S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
(aka 'Luxury Car" or "Jiang cheng xia ri"')
France / China 2006
In this award-winning drama, an old schoolteacher travels from his small village to the city of Wuhan in search of his missing son, who his dying wife wants to see one last time. But instead of finding their son, he discovers his daughter working as a karaoke bar escort, and her mobster boyfriend might be linked to his son's disappearance. Fast-paced and suspenseful, with a beautiful performance by Chinese star Tian Yuan, Luxury Car illustrates the painful reality of parents who have lost contact with their children through rural exodus and political upheaval in China.
Theatrical Release: May 22nd, 2006 - Cannes Film Festival
DVD Review: First Run Features - Region 0 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
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|Distribution||First Run Features - Region 0 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 6.16 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.
|Audio||Mandarin (Dolby Digital 2.0)|
|Subtitles||English (burned in)|
Rom (Director Interview - Fact Sheet)
It seems we are always reviewing excellent foreign films released on substandard DVDs by North American distributors.
Luxury Car is just another in a long series of cinema that has real value but is slapped on a single-layered disc with an interlaced transferred. Thankfully it doesn't look fatally poor but is far from ideal via what the SD format can offer. When there isn't combing (every third frame) detail is quite good and colors are acceptable if never exuberant. I suppose could have been shot with a DVR but I have no evidence of that. I suspect that would have been bumped to 35mm for Cannes anyway. Regardless this DVD transfer exhibits noise and artifacts and it's a film with interesting cinematography that I'd love to one day see on Blu-ray.
The 2.0 channel Mandarin audio is unremarkable but clean and discernable. The English subtitles are burned-in and very large and intrusive.
Aside from a bunch of First Run adverts we get some DVD Rom text supplements (hey, this is 2009!) with a director interview and a 'fact sheet'.
While I appreciate First Run Features bringing Wang Chao's stylish and humanistic work to DVD I sincerely wish they could give this movie some digital justice with a superior transfer and some viable extras features. The exorbitant price make it hard to recommend and the film is surely deserved of a wider audience. This appears to be the only game in town unless I'm missing a French release that is most probably not English-friendly. In closing I'll simply say if you get a chance to see this film - do so.