Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by Tom Tykwer
Germany / Italy / USA / France / UK 2002

The unfortunate death of Polish master director Krzysztof Kieslowski in 1996 left us a beautiful, but short legacy of films including The Decalogue, The Double Life of Veronique, and the Trois Couleurs trilogy (Blue, White, and Red). Remaining was an unfinished script, collaborated on by Krzysztof Piesiewicz, which had intended to be the first film of a new trilogy with "Heaven" being the initial entry, followed by "Hell" and "Purgatory". Piesiewicz has continued to pursue the completion and the un-filmed script for "Heaven" remained Kieslowski's final written work and in 2002 was undertaken with the production involvement of both Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella. The director would be Tom Tykwer.

 

The multi-layered story revolves around a simple premise of two unlikely fugitives fleeing through Italy's countryside. The scenery is gorgeous. It evolves into a hypnotic story of love between a young man and a women that he barely knows. She is seven years his senior but his magnetic desire for her is so cemented that it borders on a strongly disciplined yet whimsical pipe-dream.

 

Before the opening credits have completed Philippa, (Cate Blanchett), a British teacher living in Turin, has concluded an act of desperation by planting a bomb to kill a drug lord who she blames for her husband's death and who also responsible for making addictive substances available to her students. Corruption in the Government carbinieris  has inhibited her viable attempts at exposing this man for incarceration. Following the explosion Philippa is arrested and during interrogated she is told that the bomb she placed had missed its intended target and unfortunately killed 4 people riding the elevator; a cleaning lady, a father and his two young daughters . She is almost catatonic with devastation. After she faints, a translator/stenographer named Filippo (Giovanni Ribisi) has his hand tightly gripped by her as she awakens. It is a defining moment.

 

Both Filippo and Philippa are now lost; her in unfathomable guilt and his in an overwhelming emotional response to her. Filippo is a fascinating young man who never seems to question his actions or motives. Eventually he plots and plans Philippa's successful escape. Although I personally found Ribisi's portrayal only mildly captivating, this aspect of the character Filippo is the most fascinating part of the film for me. The moment his hand was squeezed by Philippa it became the penultimate moment in his life. His actions as a result were so undemonstrative and mature, so far beyond simply 'cool', that it is almost appears to be a fantasy.

 

Philippa learns to love and accept that she can be loved again through fleeing and unifying with Filippo. She is also overwhelmed by his understated yet powerful response to her. It could be viewed as a love story in the extreme; one side giving up everything in their universe unselfishly aware that it may not be reciprocated at all. His loss is everything, and his gain is undetermined. True love... but extremely fatalistically defined. The insanity of her acts, the madness of his escape plans... and Filippo never second guesses himself, as if he is compelled by a force seemingly beyond his control. It is this way because it must be. Both riveting and head scratching at the same time.

 

Kieslowski's vivid identity is littered throughout many scenes, and to even attempt to pursue impinging upon his signature must have been a worrisome task for Tykwer. What comes through is Tykwer's own vision but a gentle homage to Kieslowski can be felt rustling like leaves in the wind. Kieslowskian telltale coincidence in the script are giveaways in both the protagonists names and their birth dates, yet as typical with the master director's territory, neither are overtly discussed. Slow camera pans and a wonderful score (additional music written by Tykwer himself) bring a warm reminiscence. This was by no means Kieslowski in his prime, but rather a Tykwer/Kieslowski hybrid that I have revisited on two separate occasions escalating my ultra-romanticized perceptions. What I am left with is a mesmerizing attraction towards art, cinema, Kieslowski, love, redemption, honesty and fatalism...  out of   

Gary W. Tooze

Posters

Theatrical Release: 6 February 2002 (Berlin International Film Festival)

Reviews                       More Reviews                           DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Alliance Atlantis / Buena Vista -  Region 1 - NTSC vs. Echo Bridge - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

1) Alliance - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Echo Bridge - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

   

 

 

