(aka 'Dark Circle' or 'I Don't Want To Sleep Alone' or 'Hei yan quan')

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/tsai.htm
Malaysia / China / Taiwan / France / Austria 2006

 

However true that is, ‘...Sleep Alone’ proves that there has been no fundamental change in Tsai’s unique method of cinematic enquiry: his use of elemental metaphor or motif (especially water); contextualising longshot; his downplay of often inexpressive verbal intercourse in favour of wordless gesture, glance, touch (or sexual encounter) as a way of conjuring up the magic or pain of relationships; or his ability (with his cinematographer Liao Pen Jung) to film urban landscapes so expressively as to make them almost function like characters, often as lonely as the human ones, in his compassionate social architecture. It’s a film not only about social disintegration, but also about grace under undue pressure, where the giving of a cigarette to a stranger means far more than ‘a drop of kindness in a million sorrows’.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: September 4th, 2006 - Venice Film festival

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DVD Comparison:

Strand - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Axiom - Region 0 - PAL

(Strand - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT vs. Axiom - Region 0 - PAL RIGHT)

DVD Box Cover

Distribution Strand Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC Axiom Films - Region 0 - PAL
Runtime 1:58:12  1:53:40 (4% PAL speedup)
Video 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 3.90 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

1.98:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.51 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

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

Bitrate:  Strand

Bitrate:  Axiom

Audio Taiwanese / Malay / Mandarin / Bengali (Dolby Digital 2.0)  Taiwanese / Malay / Mandarin / Bengali (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, (non-removable) English, none
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Strand Releasing

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1

Edition Details:

• trailer
• Ad for other Strand titles

DVD Release Date: November 6th, 2007

Keep Case
Chapters: 12

Release Information:
Studio: Axiom Films

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.98:1

Edition Details:

• Interview with Tsai by Tony Rayns (40:03)

• 2 Still Galleries

DVD Release Date: February 11th, 2008

Green Keep Case
Chapters: 12

 

Comments:

ADDITION: Axiom Films (UK) - Region 0 - PAL - June 08' -  Well, thank goodness for Axiom Films as they appear to be 'righting' the wrongs made by Strand in North America. Their dual-layered release of another Tsai film (see The Wayward Cloud) is again vastly superior to their NTSC counterpart. Unlike the Strand, this release is progressive as well as smoother, sharper and with less artifacts.

NOTE: The Axiom is at a ratio of about 1.98:1 so it appears some information is lost at the top and bottom of the frame. We are still looking into this.

Bonus again in that another 40 minutes from the session with Rayns/Tsai is included. This appears to be from the same interview as the segment seen on their The Wayward Cloud disc. Two stills galleries and it's all good folks. Get the Axiom!

ON THE STRAND: Strand Releasing has become synonymous with weak, overpriced transfers. Here again we have a single-layered, interlaced DVD with no viable supplements and non-removable subtitles selling for as much as a Criterion DVD. This film is fabulous - couldn't anyone else put on DVD?

Being interlaced this DVD is really only fit for CRT viewing. Anything beyond that and the combing (see last capture) becomes visible and impinges upon the viewing experience. Luckily, I still have a tube and it looked acceptable - but the excessively large subtitle font is another disturbance. There is some fairly unnoticeable edge enhancement too.  Audio was fairly clear and the subtitling, although imperfect at times, do the job (they actually cover everything including unrelated song lyrics in the background).  

No supplements save a trailer and some Strand adverts. So, the DVD sucks, onto the film - I enjoyed it as I did Vive L'Amour. Poignant pauses and some amusing humor - all very cool and definitely worth seeing. Only you can determine if seeing it would be worth the exorbitant Strand price. It's unfathomable to me that they keep doing this without competition - but scratching my head doesn't get you the DVD. Unfortunately this appears to be the only English-friendly game in town at present. 

Gary W. Tooze

 

 



DVD Menus

 

(Strand - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT vs. Axiom - Region 0 - PAL RIGHT)


 
 

 


Subtitle Sample

 

(Strand - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Axiom - Region 0 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

(Strand - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Axiom - Region 0 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


 

(Strand - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Axiom - Region 0 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


 

(Strand - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Axiom - Region 0 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


 

(Strand - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Axiom - Region 0 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


 
(Strand - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Axiom - Region 0 - PAL BOTTOM)
 

 

 


(Strand - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Axiom - Region 0 - PAL BOTTOM)
 

 


Combing visible on the Strand...
 

 


Report Card:

 

Image:

Axiom

Sound:

-

Extras: Axiom
Menu: Axiom

DVD Box Cover

Distribution Strand Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC Axiom Films - Region 0 - PAL




 

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Gary Tooze

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