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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Barren Lives')

Directed by Nelson Pereira dos Santos
Brazil 1963

Vidas Secas (Barren Lives) is the cornerstone of the Cinema Novo movement. Derived from Graciliano Ramos' eponymous novel, this Brazilian GRAPES OF WRATH is set in the early 1940s, and describes two years in the life of an itinerant cowhand's family struggling to eke out an existence in the drought-ravaged, landowner-dominated sertão of the country's Northeast. The film is stark in its imagery and a powerful documentation of the uprooted. At the time of its theatrical release, Vidas Secas was considered the absolute last word as a realistic film depiction of the wretched of the earth. Today it somehow seems much more ­ a white-hot, almost mystically intense pilgrim's progress through an unending purgatory with no other side.


Theatrical Release: December 11th, 1967

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DVD Review: New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution New Yorker Video - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:39:51 
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.45 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

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


Audio Portuguese (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, None

Release Information:
Studio: New Yorker Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Discussion: Robert Stam (12:21)
• Short Film: Baleia the Dog (19:54)
• 6-page liner notes with interview with Nelson Pereira dos Santos

DVD Release Date: January 10th, 2005

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Chapters: 20





I have much confidence in New Yorker films regarding the future of their DVD production. They appears to be taking huge strides (Punishment Park, Loving Couples) as well as frequent baby steps. This would be considered the latter. Firstly the film is a true masterpiece. I wouldn't have even been aware of this had it not been for Ny'er. A fabulous choice of release. The transfer is akin top their past standard - non-progressive (see 'combing' example below) but certainly tube acceptable - moderately sharp with removable English subtitles and some very worthy extras. Contrast is very good - it looks to be shade glossy at times.  We recommend this film quite highly and this DVD may be the only vehicle for seeing it in the next decade. BUY !

Gary W. Tooze


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Combing noticeable


DVD Box Cover


CLICK to order from:

Distribution New Yorker Video - Region 1 - NTSC


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