S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
(Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1978)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Bavaria Atelier
Region: FREE (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 41,126,192,555 bytes
Feature Size: 25,608,462,336 bytes
Video Bitrate: 18.10 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: November 15th, 2011
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1687 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1687 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
• Fiction Factory The Cinema and Its Double - Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Despair Revisited (1:12:53 in 1080P)
Description: Based on the classic novel by Vladimir Nabokov with screenplay adaptation by Tom Stoppard. In early 1930s Germany, against the backdrop of the Nazis’ rise to power, Hermann Hermann (Dirk Bogarde), a Russian emigrant and successful chocolate magnate, starts experiencing mental breakdowns. He soon meets Felix, an unemployed laborer, who Hermann believes to be his doppelganger. He hatches up an elaborate plot, which he believes will free him of all his worries and nightmares. Cinematography by legendary DP, Michael Ballhaus (Goodfellas, The Departed). Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder (Berlin Alexanderplatz).
Hermann is truly impossible — dandified, sarcastic and dishonest even
about the details of his background. But, as he says at one point, "All
the information I have about myself is from forged documents." With that
acute sensitivity that often heralds approaching illness, Hermann
responds to all of the world's vulgarities as if they were a kind of
physical torture. An eyebrow twitches involuntarily when Lydia makes one
of her egg-and-mild toddies, which she calls "moggy-woggies." He
flinches as if threatened with a crowbar when Ardalion (Volker
Spengler). Lydia's cousin and sometimes lover, a fat slob of an artist,
appears before him dressed in nothing but a towel, his belly hanging
over the top.
This generally ill-received assault (in both senses) on the art house market, filmed in English, toys perversely with its signifiers of 'class' (Nabokov novel, Stoppard script, Bogarde performance) to both plainly outrageous and oddly hermetic effect. The novel's surprises are merrily given away half way through (when distressed chocolate manufacturer Hermann Hermann decides to opt out of proto-Nazi Germany by murdering a 'double' who in fact looks nothing like him), and Fassbinder increasingly aligns the material with his more personal studies in schizophrenia like Satan's Brew or World on a Wire, while matching his own concerns with illusionism to Nabokov's with delusion. Bold, garish and obsessive, but more than a little irritating.Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Despair appears more detailed than an SD rendition on Blu-ray from Olive Films. There is some noise on the dual-layered disc - and the two-hour film has a middling bitrate. I can't help think the less-dynamic visual qualities are a faithful representation of the film. It is consistent in the 1.66:1 aspect ratio. There is little depth but detail is at healthy levels. I don't see that this Blu-ray transfer has had any digital manipulations. Certainly not the type of film that would rely on extraneous eye-candy - I suspect that the 1080P presentation was as good as we are likely to find for the film.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Olive Films provide a faithful DTS-HD Master in 2.0 channel stereo at 1687 kbps. It is fairly unremarkable without range or depth. Peer Raben's original score supports the film and, like the dialogue, sounds clean without notable flaw. There are no subtitles for the English language track and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE.
Only one extra - but it is a doozy. We get one of Robert Fischer's excellent feature-length making-of documentaries; The Cinema and Its Double. It includes new interviews with leading actress Andrea Ferreol, screenwriter Tom Stoppard, cinematographer Michael Ballhaus, and other members of the cast & crew - plus archival interviews with director Rainer Werner Fassbinder as well as behind the scenes clips of the work in progress. It runs just shy of 1 1/4 hours and is presented here in 1080P. Fassbinder fans will surely indulge and be appreciative of the content.
November 16th, 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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