(aka "Night of the Shooting Stars" or "The Night of San Lorenzo")

 

directed by Paolo & Vittorio Taviani
Italy 1982

 

Set in the Tuscan countryside during the conflict between the Italian fascists and the peasants at the end of World War II, this is pretty much a recollection from the director's childhood. However, it is told through the eyes of a small girl who records the events surrounding the evacuation of her village, the coming of the Americans and the fight between the peasants and the fascists.

The Taviani brothers have constructed here an epic account of historical events and personal experiences, a beautiful wedlock of realistic and poetic elements which is a homage to the rich tradition of neorealism. Borrowing themes from Rosseltini's Paisa, the Taviani brothers pave the way for a breakthrough in contemporary cinematography. They blend inventively the realist theme of the past with the naturalistic element inherent in their work (Knos, The Night Sun) infusing into the film flashes of surrealism. The scene for example, of the battle where the young girl conjures a fantastic moment where partisans are being perceived as Greek warriors, while the fascist who threatens her life falls dead as he is pierced by several spears. It's a film whose richness is epitomised by the aesthetic perfection of its imagery and the emotional intensity brought about by the abrupt portrayal of war and by the immeasurable warmth characterising human relationships. One can never forget the sequence where two young girls meet some GIs - the encounter between Italy and America recurring once more in the Tavianis' films - or the poetic moment where Galvano (Antonutti) confesses his love to a woman (Lozano). But the Tavianis display also an ability to shock with the brutality with which they record the events of the war. The scene where a fascist young boy is shot dead by the partisans in front of the eyes of his father who almost simultaneously commits suicide remains one of the most powerful in all cinema. Again the directors do not allow narrow ideology to creep into the film, and the end result is one of remarkable honesty and integrity.

Photographed in the rich colours of the Italian landscape, and supplemented by a melancholic yet strai~gely nostalgic score by Nicola Piovani, The Night of San Lorenzo introduces a truly sublime vision to cinema. For all those who still believe in cinema as magic, here is a masterpiece to see and treasure in your memory.

Posters

Theatrical Release: USA 29 September 1982 (New York Film Festival)

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

MGM - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Infinity Arthouse (2 disc) - Region 0 - PAL vs. Future Film - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Per-Olof Strandberg and Per-olof Strandberg for the Screen Caps!

(MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Infinity Arthouse (2 disc) - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Future Film - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

Distribution

MGM

Region 1 - NTSC

Infinity Arthouse (2 disc)
Region 0 - PAL
Future Film
Region 2 - PAL
Runtime 1:46:56 1:42:44 (4% PAL speedup) 1:42:48 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1:1.66 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.40 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1:1.78 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.09 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1:1.78 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.14 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:

 

MGM

 

Bitrate:

 

Infinity Arthouse (2 disc)

 

Bitrate:

 

Future Film

 

Audio Italian (2.0 Dolby Digital)

Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0)

Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0)

Subtitles English, French, Spanish, None English, None Finnish, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian and None NO ENGLISH SUBTITLES
Features Release Information:
Studio: MGM

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1:1.66

Edition Details:
• Trailer
• DVD-5

DVD Release Date: July 1, 2003
Keep Case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Infinity Arthouse (2 disc)

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1:1.78

Edition Details:
• Italian portraits - The Taviani Brothers (54:26)
• Talking about cinema (1:23:59)
• DVD-5 (The Film) DVD-9 (Extras)

 

DVD Release Date: April 17, 2006
Keep Case in Folder

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Future Film

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1:1.78

Edition Details:
• None
• DVD-5

 

DVD Release Date: April 19, 2006
Digi Pack

Chapters 18

 

 

Comments This is one of my all time favourites, that hasn't got a justified treatment on Digital media. What were they thinking in Infinity Arthouse, when they published this DVD, or did they have any thoughts at all? Their DVD is a strong winner for the biggest disappointment in 2006. If they have any decency at all, they re-call this DVD, and find a better master (or borrow the Nordic one).

We have here three different versions on DVD, with big difference in color timing. The UK (Infinity Arthouse) is the weakest of these three. Taken from an analog master there is combing trough the film, the picture is heavily cropped on all sides (zoomed in), and the colors are dull, The non-anamorphic image has an old videotape appearance, and the dark scenes are so black that it's sometimes hard to see what's happening in the picture (do you see in #3 that the other ladder is cropped from the framing). It's hard to understand how this mess has ever ended up on a DVD in 2006.

The MGM R1 DVD is from 2003, and it's their typical standard on foreign films. The colors seems saturated, the picture is cropped on the both sides, it's quite soft and non-anamorphic, but for the English speaking audience, it's still a better option than the horrible UK disc!

The Nordic DVD is the best of these three, but far from what it could be. The image is also non anamorphic, even though it has been cropped at the top and bottom to fit 16:9 TV sets. The image is much sharper than the R1 (see the grass in #6). I'm not sure of the colors, I don't remember the film had so muted hues in the cinema. The big disappointment is that the Nordic DVD doesn't have English subtitles, and thus is only for a minor group of people. But it shows that there is a more decent PAL master available, than the one used in UK. The UK DVD has two long features as an extra material, that I haven't seen.

NOTE 1
The Nordic DVD doesn't have ENGLISH SUBTITLES.

NOTE 2
The Nordic DVD has different distributors in every country, even tough the disc is the same. In Finland Future Film, Sweden Atlantic Film, and later this year probably in Denmark from Criterion Film DK.

 - Per-Olof Strandberg

 

 






DVD Menus

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MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Infinity Arthouse (2 disc) - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Future Film - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)


 

 

 

 


 

Screen Captures

(MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Infinity Arthouse (2 disc) - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Future Film - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Infinity Arthouse (2 disc) - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Future Film - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Infinity Arthouse (2 disc) - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Future Film - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Infinity Arthouse (2 disc) - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Future Film - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Infinity Arthouse (2 disc) - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Future Film - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Infinity Arthouse (2 disc) - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Future Film - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


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Image:

Future Film

Sound:

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Extras: Infinity Arthouse
Menu: Future Film
DVD Box Covers

Distribution

MGM

Region 1 - NTSC

Infinity Arthouse (2 disc)
Region 0 - PAL
Future Film
Region 2 - PAL




 

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