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The Fernando Arrabal Collection 2
 

Car Cemetery (1983)         The Emperor of Peru (1982)         Farewell Babylon (1992)

 

Borges, Life of a Poet (1998)          Arrabal, Panik Cineast (2007)

 

The 3-Disc set includes- (1)Car Cemetery (1983): Combining punk rock and post-apocalyptic mayhem, Arrabal's outrageous adaptation of his infamous 1958 stage play is a gallows-humor romp in a wretched dystopia. One of Arrabal's most rare and wanted films. (2)The Emperor of Peru (1982): A charming and phantasmagoric children's film that stars Mickey Rooney. Rarely seen outside of a brief theatrical run and a long out-of-print videocassette release. (3)And three bonus films as part of the exclusive box set: Farewell, Babylon! (1992), Borges, Life of a Poet (1998) Arrabal, Panik Cineast (2007).


 

(aka "Le cimetière des voitures" or "The Automobile Graveyard")

 

directed by Fernando Arrabal
France 1983

 

A TV production based on Arrabal's own play, CAR CEMETERY tells the loose story of a group of thieves, pimps, and punks enact the Christ story in an auto junkyard (the titular car cemetery) lead by a fugitive rock star Emanou (the late Alain Bashung) in the role of the messiah attempting to stage a forbidden concert but the interference of corrupt cops (commanded by the powers that be from a hidden bunker) may lead to the expected finale of the passion play. Juliet Berto (CELINE AND JULIE GO BOATING) co-stars. Long officially unavailable to international viewers due to the undeserved relative obscurity of the director in the shadow of Jodorowsky and its status as a television production, CAR CEMEMTERY has dated but it is those retro qualities (including some very eighties hair and striped legwarmers) which now make it most entertaining. The very eighties photography makes it one of Arrabal's slickest works and is on par with the work of other Cine du Look artists like Jean-Jacques Beineix, Luc Besson, as well as Andrzej Zulawski's eighties French films.

Eric Cotenas

Theatrical Release: 30 April 1983 (France)

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DVD Review: Cult Epics (Fernando Arrabal Collection 2) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Cult Epics

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:26:18 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.68:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.72 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Cult Epics

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.68:1

Edition Details:
• Trailers for VIVA LA MUERTE, I WILL WALK LIKE A CRAZY HORSE, and THE GUERNICA TREE

DVD Release Date: 23 February 2010
Amaray

Chapters 10

 

Comments

Cult Epics' DVD of this French television production is sourced from a PAL-converted down-conversion of a new high definition master. Despite interlacing and ghosting, the original image is clean and vibrant when at its brightest but there is some softness associated with European TV productions of the time. French mono audio is clear but not very bold which is surprising since the film features punk musical numbers but it is probably an accurate rendering of the original track. Regrettably, while the subtitles translate all of the dialogue, they do not translate the French song lyrics. Other than trailers for VIVA LA MUERTE and I WILL WALK LIKE A CRAZY HORSE (from the previous Cult Epics Arrabal set), there are no other extras. CAR CEMETERY is the only disc not exclusive to the set.

  - Eric Cotenas

 



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(aka "Odyssey of the Pacific" or "Treasure Train")

 

directed by Fernando Arrabal
France/Canada 1982

 

The parents of Toby and Liz take in a Cambodian refugee Hoang. The three bond and make the acquaintance of a crippled railroad engineer (Mickey Rooney) who lives in the woods with his own locomotive. Toby already has a very active imagination (illustrated in fantasy sequences featuring the adventures of Toby and his goose that make nice use of old fashioned miniatures and simple effects illusions) but the presence of the locomotive conjures a fantasy journey back to Cambodia to reunite Hoang with his family. An odd but occasionally endearing "family film" -- families in Arrabal films are usually rife with incest, Oedipal urges, madness, delusion, matricide and patricide -- THE EMPEROR OF PERU was a French/Canadian production little seen since its theatrical release and early eighties video release under an alternate title. It's perfectly workable as a family film (although it may try the patience of younger viewers accustomed to CGI-heavy Disney fare) but it is more of interest to Arrabal fans because of its obscurity (footage is excerpted in Arrabal's even more obscure FAREWELL, BABYLON also included on the Arrabal set). Rooney appearing in this film is certainly no stranger than his appearance in SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT PART 5.

