(aka "La Spettatrice" )

 

directed by Paolo Franchi
Italy 2004

 

Solitary translator Valeria (Barbora Bobulova) becomes infatuated from afar with similarly solitary Massimo (Andrea Renzi) and spies on him from her apartment across the street. When Massimo leaves for Rome, Valeria impulsively follows him only to discover that he has a girlfriend, law professor Flavia (Brigitte Catillon, MERCI POUR LE CHOCOLAT) and insinuates herself into the older woman's life in order to get close to Massimo. An art film with thriller elements, THE SPECTATOR is a meditation on the psychological inertia of loneliness (or is it solitude as Valeria's friend claims to admire how she can live without needing anyone else). As Valeria immerses herself in Flavia's and Massimo's troubled relationship (Massimo is just as closed off as Valeria and Flavia can't let go of her late husband's memory), Valeria feels that her own already empty life becoming even more meaningless (as the "spettatrice" of the title, Valeria first spies on Massimo in Turin but even after she has become part of their lives, she is unable to truly engage with either of them and is more comfortable watching or listening to them (as in a sequence where Valeria follows Massimo and Flavia to Viterbo when they go there for a wedding). French actress Catillon (dubbed in Italian by another actress) is fine as the script's most developed character and Bobulova nicely conveys her character's inibility to engage with others. Renzi is also good but the script gives him little to do until late in the film as if it wants to keep us in suspense about his character's true nature. The ending might disappoint viewers constantly waiting for a FATAL ATTRACTION/SINGLE WHITE FEMALE twist in the plot but some viewers might relate to or at least find dramatically satisfying Valeria's admission that she feels neither a desire to sink or to rise above the surface.

Eric Cotenas

Poster

Theatrical Release: 7 May 2004 (Italy)

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DVD Review: Facets - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Facets

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:37:48
Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.56 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 Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo)
Subtitles English (burnt-in)
Features Release Information:
Studio: Facets

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• none

DVD Release Date: December 27, 2006
Amaray

Chapters 8

 

Comments

This is a poor DVD presentation of an underrated film. Facet's DVD is non-anamorphic widescreen and a PAL-NTSC standards conversion. The sequence in which smaller forced Italian subtitles appear during an English language conversation in which larger English subtitles appear raised above them suggest that the transfer was made deck to deck (with the resulting bump down from 5.1 to 2.0 audio and 16:9 to 4:3 video) from the Italian DVD.

 

The encoding is such that the burned in subtitles sometimes flicker (but are always readable) and there are some instances of extreme pixelation. All of this makes Giuseppe Lanci's (Tarkovsky's NOSTALGHIA) cinematography look drab. Viewers would be better served by the English-friendly Italian release which sports a 16:9 transfer, 5.1 audio, and English subtitles. Extras are nil on the Facets disc and the menus basic. This film deserved better.

 - Eric Cotenas

 



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burnt-in English subtitles and forced Italian subtitles for English background dialogue

 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Facets

Region 0 - NTSC

 

 





 

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