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(aka "The Master Musician" )

 

directed by Jamil Dehlavi
UK 1983

 

A solar eclipse and a volcanic activity in Turkey cause British flutist Paul (Peter Firth, EQUUS) to experience strange visions and hears mysterious flute music during a concert in London. Before his ailing mother's death, she mentions something about the Master Musician who had taught his long dead musician father breathing exercises in Turkey. Together with an attractive astronomer (Suzan Crowley, THE DRAUGHTSMAN'S CONTRACT) who has also been having hallucinations and believes there is a connection with recent increasing solar activity, Paul goes to Turkey in search of the Master Musician (Oh-Tee, who has already been making creepy encounters throughout the London scenes) and is told by mysterious Bilal (Stefan Kalipha) that his flute will lead him.

The film is stunningly photographed with beautiful Turkish location photography (it may be one of the most beautiful British horror films of the eighties) and effectively scored by underrated genre Colin Towns (FULL CIRCLE) with accompaniment by Kudsi Ergner. The downside of the film is how talky it is for a film just over eighty minutes. Each and every strange hallucination or vision is then talked about and sometimes explained; Arabic mythology is very interesting but do we really need to know what a djinn is to make the appearances of mysterious black clad woman any more effective? (though director Dehlavi admits in the interview that the dialogue in BORN OF FIRE is the least interesting in his films). As such, Firth and Crowley are good with what they have to work with but their romantic relationship seems under-motivated. The film is most effective when it depicts visually Paul's journey and the astronomer's increasingly strange behavior (seasoned genre viewers will stop wondering rather quickly why her character is never named). Regardless, the film is highly recommended for horror film fans with eclectic tastes and a liking for mesmerizing, trippy visuals.

Eric Cotenas

Poster

Theatrical Release: April 1987

Reviews                                                                     More Reviews                                                            DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Mondo Macabro - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the DVD Review!

1) Mondo Macabro - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Cover

 

    

 

 

 

    

 

Distribution

Mondo Macabro

Region 0 - NTSC

Indicator

Region FREE' - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:23:30 1:23:35.802
Video

1.75:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.46 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 43,501,496,397 bytes

Feature: 24,396,691,008 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.85 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Bitrate Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo) LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles none English (SDH), none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Mondo Macabro

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.75:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with actor Peter Firth (16:9; 12:24)
• Interview with actor Nabil Shabon (16:9; 31:19)
• Interview with director Jamil Dehlavi (16:9; 15:01)
• Trailer (16:9; 1:46)
• About the Film (multi-page text screen liner notes)
• More from Mondo Macabro (16:9; 7:43)

DVD Release Date: October 27, 2009
Amaray

Chapters 10

Release Information:
Studio: Indicator

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 43,501,496,397 bytes

Feature: 24,396,691,008 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.85 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video


Edition Details:
• Qf - The Sacred Mountain (1985, 27:13 mins): Jamil Dehlavi’s acclaimed art-documentary, shot during the production of Born of Fire and featuring a soundtrack by Tangerine Dream and Popol Vuh, chronicles a volcanic eruption in exquisite and hypnotic detail
• Playing with Fire (2018, 18:02 mins): new and exclusive interview in which director Jamil Dehlavi discusses the making of Born of Fire and Qf
• The Silent One Speaks (2018, 34:29 mins): new and exclusive interview in which iconic actor Nabil Shaban recalls his experience of working on the film
• Interview with Peter Firth (2009, 12:17 mins): the celebrated actor reflects on his time working with Dehlavi and his fellow actors
• In Another World (2018, 16:44 mins): new and exclusive interview with composer Colin Towns
• US trailer (01:25)
• Stills and posters gallery
• Location photography: a gallery of images from actor Nabil Shaban’s personal collection
• New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Limited edition exclusive 36-page booklet with new essays by Dr Ali Nobil Ahmad, writer Raficq Abdulla, and actor Nabil Shaban, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits
• World premiere on Blu-ray
• Limited Edition of 3,000 copies

 

Blu-ray Release Date: September 24th, 2018
Transparent Blu-ray case

Chapters: 11

 

 

Comments

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

Indicator bring us Jamil Dehlavi's 1987 "Born of Fire" in its world premiere on Blu-ray. The 1.85:1 image has a maxed-out bitrate and is housed on a dual-layered Blu-ray. The level of detail here is very impressive, especially when compared to the previous Mondo Macabro DVD. There is also more information on the top and bottom of the frame, without the slightly stretched image of the DVD. There is a fair amount of grain, which is to be expected for a film of this age. This grain gives the film a texture reminiscent of a theatrical projection, when in motion. The range of color is decent, though some hallucinogenic scenes have a different palette, as intended. Contrast levels are pretty sharp too, with darker scenes showing a nice spectrum of blacks.

Indicator present "Born of Fire" with a 24-bit linear PCM English 1.0 mono track. The score by Colin Towns (Rawhead Rex) sounds appropriately creepy here as is the flute music (performed by James Galway). The various desert winds and cave sounds are impressive, even in 1.0 mono there is a real sense of 3-dimensional surroundings on this track. There are optional English subtitles on this Region-free
Blu-ray.

Indicator's presentation is full of interesting extras. Most interesting is "Qf - The Sacred Mountain", Jamil Dehlavi’s acclaimed 1985 art-documentary that was shot during the filming of Born of Fire. Tangerine Dream and Popol Vuh provide the awesome soundtrack for this strange 27-minute film chronicling a volcanic eruption. "Playing With Fire" is a brand new 2018 interview with director Jamil Dehlavi. This 18-minute interview has the director discussing the making of Born of Fire and Qf. "The Silent One Speaks" is also a brand new interview, this time a 35-minute affair, with iconic actor Nabil Shaban recalling his experience of working on the film. "Interview with Peter Firth" is a 13-minute 2009 interview with the actor recalling his experience of working on the film. "In Another World" is a new 17-minute interview with composer Colin Towns. Also included here is the film's trailer and a stills and poster gallery. "Location Photography" is a gallery of images from actor Nabil Shaban’s personal collection. The limited edition (3000 copies)
Blu-ray also includes an exclusive 36-page booklet with new essays by Dr Ali Nobil Ahmad, writer Raficq Abdulla, and actor Nabil Shaban, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits.

Indicator have once again given us a stellar
Blu-ray. The film is not for everyone, but creates a certain mood throughout the picture, a completely unique mood. The Blu-ray extras are quite illuminating and the audio/video transfer is consistent with Indicator's excellent output. I would recommend this film to fans of offbeat cinema.

Colin Zavitz

***

ON THE DVD: Released directly to video in the USA by Vidmark four years after it was completed, BORN OF FIRE gets an attractive anamorphic widescreen and progressive transfer. The restrained stereo track is clean and nicely represents Colin Towns' score. The theatrical trailer is presented fullscreen in a 16:9 frame and is derived from a Vidmark video tape release.

Director Dehlavi and actors Firth (who makes the adventure of shooting on found Turkish locations sound as interesting as his character's search) and Shabon (who plays "The Silent One" and who explains the plot of the film more capably than the film itself) contribute interviews that focus on the film but also address their respective careers. As with all other Mondo Macabro releases, the "about the film" text menu screen liner notes should not be overlooked as they are not ad copy but detailed essays. Mondo Macabro's usual clip reel rounds out the package.

 - Eric Cotenas

 


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Distribution

Mondo Macabro

Region 0 - NTSC

Indicator

Region FREE' - Blu-ray

 




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