Eric Cotenas

Theatrical Release: 10 December 1982 (Canada)

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Cult Epics (Fernando Arrabal Collection 2) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Cult Epics

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:18:03 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.28 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono; French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Cult Epics

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.66:1

Edition Details:
• none

DVD Release Date: 23 February 2010
Amaray

Chapters 18

 

Comments

Transferred from a PAL down-conversion of a high definition master from a French source, Cult Epics' disc exhibits combing and ghosting but the image underneath is attractive though muted given the settings (even with the conversion artefacts, the image looks far superior to the excerpted footage from the film seen in Arrabal's later FAREWELL BABYLON which might have been videotaped off of a projection screen). Mono English and French dub tracks are available for this one along with optional English subtitles (the English track sounds slightly better but both are fine for the film's age). EMPEROR OF PERU is exclusive to the Arrabal set. There are no extras on the disc itself but there are trailers on the CAR CEMETERY disc and the two hour long documentaries on the FAREWELL BABYLON disc could be considered the set's extras.

  - Eric Cotenas

 



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(aka "Adieu, Babylone!" )

 

directed by Fernando Arrabal
France 1992

 

Lelia (Lelia Fischer) stalks the city seeking to connect with vestiges (or fantasies) of the memory of her executed father. She has a hypnotic effect on the people she meets, entrancing them even while murdering those she feels are already empty shells. Meanwhile, a detective stalks her through the city alternately intrigued and repulsed by her acts. Given the title (also that of the source novel) and that it is Arrabal's last directorial work to date, it is fitting that the film features recycled music and footage from his first film VIVA LA MUERTE (available separately or as part of the first 3 disc FERNANDO ARRABAL COLLECTION) - as well as THE EMPEROR OF PERU from this set - which was based on his novel BABYLON. On the other hand, the plot is atypical Arrabal (based on my viewing of five of his other films and of course Jodorowsky's FANDO Y LIS which was based on Arrabal's work). Although the story thread of the protagonist trying to connect with the memory of her executed father can be likened to Arrabal's first film, the structure of the film comes across as what Robbe-Grillet might have done had he taken to the streets in the eighties or nineties with an analog video camera, constructing a plot around the sites of the city, interviews/scripted readings with intellectual friends (including a brief appearance by Spike Lee), and sending actors out into the street to bewilder passersby. The videography, video switcher graphics, and special effects scream school AV club but Arrabal's literal narration of the story is poetic and compelling; giving the only occasionally evocative images a sense of profundity (and at times anticipates the strangely cruder later work of digital-video-era Jess Franco). Besides the recycled music from VIVA LA MUERTE, the film also contains African vocals which were sampled around that time by the world music group Deep Forest for their first hit album. The film is noted for an appearance by Spike Lee.

Eric Cotenas

Theatrical Release: 1992 (France)

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DVD Review: Cult Epics (Fernando Arrabal Collection 2 [di) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Cult Epics

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 54:20
Video

1.30:1 Open Matte format
Average Bitrate: 5.76 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Cult Epics

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.30:1

Edition Details:
• BORGES - A LIFE IN POETRY documentary (4:3; 1:05:52; with English subtitles)
• ARRABAL, PANIK CINEAST documentary (4:3; 58:22; with English subtitles)

DVD Release Date: 23 February 2010
Amaray

Chapters 7

 

Comments

Shot on analog videotape and transferred from a source with minor damage in the form of horizontal lines at the start, FAREWELL BABYLON will never look all that great (it was screen in France in 1992 but I have no idea if it was transferred to film). The mono sound (mainly narration) is okay and the subtitles are error-free although a little fast as they have to keep up with the fast French dialogue. This third disc is an exclusive to the set and also features a documentary on author Jose Luis Borges (featuring interview footage with the late author) directed by Arrabal and a documentary on Arrabal himself with input from Alejandro Jodorowsky (whose FANDO Y LIS was based on an Arrabal play). As with THE EMPEROR OF PERU (and THE GUERNICA TREE in the first Arrabal set), the FAREWELL BABYLON disc is exclusive to the set.

  - Eric Cotenas

 



DVD Menus
 

 


Screen Captures


Subtitle sample

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

 

Distribution

Cult Epics

Region 0 - NTSC

 



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