video Editions - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)
Subtitle sample

 


(Gemini Video Editions - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Gemini Video Editions - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Gemini Video Editions - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Gemini Video Editions - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Gemini Video Editions - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Gemini Video Editions - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Second Run

Sound:

Draw

Extras: Second Run

 
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Gemini Video Editions

Region 2 - PAL

Second Run DVD
Region 0 - PAL

 

 




Search DVDBeaver
S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

Hit Counter

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!