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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Kapò')

Directed by Gillo Pontecorvo
Italy / France / Yugoslavia 1959


Before he left his mark on cinema forever with the revolutionary The Battle of Algiers, Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo directed this audacious World War II drama about a young Jewish woman (Susan Strasberg) in a Nazi concentration camp, who saves herself from death by assuming another’s identity and becoming a ruthless warden. The Oscar-nominated Kapò was one of the first films to depict the horror of the Holocaust, and it does so with brutality and daring emotional complexity.


Theatrical Release: April 17th, 1959

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DVD Review: Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Criterion (part of Essential Art House) - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:56:28 
Video 1.66:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.22 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 Italian | German  (Dolby Digital 1.0) 
Subtitles English, None

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1

Edition Details:

• 6-page liner notes with essay by MK

DVD Release Date: April 13th, 2010
Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 16



Firstly this is a magnificent film - one very worthy of the 'full' Criterion treatment with further digital extras and a commentary. It is one of the most impacting viewings I've had this year.

There are both Italian (with English subs) and French (without English subs) DVD editions of this masterpiece available. The Criterion transfer maintains the original 1.66 aspect ratio in their dual-layered, anamorphic, transfer. Black levels may have had some boosting and moiring may be noticeable on some systems. In my viewing the visuals looked exceptionally strong - with decent detail excellently supporting Aleksandar Sekulovic's precise cinematography. It doesn't look totally perfect, noise artifacts can creep into play, but I was suitably impressed with the final presentation.

Audio is 1.0 unremarkable but clean and clear - close enough, I'll wager, to the way it was produced. There are optional English subtitles.

Like other Essential Art House releases by Criterion there are no extras save a couple of pages of liner notes. While I regret the lack of supplements - surely a title like this is worthy - the asking price makes it a bona-fide essential purchase in my opinion. Don't hesitate.  

Gary W. Tooze


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DVD Box Cover


CLICK to order from:

Distribution Criterion (part of Essential Art House) - Region 1 - NTSC

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