(aka 'To Return')

Directed by Pedro Almodóvar
Spain 2006

 

  You'll need a scorecard to keep track of all the folks making their way homeward in Volver, Pedro Almodóvar's latest and most affecting tribute to the beauty, resilience and compassion of all womankind. His title, taken from a ballad performed midway through the film, is the Spanish infinitive "to return," and the narrative involves two sisters, Raimunda (Penélope Cruz) and Sole (Lola Dueńas), whose lives are thrown into (further) disarray by the spectral appearance of their late mother, looking bedraggled and apologetic. That the ghost is played by Carmen Maura, who hasn't worked with Almodóvar since 1988's Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, constitutes another reunion; furthermore, a good hunk of the movie takes place in La Mancha, the director's provincial hometown. And then there's Cruz's belated return to respectability after several misguided years spent as Hollywood's generic Latina eye candy.

Excerpt from Mike D'Angelo's review at the Nerve Film Lounge located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: March 10th, 2006

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DVD Comparison:

 20th Century Fox/Pathe (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC

(20th Century Fox/Pathe (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL LEFT vs. Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT)

DVD Box Cover

 

Distribution 20th Century Fox Home Video - Region 2 - PAL Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:55:56  2:00:52 
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.77 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.56 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.

Bitrate:  PAL

Bitrate:  NTSC

Audio Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), DUB: English (Dolby Digital 5.1) Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Subtitles English, None NOTE: English subs available on commentary track as well English, None NOTE: English subs available on commentary track as well
Features

Release Information:
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by Pedro Almodóvar and Penélope Cruz
• Behind the Scenes (7:48)
• Taking the film to Cannes featurette (16:56)
• Table discussion with Almodóvar and cast (37:58)
• Separate interviews with Almodóvar (10 minutes), Cruz (5 minutes) and Carmen Maura (8 minutes)
• 'Informe Semanal' TV show spot (39:52)

DVD Release Date: February 12th, 2007

Standard Keep Case inside cardboard box
Chapters:
8

Release Information:
Studio: Sony Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by Pedro Almodóvar and Penélope Cruz
• 'Making Of...' (7:48)
• Tribute to Penelope Cruz (18:09)
• Separate interviews with Almodóvar (10 minutes), Cruz (5 minutes) and Carmen Maura (8 minutes)
• Photo Gallery

• Poster Gallery

• Previews

DVD Release Date: April 3rd, 2007

Standard Keep Case
Chapters:
28

 

 

Comments:

ADDITION: Sony Pictures - Region 1- NTSC - March 07': Image quality is very similar with the PAL given a very small edge for improved sharpness (NTSC has disc filled with extras where on the PAL they are mostly on the 2nd DVD) - it also shows a little more information in the frame. Neither though are enough to swing a buying decision in my opinion.

The PAL offers an English DUB track, which the Sony does not.

The Fox (PAL) subtitles are an appealing white where the NTSC are Sony's usual ghastly intrusive yellow. Both offer subs for the commentary track but translation can be slightly different at times.

Extras: Both have the same commentary and the PAL 'Behind the Scenes' is the same as the NTSC "Making of...". The three separate interviews are on both packages with Almodóvar (10 minutes), Cruz (5 minutes) and Carmen Maura (8 minutes).

PAL adds Taking the film to Cannes featurette (16:56), table discussion with Almodóvar and cast (37:58) and the 'Informe Semanal' TV show spot (39:52). The NTSC adds an 18 minute Tribute to Penelope Cruz with Kenneth Turan talking to the lady, a poster gallery and a photo gallery.

Compression is better on the PAL disc as the supplements are moved onto the 2nd DVD and hence the PAL bitrate (bits / second) is superior.

Overall the PAL DVD package is the winner but it depends on your personal needs and wants if it is worth it. For me the subtitle color is enough of a reason.

***

This is a very good transfer from Fox/Pathe. It is as bright and sharp as you might expect a modern film to appear on DVD. Colors look exceptionally strong and the transfer is progressive and anamorphic in the film's intended 2.35 aspect ratio. It is coded for region 2 in the PAL standard. There are optional English subtitles for both the feature film and the Almodóvar / Cruz commentary. The audio track is original in a resoundingly untested 5.1 also offering an English DUB. The music sounds buoyant and beautiful. No complaints at all on the image or audio.

Supplements are quite strong with a light, but informative commentary by Pedro Almodóvar occasionally supported by Penélope Cruz. It is in Spanish with optional English subtitles. On disc 2 we have a few featurettes and interviews - Behind the Scenes (7:48) has no dialogue and is really a roving camera as the film was made. Taking the film to Cannes featurette lasts 16:56. There is a 'table discussion' with Almodóvar and cast that has some glad-handing and is representative of a bit of a reunion (37:58). There are three separate interviews with Almodóvar (10 minutes), Cruz (5 minutes) and Carmen Maura (8 minutes) and finally a TV spot entitled 'Informe Semanal' running about 40 minutes. I also found this final piece just as interesting as the others. All Spanish speaking extras have English subtitles. There are no liner notes and the keep case is standard (double) inside a cardboard box.

If there is such a thing - this is a typical Almodóvar film and I don't know that I can give it any higher praise than that. He remains one the most interesting and exciting filmmakers working today. He works in a kind of controlled sense that anything can occur and hence you are constantly fascinated and kept off guard with his narrative movements, be it humor or pathos.   

Gary W. Tooze

 

 



DVD Menus

 

(20th Century Fox/Pathe (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL LEFT vs. Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT)


 
 
 
 

Disc 2 of (20th Century Fox/Pathe (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL

 


Subtitle Sample

NOTE: Not exact frame

 

(20th Century Fox/Pathe (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 

Commentary Subtitle Sample

 

(20th Century Fox/Pathe (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

(20th Century Fox/Pathe (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


 

(20th Century Fox/Pathe (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


 

(20th Century Fox/Pathe (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


 

(20th Century Fox/Pathe (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


 
(20th Century Fox/Pathe (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)
 

 

 


DVD Box Cover

 

Distribution 20th Century Fox Home Video - Region 2 - PAL Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC




 

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