H D - S E N S E I
A view on Hi-def discs by Gary W. Tooze
Introduction: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be
it, but film will always be my first love and I list my
favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible
Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player
Gary W. Tooze
El Norte aka 'The North' [Blu-ray]
(Gregory Nava, 1983)
Review by Gary Tooze
Feature Runtime: 2:20:55.095
Disc Size: 49,601,312,700 bytes
Feature Size: 34,279,845,888 bytes
Average Bitrate: 32.43 Mbps
One dual-layered Blu-ray
Case: Custom Fold-Out Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase
Release date: January 20th, 2009
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
•New audio commentary featuring director Greg Nava
• In the Service of the Shadows: The Making of El Norte: a new video program featuring interviews with Nava, producer and cowriter Anna Thomas, actors Zaide Silvia Gutiérrez and David Villalpando, and set designer David Wasco (58:20 in HD!)
• Wall of Silence, a new short documentary by Nava and Barbara Martinez Jitner, concerning the building of the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border (3:06 in HD!)
• The Journal of Diego Rodriguez Silva, the 1972 award-winning student film by Nava (30:06 in HD!)
• Scouting in Chipas -Gallery of location-scouting photographs
• Theatrical trailer
• Liner notes booklet featuring an essay by novelist Héctor Tobar and Roger Ebert's 1983 review of the film
Product Description: Brother and sister Enrique and Rosa flee persecution at home in Guatemala and journey north, through Mexico and on to the United States, with the dream of starting a new life. It’s a story that happens every day, but until Gregory Nava’s groundbreaking El Norte (The North), the personal travails of immigrants crossing the border to America had never been shown in the movies with such urgent humanism. A work of social realism imbued with dreamlike imagery, El Norte is a lovingly rendered, heartbreaking story of hope and survival, which critic Roger Ebert called “a Grapes of Wrath for our time.”
From the very first moments of "El Norte," we know that we are in the hands of a great movie. It tells a simple story in such a romantic and poetic way that we are touched, deeply and honestly, and we know we will remember the film for a long time. The movie tells the story of two young Guatemalans, a brother and sister named Rosa and Enrique, and of their long trek up through Mexico to el Norte -- the United States. Their journey begins in a small village and ends in Los Angeles, and their dream is the American Dream.
Excerpt from Robert Ebert's review at the Chicago Sun-Times located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Expectantly competent dual-layered 1080P image from Criterion - it shows a healthy amount of good grain. This, definitely, is not a glossy, smooth transfer but maintains a marvellously realistic quality that I feel must be accurate to the filmmakers final intentions (Nava claims in the commentary not to want an overly grainy, artistic, look). Other observations I noted were a bit of shakiness in the camera - more noticeable on some of the more prescient shots of the sunsets of mountain-sides. The transfer does a splendid job of supporting the natural light (indoor candles etc.) - with frequent magic hour cinematography in the first 1/3 of the film. Nava does a great job of relying on, and infusing, Latin American inspirations while sourcing symbolic imagery from ancient Mayan text. It is quite marvelous to behold. It's important to remember that the film is 25-years old now but I thought detail, colors and contrast were quite strong although looking visually accurate but dissimilar to other modern film Blu-ray discs. This isn't 100% flawless with very light smatterings of background noise but generally the image presents a graceful, consistent and highly pleasing appearance. It gains comfort as the film rolls along. El Norte on Blu-ray is damage-free and exhibits occasional depth (see the goat below). The dual-layered disc (taking over 49 Gig!) gives us a warm, detailed representation of the theatrical in every important aspect. The MPEG-4 encode has done a super job of retaining the film's textures. I expect this advances beyond Criterion's, simultaneously released, DVD but perhaps we can compare when it arrives (we have done so HERE)!. I give this Criterion image top marks - very worthy of this masterpiece film.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Audio & Music:
January 6th, 2008
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