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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "The Devil" )

 

directed by Andrzej Zulawski
Poland 1972

 

Formerly banned in Poland, Zulawski's second feature is set during the bloody Prussian invasion of Poland where a Satanic figure in black (Wojciech Pszoniak) frees a Jakub (Leszek Teleszynski), imprisoned for conspiracy to murder the king, in return for a list of his fellow conspirators. Traveling across a snowy, fiery, hellish war-torn landscape with a hostage nun, and this diabolic figure in tow, Jakub finds his family, friends, and loves either dead, insane, or political turncoats. A sprawling epic at just over two hours (film-speed), filled with blood, sex, and hysteria, this film is vintage Zulawski. The overstated performances aren't so much overacting as embodying emotional states (including some familiar shamanistic gyrating on the part of more then a few madwomen). Disguised as a period film about the Prussian invasion, critics have observed that it was actually Zulawki's commentary on the Poland he had grown up in. Consequently, the film was banned for seventeen years in its native country. As with previous Zulawski films, I find each one to be a revelation and highly recommend this one (hopefully a better presentation will come along).

Eric Cotenas

Theatrical Release: Formerly Banned in Poland

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DVD Review: PolArt - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

PolArt

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:58:52 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.38 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

Audio Polish Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: PolArt

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.66:1

Edition Details:
• Talent Bios
• Also Available (DVD covers - not trailers)

DVD Release Date: 23 October 2007
Amaray

Chapters 18

 

Comments:

Unfortunately, PolArt's possibly unauthorized DVD (distributed by Facets) is a PAL-NTSC standards conversion. Since the film's look is conceptually dark with harsh contrasts, the conversion causes a lot of streakiness, smearing, ghosting, and other artefacts in the image. The film's look is so intentionally dark throughout that nothing short of a new HD master will do this visually stunning film justice.

It is, however, the only English-subtitled release so far (the French and Polish releases have no English subtitles, are also non-anamorphic, and reportedly not much better transfer-wise minus the conversion artefacts). The mono sound is very strong with Zulawski regular Andrzej Korszynski's aggressively modern score coming through effectively.

 -Eric Cotenas

 



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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

PolArt

Region 0 - NTSC

 





 

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