(Jack Bond, 1968)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Bond Films
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 24,617,543,217 bytes
Feature Size: 21,289,466,304 bytes
Video Bitrate: 25.99 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: July 20th, 2009
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
English, English (SDH), none
• New full-feature audio commentary by Jack Bond and Sam
Description: Separation, scripted and starring Jane Arden, concerns the inner life of a woman during a period of breakdown - marital, and possibly mental. Her past and (possible?) future are revealed through a fragmented but brilliantly achieved and often humorous narrative, in which dreams and desires are as real as the 'swinging' London (complete with Procol Harum music and Mark Boyle light show) of the film's setting.
“I’m early. Much too early. I’m always too early”, sighs Jane Arden (or
is it her self-scripted, self-performed Everywoman/alter ego `Jane’?)
near the start of 1968’s Separation, the first of three feature-film
collaborations with her partner Jack Bond. Coming fresh to this
almost-lost, barely known film today to view it through the prism of
almost forty years of feminist and post-feminist film debate, it’s more
than clear that these words (which, like many of Separation’s
significant utterances, recur later, either as repeated dialogue or as
involuntary subjective recollection) connect with the film’s structuring
themes of female oppression and (symptomatic) masochism. Viewed through
the eyes of patriarchy, a woman is always in the wrong place at the
wrong time in the sense that patriarchy has no “right” place of
dismissal and incomprehension that typified much of the critical
response to Separation on its release, while pinpointing one possible
The Blu-ray image of Separation from the original 35mm mute negative is quite beautiful. In precisely the correct 1.85 aspect ratio at 1080P, detail and grayscale are pristine. The image quality shows some grit and minor grain but the sharpness and contrast seem to be the highlight of the visuals. The infrequent color sequences probably are representative of the film's 40 year age with reasonable, but not brilliant, hues. BFI advertises this as a 'brand new restoration' and I have no reason to argue with that the image is clean and clear of any damage or speckles. This is only a single-layered Blu-ray with a bitrate of 26 Mbps but looks extremely impressive with a genuine film-like appearance as, hopefully, the screen captures below will attest.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
It's a modest track without much in the way of aggression but adeptly rendered for linear PCM 2.0 at 2304 kbps. Matthew Fisher's "Separation" and Procol Harum's "Salad days" have strong harmonics adding another layer to the presentation. The sound is crisp enough without demonstrative range or depth. There are no flaws such as pops, crackle or hiss. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified this as being region FREE!
The commentary fills in some holes as to the film's construction. It has director Jack Bond with support and prodding questions by Sam Dunn. Jack agrees the digital age's accessibility has transformed the film world. His voice shows some occasional passion but it still has some dryness. Those keen on the film will be the individuals most likely to get something out of the commentary. Mark Boyle & Joan Hills made a 14-minute film in 1969 entitled Beyond Image. It's kinda like a lava lamp close-up stated as 'a rare liquid light film co-created by leading British artist Mark Boyle, whose visual effects are used throughout Separation. With music by The Soft Machine.' It's offered in HD. There is a trailer 3-minute for Anti-Clock also in HD and coming out in Blu-ray from BFI. Included is a fully illustrated booklet with essays by William Fowler, Claire Monk, Maria Walsh: biographies and credits.
July 11th, 2009
About the Reviewer: 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
Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Gary W. Tooze
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