Directed by Sidney King
USA
2004

 

Pearl Diver is a well-told, well-photographed, well-acted film. There is sparse dialogue that goes with the sparse life in this community. Houses are spotlessly clean and people readily share to help their friends in need. It is, indeed, a community. The landscape, with fields and sunsets, becomes part of the story, as director King uses it almost like having a curtain drop in a play to announce the end of one act and the beginning of another.

The kitchen is sometimes the first room one enters in a house and is a place of welcome and safety. Matters of the heart and hearth are discussed in a kitchen and Amy's kitchen happens to be the one in which Amy and Kim grew up. In the lives of these two sisters, however, it became a place of violence. Writer/director Sidney King gives his audience quite a tale.

Excerpt from Mary Asner's review at The Phantom Tollbooth located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: October 15th, 2004

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DVD Review: Monterey Video - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Monterey Video - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:36:42 
Video 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:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Monterey Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• Trailer
• Deleted Scenes
• Thoughts From Director (4:3 - 7:00)

DVD Release Date: April 29th, 200
8
Keep Case
Chapters: 10

 

Comments:

This independent feature from 2004 that has garnered some healthy reaction at multiple small festivals including; 'Best Narrative Feature' at both the Winnipeg International and East Lansing Film Festivals, the 'Crystal Heart Award' at the Heartland Film Festival, the 'Grand Jury Prize' at the Indianapolis International Film Festival and 'Best Cinematography' at Woods Hole Film Festival. So I was anxious to see it and it didn't disappoint. A relatively passive and introspective film about two sisters and how they continue to respectively carry the pain of the twenty-year-old death of their mother. Truths are revealed and cathartic emotions exercised to the surface. It has a lot of realism and strong, almost vérité, performances.

Unfortunately the Monterey Video DVD has some weaknesses. Although anamorphic - it is single-layered and interlaced exhibiting 'combing' (see last large capture). Aside from that it is fairly clean and sharp while colors are bright - so certainly watchable on CRT systems even though it shows healthy digital noise at times. The 2.0 channel audio is clear enough but no optional subtitles are offered.  I suppose the pragmatic DVD transfer is showing the films similar production-limitation roots. Which are really not fatal for standard viewing. 

Supplements include a trailer, three short, fairly inconsequential, deleted scenes ('First dinner at home', 'John has doubts' and 'after the mediation') with some extended scenes and a brief 7 minute spiel by the director, Sidney King, as segments of the film run or behind the scenes still shots are shown. At DVDBeaver we can appreciate the limited budget this revered film has in bringing Pearl Diver to digital and can't point too many fingers at the weaknesses - and the bonus features are appreciated. We encourage more work like this and this is one film, albeit perhaps overly reserved for most, that does an excellent job of instilling its small town roots and homey 'feel'. It deserves an audience and we recommend to those who are prepared to indulge in a viable but decidedly dissimilar-to-Hollywood production. 

Gary W. Tooze

 



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Visible 'combing'
 

 


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Distribution Monterey Video - Region 1 - NTSC




 

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