Principally structured as an oral history, Spike Lee’s four-hour HBO doc charts the horrific events that have devastated New Orleans in the last 12 months. The many stories of the bureaucratic bungling, political scapegoating and personal traumas in the aftermath of Katrina are as shocking as the footage of death and suffering during the storm itself. Lee’s invaluable film is shot through with feelings of pain, outrage and exasperation, returning again and again to the question of how the world’s richest country could let this happen to its own people. Two un-shocking answers: race and money.
Theatrical Release: August 16th, 2006
DVD Review: HBO (3-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC
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|Distribution||HBO Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC|
|Runtime||2:06:44 + 2:08:52|
Average Bitrate: 6.66 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||English (Dolby Digital 5.1), DUB: Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)|
|Subtitles||Spanish, French, None|
complete four-part documentary on two discs (3rd with extras)
This documentary hit me quite hard. I actually am having difficulty penning a review.
A nicely appointed package houses three dual-layered DVDs in a book-style triple-tiered case. The 4 hour documentary is divided into 4 director-segmented chapters - 2 on each of the first 2 discs. The transfers are progressive but combing is visible in the digital footage (news and independent) as it was inherent in the source(s). Essentially this is not about the image quality - which is just fine - it is about the content. The audio track, a 5.1, sounds particularly crisp and haunting. There are optional French or Spanish subtitles and a Spanish DUB is available.
Each segment of the documentary has an optional Spike Lee commentary. He is his usual charismatic self, extremely frank and he dishes out liberal does of humor and pathos. There are some gaps but the film is over 4 hours long. Disc 3 includes Act V - a kind of unnecessary epilogue with more interviews - it runs about 1:45:00. Also a beautifully arranged slideshow sequence using a gallery of photos by David Lee with poignant music by Terry Blanchard. I watched this 4 times.
This is the best documentary film I have seen in a long time. The content will be on my mind for many years. A must-see especially if you are like myself and were not aware in the slightest of the monumental impact of Hurricane Katrina when it surfaced in the news in 2005. I strongly urge everyone to see this.
DVD Menus - Disc 1 + 2
Menus - Disc 3