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directed by David Gordon Green
USA 2000

Over the course of one hot summer, a group of children in the rural south are forced to confront a tangle of difficult choices in a decaying world. An ambitiously constructed, sensuously photographed meditation on adolescence, the first feature film by director David Gordon Green features breakout performances from an award-winning ensemble cast.

***

George Washington is a meandering, moody, and hypnotic look at a group of black children, ages 9 to 14, during one summer in North Carolina. This was my second viewing and it remained a deeply satisfying experience. Though at times self-conscious, George Washington brings to mind Terence Malick's Days of Heaven with its voice-over narration, languid, dreamy tone, and gorgeous cinematography.

The youngsters are shown talking and playing aimlessly among the squalid junkyards and abandoned buildings of their neighborhood. They do not talk much about their hopes for the future but focus on their families and their girl friends and boy friends. The dialogue is partly improvised and, like
Days of Heaven, allows the characters to speak in a manner that is slightly more poetic and contemplative than the average teenager.

Excerpt from Howard Schumann's excellent review on IMdb located HERE

Theatrical Release: September 9th, 2000 - Toronto Film Festival

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Comparison:

Criterion- Region 0 - NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Covers

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 152 - Region 0 - NTSC Criterion Collection, spine #152 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:30:45 1:30:17.036
Video 2.28:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.33 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

Disc Size: 48,772,126,502 bytes

Feature Size: 26,779,011,072 bytes

Average Bitrate: 35.20 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:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)  DTS-HD Master Audio English 2084 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2084 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Subtitles English, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion / Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 2.28:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by director David Gordon Green, cinematographer Tim Orr, and actor Paul Schneider
• Deleted scene with commentary
• Original theatrical trailer
• David Gordon Green’s short films, made while he was a student at the North Carolina School of the Arts, Pleasant Grove (with commentary) and Physical Pinball
• Charlie Rose interview with David Gordon Green Exclusive new video interviews with the cast
• Clu Gulager’s 1969 short film A Day with the Boys, an influence on George Washington

• 4 page liner notes of "Director's Statement"

DVD Release Date: March 12th, 2002

Keep Case
Chapters: 16

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio: 2.25:1

Disc Size: 48,772,126,502 bytes

Feature Size: 26,779,011,072 bytes

Average Bitrate: 35.20 Mbps

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

 

Edition Details:
• Commentary by director David Gordon Green, cinematographer Tim Orr, and actor Paul Schneider
• Deleted scene with commentary (8:27)
• Original theatrical trailer (1:37)
• David Gordon Green’s short films, made while he was a student at the North Carolina School of the Arts, Pleasant Grove (with commentary) - 14:56 and Physical Pinball (20:28)
• Charlie Rose interview with David Gordon Green Exclusive new video interviews with the cast (14:39)
• Clu Gulager’s 1969 short film A Day with the Boys, an influence on George Washington (17:58)

Cast Reunion (15:56)

• 4 page liner notes of "Director's Statement

DVD containing all the features and all the extras of the Blu-ray

Blu-ray Release Date: March 11th, 2014
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 16

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - February 2014': Criterion's 1080P transfer maintains the independent film's saturated appearance occasionally looking heavy. It is much sharper and crisper than the 2002 DVD and shows a shade more information in the frame. It shows more depth and colors are richer and tighter. This has some beautifully shot scenes and looks quite pleasing in 1080P.

The film's audio is transferred via a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at, a solid, 2084 kbps. The score is by Michael Linnen and David Wingo (also composed for the short Pleasant Grove included on the old DVD and Blu-ray) and there are no issues and everything sounds competent and audible. There are optional English subtitles on the region 'A'-locked Blu-ray.

The Blu-ray has all the supplements of their previous DVD. Which include the 2001 commentary by director David Gordon Green, cinematographer Tim Orr, and actor Paul Schneider discussing details of the production. We get two of David Gordon Green’s short films. Pleasant Grove runs 15-minutes, with an optional commentary, and was made while he was a student at the North Carolina School of the Arts. It was the inspiration for George Washington. Physical Pinball runs over 20-minutes and was made in 1998, also when he was a student. It features Candace Evanofski and Eddie Rouse, two of the actors in George Washington. A Day with the Boys was directed by character actor Clu Gulager and shot by cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs. It runs 17-minutes and was a key influence on George Washington. Criterion include an 8.5 minute Deleted scene, with optional commentary by director David Gordon Green, cinematographer Tim Orr, and actor Paul Schneider, of a scene featuring a town meeting that was not included in the final cut. The Charlie Rose interview with David Gordon Green runs 15-minutes includes exclusive new video interviews with the cast who are also shown in a reunion - organized by Criterion in September 2001 in High Point, North Carolina. Writer/director Green conducted the interviews with actors about the making of the film and their lives since. It runs 15-minutes. Rounding out the supplements is a trailer and liner notes with a 'Director's Statement' and an essay by critic Armond White. The package is dual-format and has a DVD containing all the features and all the extras of the Blu-ray.

Brilliant film. I had not seen George Washington in years and was quickly reminded of the film's genius. I love this Blu-ray - a wonderful keepsake to revisit for the rest of my life. Strongly recommended!

***

ON THE DVD: This is an upper-tier priced Criterion - but worth every penny.  Although modestly produced as an independent effort the slightly inferior quality of the master is only moderately realized on this DVD. The film is a great work of art reminiscent of many of cinema's great auteurs.  Extras are bountiful with commentary and shorts. Fabulous work by Criterion bringing this to DVD.

Gary W. Tooze


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1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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

 

More Blu-ray captures


Box Covers

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 152 - Region 0 - NTSC Criterion Collection, spine #152 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray



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Gary Tooze