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H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Moment of Truth [Blu-ray]


(Francesco Rosi, 1965)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Federiz

Video: Criterion Collection - Spine #595



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

Runtime: 1:47:30.485

Disc Size: 35,852,972,623 bytes

Feature Size: 31,499,593,728 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Chapters: 17

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: January 24th, 2011



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



LPCM Audio Italian 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit



English (SDH), none



• Exclusive interview with director Francesco Rosi from 2004 (13:52 in HD)
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Peter Matthews





Description: The Moment of Truth (Il momento della veritŕ), from director Francesco Rosi, is a visceral plunge into the life of a famous torero—played by real-life bullfighting legend Miguel Mateo, known as Miguelín. Charting his rise and fall with a single-minded focus on the bloody business at hand, the film is at once gritty and operatic, placing the viewer right in the thick of the ring’s action, as close to death as possible. Like all of the great Italian truth seeker’s films, this is not just an electrifying drama but also a profound and moving inquiry into a violent world—and it’s perhaps the greatest bullfighting movie ever made.



The Film:

Aficionados of the bullfights can save their money this year. There's no need to make the long journey to Spain or Mexico.

All the raw excitement of the bullring that anyone could normally require, plus a wealth of the color and drama in the life of a young torero, may be had for the price of a theater ticket and the usual subway fare, from Francesco Rosi's stunning bullfight film, "The Moment of Truth," which came to the Fine Arts yesterday.

Never have I seen a motion picture that so clearly and unrelentingly shows the whole brutal, bloody business of the killing of bulls in the ring as does this virtual documentary, which has as its star young Miguel Mateo Miguelin, one of the leading bullfighters of Spain.

Excerpt from Bosley Crowther at the NY Times located HERE

The glare of the sun, the surge of flamenco, the roar of the crowd: Rosi's film about bullfighting is all this and more. On to a Blood and Sand-style story of an Andalusian boy abandoning his arid, poverty-stricken home for the supposed glamour of the urban corridas, is grafted an ambivalent, subtle analysis of the thorny byways bordering on the road to fame and fortune; exchanging hardship for the manipulative deals of entrepreneurial Dons and the contempt of bourgeois socialites, the hero's resolve to make good finally results in a blurred nightmare of disillusionment and death. Without glorifying the 'sport', the magnificent 'Scope compositions nevertheless display the matador's mesmeric grace and daring, while admitting the frenzied brutality that delights the bloodthirsty, callous crowds. It's a colourful, cruel world of senseless exploitation (of animals and humans alike) and tyrannical traditions, rendered with vivid brilliance by this uncommonly unsentimental director.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

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

This is a very gritty, thick image on Criterion Blu-ray of Francesco Rosi's The Moment of Truth. There is no gloss and the visuals are not sharp but rather heavily textured. Much of the film is shot in 'the ring' with outdoor lighting and in later, indoor, sequences with far less light show some noise. Colors look fine (red capes and impressive 'suit of lights') for the most part but there are a few weaker moments. So, while this is not a pristine looking film - I suspect that Criterion are representing it as accurately as possible. This Blu-ray has little depth and the appeal is mostly in the grain. Not as consistent a presentation as we have seen from Criterion - it is nonetheless a rewarding one with its 1080P film-like characteristics benefiting substantially over the SD format.















Audio :

We get a liner PCM mono track at 1152 kbps. It is fairly unremarkable - the Italian occasionally seems out of sync. There is original music by Piero Piccioni who also did the score for La commare secca. In the party sequences we have what sounds like Walter Wanderley organ pieces reminiscent of the hip 60's. The finale (Church 'Fine') music sounds like it's breaking up and I don't know whether this is an effect of the track was damaged. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

Extras are lean - we get a exclusive 14-minute interview with director Francesco Rosi recorded in Italy - 2004 by Criterion - perhaps at the time of Criterion Salvatore Giuliano release. There is also a liner notes booklet featuring an essay by critic Peter Matthews.



The Moment of Truth is a film without a lot of dialogue and it has a lot of bullfighting. It gives a quasi-education into the so-called 'sport' and passion behind it but is more of a personal chronology of one young man's life as he departs his farming village into the big city. We learn very little about him as a person, but follow his journey. I loved it. The Blu-ray offers a great way to view it in your Home Theater - quite a fascinating experience. Recommended! 

Gary Tooze

January 6th, 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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