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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r


directed by Mark Joffe
Australia 1996


Having decided to allocate what limited funds there are to "drama therapy" rather than other necessary resources, the director of a local asylum (Tony Llewellyn-Jones, PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK), his head nurse Errol (Colin Friels, DARK CITY), and occupational therapist Sandra (Kerry Walker, THE PIANO) hire inexperienced Lewis (Ben Mendelsohn, ANIMAL KINGDOM) who is looking for a job after drama school to support himself and his law student girlfriend Lucy (Rachel Griffiths, THE ROOKIE). Although Sandra believes a variety show would be best suited to their patients, exhuberent and outspoken Roy (Barry Otto, BLISS) surges ahead with his desire to stage a production of Mozart's comic opera Cosė Fan Tutte despite the fact that no one can act or sing (least of all in Italian). Lewis is indecisive but Errol - who is either very optimistic or looking forward to a train wreck - suggests they start with the dialogue and gradually incorporate the music. Although Roy disparages Lewis' decisions at every turn, he needs him to whip his cast into shape: including Roy himself, timid Ruth (WENTWORTH PRISON's Pamela Rabe), soulful junkie Julie (Toni Collette, THE SIXTH SENSE), batty and violent Cherry (Jacki Weaver, SQUIZZY TAYLOR), stuttering Henry (HOME AND AWAY's Paul Chubb), and pyromaniac Doug (TOP OF THE LAKE's David Wenham). As they make their way with great difficulty through the play, its sexual politics shed light on their own pasts and relationships, not to mention that of Lewis and his suspicions about long-suffering Lucy and his more "successful" director friend Nick (Aden Young, THE TREE). Working with his cast of mental patients also forces him to reluctantly confront his long-suppressed feelings about his own mother's mental illness. One of the more widely-exported Australian features of the nineties worldwide indepedendent fare boom, COSI's frenzied staging and barnstorming performances get the laughs and wring out the drama off the stage while unfortunately treating the actual performance as a comic highlight of sight gags that turns the mental patients into a freak show for a howling audience before an ending wrap-up that feels a bit limp. Performances are overall good even when Otto, Weaver, and Wenham are required to chew scenery, making up for some of the more limp drama in the triangle between Mendelsohn, Griffiths, and Young. Based on the play by Louis Nowra (MAP OF THE HUMAN HEART).

Eric Cotenas


Theatrical Release: 11 April 1997 (USA)

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DVD Review: Umbrella Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Umbrella Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:40:24

1.80:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.74 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 2.0 Stereo
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Umbrella Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.80:1

Edition Details:
� none

DVD Release Date: March 7th, 2018

Chapters 15



While Umbrella's DVD of VISITORS was a direct port of the earlier Fox DVD, their new DVD of COSI is not a port of Village Roadshow's PAL DVD - which sported a 5.1 track - but a barebones progressive, anamorphic and windowboxed NTSC transfer using an old master with a 2.0 stereo track (probably the same one used for Lionsgate's 2012 American DVD which had a surround-flagged 2.0 track). It gets the job done, but this film certainly deserves better. There are subtitle options, extras, or even menus.

  - Eric Cotenas


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DVD Box Cover

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Umbrella Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC














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