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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Before the Revolution aka Prima della rivoluzione [Blu-ray]

 

(Bernardo Bertolucci, 1964)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Iride Cinematografica

Video: BFI

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:51:40.610 

Disc Size: 20,742,777,652 bytes

Feature Size: 19,617,478,656 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps

Chapters: 13

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 22nd, 2011

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio Italian 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

 

Subtitles:

English, none

 

Extras:

Original theatrical trailer (3:05)

 

On DVD:
Today's Cinema (1963, 4 mins, DVD only): interview with the young Bernardo Bertolucci on the set of Before the Revolution
Self-portrait (Giuseppe Bertolucci, 2003, 46 mins, DVD only): interview with Bernardo Bertolucci about making Before the Revolution
The Workshop of the Young Masters (Giuseppe Bertolucci, 2003, 26 mins, DVD only): interviews with editor Roberto Perpignani, cinematorgrapher Vittorio Storaro and composer Ennio Morricone
Variations by the author (Giuseppe Bertolucci, 2003, 31 mins, DVD only): comparisons between the working and final copy of Before the Revolution
Interview with Bernardo Bertolucci (2011, 6 mins, DVD only)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

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

Part autobiography, part literary adaptation, part homage to the French new-wave and Italian neo-realists that inspired him, Bertolucci s virtuosic second film is an atmospheric, ambiguous portrait of idealistic youth.

***

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:

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.

Excerpt from by Spiros Gangas- Taken from EUFS Programme 1992-93 located HERE

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

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.

 

Extras :

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!

 

DVD

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I fell in love with Before the Revolution and know it will be revisited on many occasions in my home theater. It carries such elegance. This really is a beautiful film and Bertolucci's many fans should be all over this. BFI deserves commendation for this hi-def release with the substantial extras and film transfer that looks to have gone through a restoration. The Blu-ray is a very easy recommendation and those with Region 'B' capability shouldn't hesitate, at all, in picking this up upon the release date. 

Gary Tooze

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.

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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