Directed by Anne Feinsilber
France USA 200
6

 

Director Anne Feinsilber offers an impressionistic look at the life, legend and lasting influence of a legendary outlaw in this documentary. Born William Henry McCarty and later known as William H. Bonney, Billy the Kid was a petty thief who later joined up with a gang of outlaws and horse thieves, and developed a reputation as a bloodthirsty gunman (which history suggests wasn't truly deserved) when he was shot and killed in 1881 by Pat Garrett, a New Mexico sheriff who knew Billy from his earlier career as a bartender. Billy the Kid's life quickly became the stuff of legend, and filmmaker Feinsilber travels to New Mexico in search of the elusive truth about the outlaw, as well as learning what he means to others. While comparing Billy to such existential poets as Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine, the film also looks into the facts of his life as researched Tom Sullivan, a lawman and western history buff in New Mexico. The film also features interviews with Kris Kristofferson and Rudy Wurlitzer, respectively the star and screenwriter of Sam Peckinpah's film PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID as they discuss Billy the Kid as a cultural metaphor and counterculture icon. Requiem for Billy the Kid received its world premiere at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.

 

***

 

Requiem For Billy The Kid is a rather dreamy and strangely haunting documentary concerned with investigating the myth that Henry McCarty AKA William Bonney AKA Billy the Kid was never gunned down by Pat Garrett; but actually lived out the rest of his days in peace and to a ripe old age.

Requiem’s narrative unfurls like fragments of a waking dream, with Kris Kristofferson speaking as Billy from beyond the grave and doing his best gruff ‘ole boy voice-over, imbued with calm sincerity and tender reflection. Director and co-writer Anne Feinsilber also narrates, and at times she and Kristofferson even interact as though she had resurrected Billy the Kid for one last interview. These moments are strangely touching as they each appear so unguarded, familiar and earnest.

A treatise on the American Old West, Requiem drips with a kind of nostalgic pathos, richly enhanced by the breathtakingly beautiful photography courtesy of Patrick Ghiringhelli, capturing the grandeur and intimacy of New Mexico with its vast plains, canyons, rugged vistas and sparse, never-ending scope - it’s all enough to make Sergio Leone blush.

Excerpt from James Gracey at Eye For Film located HERE

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Theatrical Release: May 20th, 2006 - Cannes Film Festival

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DVD Review: Park Circus - Region 2 - PAL

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Distribution Park Circus - Region 2 - PAL
Runtime 1:21:57 
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.18 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: Park Circus

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• Stills Gallery
• Theatrical Trailer 


DVD Release Date: July 20th, 2009

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 12

 

Comments:

The progressive and 2.35:1 anamorphic image on the Park Circus DVD looks solid for a single-layered transfer. It's been released in other DVD editions - one in France (forced French subs?) and also in a pricey US version by Kino ('nuff said). This UK release exports the film's image with impressive range scenery - colorful and bright - and excellent quality vintage photographic stills. The image is also very clean. Close-ups show quite decent, if not stellar, detail.

The 2.0 channel audio is unremarkable but does the job in consistently presenting the film's narration and direct dialogue. There are no optional subtitles and the disc is coded for region 2 in the PAL standard. Supplements consist of a Stills Gallery and a 1.5 minute theatrical trailer.

This is a wonderful investigatory documentary with keen insight into its premise about William Bonney. The inclusion of other film clips of Paul Newman (two), from either the 1955 TV episode 'The Death of Billy the Kid' and/or 'The Left Handed Gun', and Kris Kristofferson (PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID) as well as the latter's narration make for highly interesting storytelling - reminiscent of great westerns

Gary W. Tooze

 



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Distribution Park Circus - Region 2 - PAL




 

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