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.
Theatrical Release: October 15th, 2004
DVD Review: Monterey Video - Region 1 - NTSC
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|Distribution||Monterey Video - Region 1 - NTSC|
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.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital 2.0)|
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.