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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

La Signora Senza Camelie [Blu-ray]


(Michelangelo Antonioni, 1953)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Ente Nazionale Industrie Cinematografiche (ENIC)

Video: Masters of Cinema - Spine # 17



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

Runtime: 1:41:33.000

Disc Size: 23,527,898,969 bytes

Feature Size: 20,558,413,824 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.99 Mbps

Chapters: 15

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: March 21st, 2011



Aspect ratio: 1.37:1 matted to 1.78

Resolution: 1080p / 24 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio Italian 629 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 629 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 512 kbps / 16-bit)



English, none



• A new and exclusive video introduction to the film with critic and teacher Gabe Klinger (9:44 in 1080P)
• A new and exclusive video featuring Gabe Klinger discussing Antonioni in the context of the Italian production system of the 1950s
(8:33 in 1080P)
• The film’s original Italian theatrical trailer
(:53 in 1080P)
• 44-page booklet containing newly translated vintage criticism about the film, an excerpt from an interview with Antonioni, and a lengthy 1953 back-and-forth about the film between Antonioni and critic Luigi Chiarini





Description: The third feature film by cinema master Michelangelo Antonioni, La signora senza camelie [The Lady Without Camelias], expanded the expressive palette of contemporary Italian movies, demonstrating that a personal vision could take an explicitly poetic tack; that “seriousness = neo-realism” was perhaps already turning into something of a truism; and that Antonioni would answer to no-one but himself.

It’s the story of a shopclerk named Clara (played by the captivating Lucia BosŤ, also of Antonioni’s brilliant debut feature, Cronaca di un amore) who finds a chance casting in a small movie role develop into a full-blown career as screen-siren. Tension erupts when her husband can no longer tolerate watching her frivolous cinema escapades, and pushes her into a “serious, artistic” production of the life of Joan of Arc… whereupon she is castigated by the critical establishment.

A riveting ‘behind-the-scenes’ show-business drama, La signora senza camelie explores themes that would haunt its director from L’avventura through La notte and The Passenger — an individual’s tenuous hold on her identity, and the dangers inherent to performance… in life and on-screen. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Antonioni’s masterful, highly personal La signora senza camelie for the first time in the UK — in a Dual Format release containing both Blu-ray and DVD versions of the film.



The Film:

Perhaps the most unjustly neglected of Michelangelo Antonioni's early features, La Signora Senza Camelie (1953) is a caustic Cinderella story about a Milanese shop clerk (Lucia Bose) who briefly becomes a glamorous movie star. One of the cruelest and most accurate portraits of studio filmmaking and the Italian movie world that we have, it's informed by a visually and emotionally complex mise en scene that juggles background with foreground elements in a choreographic style recalling Welles at times. Though it's only Antonioni's third feature, and its episodic structure necessitates a somewhat awkward expositional method, this is mature filmmaking that leaves an indelible aftertaste.

Excerpt from Jonathan Rosenbaum at the Chicago Reader located HERE

An early Antonioni drama that looks at the sad fate of a manipulated woman, as well as taking a satirical swipe at the commercial end of the Italian film industry. BosŤ plays a shopgirl, recently elevated to movie stardom, whose idolising producer husband (Cecchi) puts her into a disastrous production of Joan of Arc and sends her career into a downward spiral. Characteristically, Antonioni is less concerned with plot than with creating fluid set pieces and eloquent framings of his beautiful actress and the surrounding decor. The resulting cocktail is slight on psychology, but invariably stunning to behold.

Excerpt from TimeOut London located HERE

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

I was doublely excited as this was an Antonioni film I had only seen once - many years ago - and I did not own it on DVD! Now The Masters of Cinema were releasing it on Blu-ray! After the screener disc arrived it was less than an hour before I was nestled into my home theater in the pitch darkness watching La Signora Senza Camelie - and loving every minutes of it. The 1080P image quality is stupendous - perfectly detailed and very strong contrast and black levels. Considering the age of the film - you only need peruse the below screen captures to be impressed with the visual appearance. I was blown-away with the image - far exceeding my expectations.
















Audio :

Similar to MoC's Blu-ray of Le Amiche - we get a modest DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel in original Italian at 629 kbps. There is no depth or range but dialogue is readily audible and there are, excellent, optional English subtitles (see sample). My Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.



Extras :

As with Le Amiche - we get a new and exclusive 10-minute video introduction to the film with critic and teacher Gabe Klinger (who has written excellent liner notes for Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Sťance Home Vision DVD and Pialat's Sous le Soliel De Satan by MoC). I quite like him on camera - although he looks far too young to be so well-informed. The information he imparts is interesting - actually, I'd love to hear a commentary from him one day. He also gives an 8-minute piece discussing Antonioni in the context of the Italian production system of the 1950s. Both of these are in 1080P - as is the included 53 second trailer. it wouldn't be a Masters of Cinema release of any magnitude without one of their fabulous booklets - he is a 44-page liner notes extra containing newly translated vintage criticism about the film, an excerpt from an interview with Antonioni, and a lengthy 1953 back-and-forth about the film between Antonioni and critic Luigi Chiarini. There is also a second disc DVD of the film included.



One thing I did recall about my lone viewing, many years ago, of Antonioni's La Signora Senza Camelie was what a knockout Lucia Bosť was as Clara Manni. Wow - I loved every minute of this beautiful film - it knocked my socks off visually and it has subtle Antonioni signatures throughout. Masters of Cinema have really out done themselves this time offering up this less known early Antonioni gem in the Blu-ray format. Honestly, I feel like watching it yet again tomorrow. This dual-format' package is most highly recommended - another reason for North Americans to own a region free Blu-ray player. 

Gary Tooze

February 28th, 2011



Michelangelo Antonioni films on DVD (NTSC) - CLICK COVERS or REVIEW BUTTON for more information


Recommended Books for Michelangelo Antonioni reading (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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