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Before the Revolution aka Prima della rivoluzione [Blu-ray]
(Bernardo Bertolucci, 1964)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Iride Cinematografica
Region: 'B' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 20,742,777,652 bytes
Feature Size: 19,617,478,656 bytes
Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: August 22nd, 2011
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio Italian 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
•Original theatrical trailer (3:05)
Description: A rarely seen early work from one of world
cinema s most acclaimed directors, Bernardo Bertolucci s
beautiful and unique Before the Revolution - made
when he was just 22 captures the passions and ideology of
the 1960s. Young, idealistic and bourgeois, Fabrizio
struggles to come to terms with these contradictions and
master a transgressive love for his aunt
Fabrizio is passionate, idealistic, influenced by Cesare, a teacher and Marxist, engaged to the lovely but bourgeois... Clelia, and stung by the drowning of his mercurial friend Agostino, a possible suicide. Gina is herself a bundle of nervous energy, alternately sweet, seductive, poetic, distracted, and unhinged. They begin a love affair after Agostino's funeral, then Gina confuses Fabrizio by sleeping with a stranger. Their visits to Cesare and then to Puck, one of Gina's older friends, a landowner losing his land, dramatize contrasting images of Italy's future.
The film includes scenes of serene beauty and acute political reflection, such as the encounter with a decadent aristocrat in a misty riverbank, the endless conversations between Fabrizio and his friend, or the scene in the opera where he finally succumbs to his bourgeois background. Barilli is superb as the confused and emotionally fickle Fabrizio, Asti is equally astonishing as the neurotic aunt, while the brief but sublime presence of Cristie Pariset as Fabrizio's fiancee confirms that Bertolucci is above all an aesthete. Incredibly mature cinema enhanced by the wonderful music of Verdi and Morricone.
Bernardo Bertolucci was 22 when he burst upon the film scene with this 1964 feature, his second. The contrary attractions of sensuality and politics have been the subject of many of Bertolucci's films, but the conflict is presented most passionately and personally here, through the figure of a young bourgeois revolutionary (Francesco Barilli) involved in a tortured relationship with his aunt (Adriana Asti). The visual style suggests Minnelli in its lush subjectivity, particularly when the black and white gives way to color for a brief lyrical sequence..Excerpt from Dave Kehr at the Chicago Reader located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Striking black and white image on this 'less-exposed' work from Bertolucci via a crisp BFI Blu-ray. The image quality has many impressive attributes showing impressive depth and excellent grayscale. Kudos to Vittorio Storaro with some very contemplative Antonioni-esque shots. This is only single-layered but this almost 50-year old film appears quite grand in 1080P. Perhaps a little glossy, minor waxiness and not an abundance of grain textures but it looked pretty darn sweet on my 60" Kuro Plasma. I often got the feeling that I was viewing something 'larger-than-life' and most of this credit belongs with the film itself but BFI have supplied an impressive hi-def rendering that most will greatly appreciate. I don't discount some digital restoration but I am thumbs skyward for the resulting visuals.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
BFI go the reasonably-original route with a linear PCM 2.0 channel stereo track at 2304 kbps. I wouldn't say it was dramatic but the Ennio Morricone score was a delight in uncompressed. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.
This is a 'Dual-Format' edition with only a 3-minute trailer residing on the Blu-ray disc and the bulk of the supplements housed on the included DVD. This SD PAL disc has the feature film as well as 4-minutes of on-set footage from 1963 via an extract from Italian TV series 'Cinema d’oggi' (Today's Cinema) featuring an interview with the young Bertolucci. There is a 46-minute interview with Bernardo Bertolucci from 2003 where the director discusses Before the Revolution, plus 26-minutes more of interviews with Roberto Perpignani, Vittorio Storaro and Ennio Morricone entitled The Workshop of the Young Masters. Included is a 1/2 hour 'Working Copy' from 2003 by Giuseppe Bertolucci with an interesting comparisons between the working and final versions of the film under the header Variations by the Author. Lastly we get a too-brief 6-minutes of Bernardo Bertolucci in conversation with David Thompson from a Q&A recorded at BFI Southbank. Bravo BFI!
August 3rd, 2011
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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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