 

 

Distribution Alliance Atlantis - Region 1- NTSC

Echo Bridge / Miramax

Region 'A'  - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:36:51 1:37:05.861
Video 1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.86 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 17,591,192,158 bytes

Feature: 16,366,325,760 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.65 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate: Blu-ray

 

Audio English and partial Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1) DTS-HD Master Audio English 1560 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1560 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB)
Subtitles English, French, None English (only for Italian dialogue), None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Buena Vista Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary by director Tom Tykwer
• Featurette "The Story of Heaven" (4:3 - 6:18)

• Space Cam Fly-by (4:16)

• Sneak Peeks (4 trailers)
• 5 Deleted Scenes with optional commentary (non-anamorphic widescreen)

DVD Release Date: June 17th, 2003
Keep Case
Chapters: 15

Release Information:
Studio:
Echo Bridge / Miramax

 

Aspect Ratio:- 1.78:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 17,591,192,158 bytes

Feature: 16,366,325,760 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.65 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• Featurette "The Story of Heaven" (4:3 - 6:1
7 in 4801)

Blu-ray Release Date: May 7th, 2013
Standard
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 12

Comments:

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

 

ADDITION: Echo Bridge / Miramax - Region 'A' - Blu-ray (April 2013): The new Blu-ray is certainly leaner than the 2003 DVD in terms of extras. Regarding the image the frame gets opened -up to 1.78:1 (so we get slightly more information in the frame) - it continues to look a shade waxy, detail and contrast modestly rise. Colors lighten but have tighter lines. This is an extremely visual film (excellent cinematography by Frank Griebe - see Run, Lola Run and Paris Je T'aime) so the 1080P improvement becomes notable. Certain scenes are crisp - others less so - not dissimilar to the SD in that respect.

 

Audio comes in the form of a DTS-HD Master stereo track at 1560 kbps (no more surround?!) and the film has some minor gunplay and a soundtrack with Alexander Malter's (and separately David Arden) piano "Für Alina" as well as a few compositions by Tykwer. It sounds strong filling the film's contemplative silences with soothing orchestrations. The English subtitles are only optional for the Italian dialogue (which is extensive throughout the film.)

 

In regards to the supplements - we lose the commentary and deleted (with optional commentary) scenes but retain the 'Story of Heaven' featurette. How hard would it have been to include them?

 

Bottom line is that Echo Bridge / Miramax have really gone 'cheapo' with this Blu-ray. We lose the surround audio, the full subtitles and the best of the extras. What gives? I consider this quite a shame because I am still a big fan of 'Heaven'.

***

ON THE DVD: This appears to be a duplicate of the Buena-Vista Region 1 (US) DVD simply relabeled and packaged by Alliance Atlantis (Canada).

A very solid transfer with hints of DNR which is a shame because other than that it appears to be an authentic image - bright colors, good contrast, good skin tones (that don't look touched up). Curiously, the original soundtrack language is English with partial Italian, and the subtitle choices allow you to watch the film with English subtitles over the Italian dialog only (default), French subtitles throughout the entire film, English subtitles over both the Italian and English dialog, or none. I would have preferred white subs to yellow (as always). The 5.1 audio is never tested as a lot of the film is told through its images. Great Extras with a director commentary, deleted scenes and a short featurette.

Gary W. Tooze


Menus

1) Alliance - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Echo Bridge - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT


 

 


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

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) Alliance - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Echo Bridge - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

Screen Captures

1) Alliance - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Echo Bridge - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Alliance - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Echo Bridge - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Alliance - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Echo Bridge - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Alliance - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Echo Bridge - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Alliance - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Echo Bridge - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Alliance - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Echo Bridge - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Alliance - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Echo Bridge - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 


 

Box Covers

   

 

 

 

 

Distribution Alliance Atlantis - Region 1- NTSC

Echo Bridge / Miramax

Region 'A'  - Blu-ray



 

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

 CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...