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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Strange Case of Angelica aka O Estranho Caso de Angélica [Blu-ray]


(Manoel de Oliveira, 2010)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Les Films de l'Après-Midi / Cinema Guild

Video: Cinema Guild



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

Runtime: 1:36:23.778

Disc Size: 32,100,254,698 bytes

Feature Size: 22,655,705,088 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.93 Mbps

Chapters: 14

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: September 20th, 2011



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio Portuguese 2782 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2782 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Portuguese 1511 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1511 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / DN -4dB



English (SDH), none



Douro, Faina Fluvial (Labor on the Douro River) (1931, 18:53 in 1080P), the first film from Manoel de Oliveira, in new 2k restoration
Audio Commentary by film critic and curator James Quandt
Oliveira L Architecte (1992, 1:03:21 in 480i), a documentary by Paulo Rocha
Absoluto (2010, 35:03 in 480i), a conversation with Manoel de Oliveira during the filming of The Strange Case of Angelica
Theatrical Trailer (1:34 in 1080P)
• 8-page booklet featuring "Late Oliveira," an essay by Haden Guest, Director of the Harvard Film Archive





Description: The new film from master filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira, The Strange Case of Angelica is a magical tale of a young photographer who falls madly in love with a woman he can never have, except in his dreams. Late one night, Isaac is summoned by a wealthy family to take the last photograph of a young bride, Angelica, who mysteriously passed away. Arriving at their estate, Isaac is struck by Angelica s beauty. But when he looks through his lens, the young woman appears to come to life. From that moment, Isaac will be haunted by Angelica day and night.



The Film:

What is the opposite of precocious? If no suitable word exists, somebody should invent one — in English, French or, ideally, Portuguese — to describe the 102-year-old filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira. He has completed a dozen features and a handful of shorts since 1998, which is to say since his 90th birthday. His latest feature, a tale of supernatural romance called “The Strange Case of Angelica,” arrives in New York on Wednesday, and while it is evidently the work of an artist with great stores of wisdom and a long view of history, it also has a playful, wry quality that can only be described as youthful.

Excerpt from A.O. Scott at the NY Times located HERE

At age 102, the visionary Portuguese grand master writer-director Manoel de Oliveira is celebrating his 80th year as a filmmaker with a magical masterpiece, the enchanting yet provocative "The Strange Case of Angelica," a stunning tribute to the power of the image and the longing for perfect love that Oliveira suggests can exist only with the possibility of an afterlife. This fresh, highly original film, inspired by Oliveira's substantially different, never-filmed 1952 script, has been made with the greatest of ease and simplicity and with drollery and wit, yet its underlying impact is profoundly spiritual.

Excerpt from Kevin Thomas at the LA Times located HERE

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

Firstly, The Strange Case of Angelica on Blu-ray from Cinema Guild is slightly pictureboxed with a black border around the edge of the 1080P frame. I wouldn't say it has any fatal effect on the presentation... but it is odd. I cropped it and measured to prove it to be about 1.77:1. Aside from some outdoor, day-lit, sequences the film is rather dim but I wouldn't say digital noise was an issue via the dual-layered disc transfer.  There is a dullness to the colors but the consistency indicates that this is part of the film's production. This Blu-ray is probably a true representation of the film that is devoid of any dramatic eye-candy. This is modest appearance of how The Strange Case of Angelica looks - there is no reason to point fingers at the transfer.
















Audio :

Cinema Guild supply a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 2782 kbps and a similar lossless 2.0 channel - both in original Portuguese. As one might expect the film doesn't test the limits of hi-def audio with minimal separation (some rain the beginning) and no aggression to export depth. But the subtle sounds of breathing and contemplative spaces are peaceful. It sounds clean and authentic without flaws. We can't really ask for more. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE.


Extras :

Supplemenst are top notch starting with an excellent audio commentary by film critic and curator James Quandt definitely building my appreciation for the film, and director. It's incredible how much knowledge he has to impart. Via a new 2k restoration we get Manoel de Oliveira's first film - from 1931 - entitled Douro, Faina Fluvial (Labor on the Douro River) and running about 20-minutes and is in 1080P. There is also an hour-long documentary by Paulo Rocha about the director entitled Oliveira L Architecte and a 35-minute conversation with Manoel de Oliveira during the filming of The Strange Case of Angelica under the menu option 'Absoluto'. There is also an HD theatrical trailer plus the package has an 8-page booklet featuring "Late Oliveira," an essay by Haden Guest, Director of the Harvard Film Archive.



Manoel de Oliveira films have always been kind of hit-and-miss with me. I warmed to The Strange Case of Angelica more than any other from the director but this is probably a stronger indication of my slow maturity as a film buff. The rich visuals are as intoxicating as they are beautiful. I'm very happy to have seen it on Blu-ray despite any reservations about the image. A digital version, for many, will be the only opportunity to see The Strange Case of Angelica. It is quite a wonderful experience - especially to those aware of the filmmakers deliberate style and pace. I suggest the investment will be amply rewarded. 

Gary Tooze

September 22nd, 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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