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Arabian Nights [Blu-ray]

(aka "Il fiore delle mille e una notte" or "A Thousand and One Nights" or "Flower of the Arabian Nights" or "Les mille et une nuits")

 

(Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1974)

 

 

 CLICK to order from:

 

 

Available in a Dual Format Blu-ray package December 5th, 2011:

 

 

 

Studio:

Theatrical: Produzioni Europee Association

Blu-ray: BFI / Criterion - Spine # 634

 

Disc:

Region: 'B'-locked / Criterion is region 'A'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:10:08.133 / 2:10:39.456

Disc Size: 42,080,952,152 bytes / 47,189,508,938 bytes

Feature Size: 35,513,199,168 bytes / 35,731,261,440 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps / 32.48 Mbps

Chapters: 16 / 20

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 27th, 2009 / November 13th, 2012

 

Video (same for both):

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

(BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
LPCM Audio Italian 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

LPCM Audio Italian 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), English, none

English, none

 

Extras:

• Alternative English-language version (2:10:15)

• Original trailer

• Deleted Sequences (21:11)

• Fully illustrated booklet including essays, reviews and biography

 

•  New visual essays by film scholars Patrick Rumble and Tony Rayns, on The Decameron and Arabian Nights, respectively
•  New interviews with production designer Dante Ferretti, composer Ennio Morricone, and film scholar Sam Rohdie
•  Introduction to Arabian Nights by director Pier Paolo Pasolini
•  The Lost Body of Alibech (2005), a documentary by Roberto Chiesi about a lost sequence from The Decameron
•  The Secret Humiliation of Chaucer (2006), a documentary by Chiesi about The Canterbury Tales
•  Via Pasolini (2005), a documentary featuring archival footage of Pasolini discussing his views on language, film, and modern society
•  Pasolini and the Form of the City (1974), a documentary by Pasolini and Paolo Brunatto about the Italian cities Orte and Sabaudia
•  Deleted scenes from Arabian Nights
•  Pasolini-approved English-dubbed track for The Canterbury Tales
•  Trailers
•  PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by critic Colin MacCabe; Pasolini’s 1975 statement “Trilogy of Life Rejected”; excerpts from Pasolini’s Berlin Film Festival press conference for The Canterbury Tales; and a report from the set of Arabian Nights by critic Gideon Bachmann

 

 

Description: Pier Paolo Pasolini traveled to Africa, Nepal, and the Middle East to realize this ambitious cinematic treatment of a selection of stories from the legendary The Thousand and One Nights. This is not the fairy-tale world of Scheherazade or Aladdin, though. Instead, the director focuses on the book’s more erotic tales, framed by the story of a young man’s quest to reconnect with his beloved slave girl. Full of lustrous sets and costumes and stunning location photography, Arabian Nights is a fierce and joyous exploration of human sexuality.

 

 

The Film:

The final part of Pasolini's Trilogy of Life was two years in the making. The locations - Yemen, Ethiopia, Iran and Nepal - form a rich, exotic backdrop to these tales of slaves and kings, potions, betrayals, demons and, most of all love and lovemaking in all its myriad forms. Engrossing, mysterious, profound and liberating, Arabian Nights is an exquisitely dreamlike, sensuous and adult interpretation of the original folk tales, presented here in a beautiful new High-Definition restoration.

Excerpt of review from BFI located HERE

Posters

 

Image:  NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

While the image here isn't quite as detailed as the other two discs covering the trilogy, it is still far better than the film has looked since its initial release, and probably better than it'll ever look in the future. While some of the shots in here look positively flawless, a few here and soft, and even a couple of instances of show undesirable damage marks. These complaints are, however, very minor and it does seem to have substantially more grain than the others in the trilogy on BFI Blu-ray. By and large the restoration done on all three films is impressive. The skin tones here are generally good, and other colors (reds in particular) are a bit duller than the other two films but I appreciated the textures.

We seem to be running short of time as this release will soon be available to the public - so, in-lieu of a full review of each title, we will post the screen captures and technicals with these details hopefully informing some of the quality. I agree with David from our ListServ in regards to The Decameron when he states: "Gary, the Criterion unquestionably most resembles the gorgeous original release Tech prints." There is some information on all 4 edges lost here when compared to the BFI. We will report more at a later date - including on the, marvelous, extensive extras.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

(BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 

(BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 

(BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 

(BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 

(BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 

(BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 

(BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 

(BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 

(BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 

(BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 

Audio & Music:

Like The Canterbury Tales - the PCM 2.0 channel mono audio at 2304 kbps is quite crisp and clear. There is no hiss or untoward distortion. Instead the audio is continuously crisp with both the dialogue and music sounding clear. Similarly, the subtitles (sample above) are easily read and unobtrusive. Finally, like most Italian cinema of the day, the film suffers from a loose synchronization process. This is inherent in the original print of the film and has been preserved by the BFI. Gary tells me his Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked disc.  

 

 

Operations:

Simple and effective. The disc uses the traditional pop-up menus found on most Blu-rays. The information is easy to find and access.

 

Extras:

One may access, seamlessly branched, the alternate English version. It is simply the optional English DUB and English language credits (playing in the opening for 2:22 of the presentation that display the 'United Artists' logo... and the 'The End' at the completion). There are no text-related scenes in the film requiring translation to English. I couldn't put English subtitles on the English DUB version.

 

 

There is another original trailer and a compilation of about 21 minutes worth of excised footage. Unfortunately, this material either was never dubbed or has had its original soundtrack lost, so the footage is set to the film's soundtrack. While I could be mistaken, some of this appears to be virtually identical to the material in the film itself. Finally, there's also a booklet containing new and reprinted essays on the film, including an negative review from its initial release.

 

Menus/ Extras

 

BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 

Bottom line:

Like the other films in his trilogy, "Arabian Nights" is impacting and continues Pasolini's recurring themes. The image quality is imperfect but the best I have ever seen the film. I give this my highest recommendation and hope that you'll check it out. Admittedly, I am biased but these three releases are a strong contender for my pick for Blu-Ray of the year!

December 15th, 2009

November 8th, 2012

 

 

 CLICK to order from:

 

 

Available in a Dual Format Blu-ray package December 5th, 2011:

 

 

 




 

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