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Directed by
Steve McQueen

UK / Ireland 2008

 

With Hunger, British filmmaker and artist Steve McQueen has turned one of history’s most controversial acts of political defiance into a jarring, unforgettable cinematic experience. In Northern Ireland’s Maze prison in 1981, twenty-seven-year-old Irish Republican Army member Bobby Sands went on a hunger strike to protest the British government’s refusal to recognize him and his fellow IRA inmates as political prisoners. McQueen dramatizes prison existence and Sands’s final days in a way that is purely experiential, even abstract, a succession of images full of both beauty and horror. Featuring an intense performance by Michael Fassbender, Hunger is an unflinching, transcendent depiction of what a human being is willing to endure to be heard.

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 15th, 2008 - Cannes Film Festival

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Comparison: 

Maple Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

1) Maple Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT

2) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Cover

Distribution Maple Pictures

Region 1 - NTSC

Criterion Collection (Spine # 504)

Region 1 - NTSC

Criterion Collection (Spine # 504)

Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:35:27 1:36:06 1:36:14.435
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.89 mb/s

NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
 

2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.72 mb/s

NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 47,072,275,767 bytes

Feature Size: 28,890,961,920 bytes

Average Bitrate: 34.97 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate :

 Maple Pictures

Bitrate :

Criterion DVD

Bitrate :

 Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital mono 2.0) English (Dolby Digital 5.1) DTS-HD Master Audio English 3051 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3051 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Subtitles None English, none English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Maple Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Letterboxed widescreen - 1.78:1

Edition Details:

• trailer
 

DVD Release Date: September 1st, 2009

Keep Case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio:
Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Video interviews with McQueen (15:14) and actor Michael Fassbender (13:39)
• A short documentary on the making of Hunger, including interviews with McQueen, Fassbender, actors Liam Cunningham, Stuart Graham, and Brian Milligan, writer Enda Walsh, and producer Robin Gutch (13:22)
• “The Provo’s Last Card?,” a 1981 episode of the BBC program Panorama, about the Maze prison hunger strikes and the political and civilian reactions across Northern Ireland (45:04)
• Theatrical trailer (1:34)
• 16-page liner notes booklet featuring an essay by film critic Chris Darke


DVD Release Date: February 16th, 2010
Transparent Keep Case

Chapters 17

Release Information:
Studio:
Criterion

 

Disc Size: 47,072,275,767 bytes

Feature Size: 28,890,961,920 bytes

Average Bitrate: 34.97 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• Video interviews with McQueen (15:14 in HD!) and actor Michael Fassbender (13:39 in HD!)
• A short documentary on the making of Hunger, including interviews with McQueen, Fassbender, actors Liam Cunningham, Stuart Graham, and Brian Milligan, writer Enda Walsh, and producer Robin Gutch (13:22 in HD!)
• “The Provo’s Last Card?,” a 1981 episode of the BBC program Panorama, about the Maze prison hunger strikes and the political and civilian reactions across Northern Ireland (45:04 in HD!)
• Theatrical trailer (1:34)
• 16-page liner notes booklet featuring an essay by film critic Chris Darke


 Blu-ray Release Date :February 16th, 2010
Transparent (thick) Blu-ray Case

Chapters 17

 

Comments:

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

I've owned the Maple Pictures single-layered Canadian DVD edition for a while without realizing that it was transferred in the incorrect aspect ratio (1.78 cropping away plenty of intended information). Obviously now we can easily dismiss it with its 2.0 channel audio and only a theatrical trailer as an extra.

Looking at the Criterion Blu-ray as compared to their simultaneously released anamorphic and progressive DVD version probably the more discerning will note the 1080P visual superiority.  The SD tends to look more like video - and the Blu-ray like film. Colors don't differ much coming from the same source but the HD version is significantly sharper, better contrast and tighter lines. The Blu-ray handles the darkness better (many scenes), runs smoother and shows more grain. Pretty much all the details that we expect from the advancement to the higher resolution.

Audio is the same thing - the lossless DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3051 kpbs shows more 'umfff'. Bass response in some of the more violent scenes is notable on the Blu-ray with greater depth and crisper separation than its more limited counterpart. The Maple Pictures offered no subtitles and I required them on a few occasions as the accents were thicker than I was used to. This is despite the film having plenty of long scenes without dialogue. Both the Criterion DVD and Blu-ray have optional English subtitles and I'm sure quite a few may appreciate the translations. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked disc.

Supplements on the Criterions editions are duplicated with the video featurettes and interviews being in HD on the Blu-ray. We start with two interviews - one with McQueen, conducted by Criterion this year (2009), for about 15-minutes and a second, conducted by film critic Jason Solomon, in 2008, with actor Michael Fassbender (Bobby Sands) running a bit shorter. There is a short documentary on the making of Hunger, which includes interviews with McQueen, Fassbender, actors Liam Cunningham, Stuart Graham, and Brian Milligan, writer Enda Walsh, and producer Robin Gutch - it gives some varied reference as to the production - albeit short summations by the participants. “The Provo’s Last Card?,” is a 1981 episode of the BBC program Panorama, about the Maze prison hunger strikes and the political and civilian reactions across Northern Ireland. This is excellent background for the film topic recorded four months after the death of Bobby Sands. It has Sinn Féin leaders Gerry Adams and Ruairí Ó Brádaigh plus UK political leaders and the youths and families of Northern Ireland. It gives great reference to the story running a full 45-minutes. There is a theatrical trailer and both editions have a 16-page liner notes booklet featuring photos and an essay by film critic Chris Darke.

Impacting and unforgettable film that was a pleasure to view in its correct aspect ratio - and with the subtitles that I, personally, seemed to require. As far as value goes both Criterion editions are of equal price - so we obviously give our full endorsement to the Blu-ray although those who have not adopted the new format will also get great satisfaction from the DVD version. This seems an important film to have for a Criterion spine # - and one we certainly recommend.  

Gary Tooze  

 



Menus

 

Maple Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT
 

Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray (and extras for both Criterions)

 


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

 

Screen Captures

(Both Criterion editions offer subtitles)

 

 

1) Maple Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Maple Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Maple Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Maple Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Maple Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Maple Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Maple Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Maple Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Maple Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Maple Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Maple Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Maple Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Maple Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


DVD Box Cover

Distribution Maple Pictures

Region 1 - NTSC

Criterion Collection (Spine # 504)

Region 1 - NTSC

Criterion Collection (Spine # 504)

Region 'A' - Blu-ray




 

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