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(aka "I Clowns" or "Les clowns" or "Die Clowns")

 

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/fellini.htm
Italy/France/West Germany 1970

 

CLOWNS is not simply a tribute to clowns; it provides a theoretical context for the clowns and eccentric characters that populate his oeuvre. In producing CLOWNS for television (it was shown on Christmas day on TV in black and white, and then premiered on the 27th theatrically in Technicolor), Fellini allowed himself to play with the documentary and cinema mediums. The documentary crew are not the actual film crew and their their interactions and the interviews are just as much the work of Fellini and scripter Bernardino Zapponi (FELLINI SATYRICON, Dario Argento's DEEP RED, Tinto Brass' ALL LADIES DO IT) as Fellini's childhood scenes. We see Fellini's documentary cameraman onscreen while Dario Di Palma's camera is sometimes Fellini's own physical POV, allowing some scenes to be visualized with the director's own cinematic eye. The interview scenes are flatly (but always pleasingly) lit and shot while the flashbacks and performances are beautifully colored and choreographed to Di Palma's gliding camera and Nino Rota's jaunty score. The behavior and mannerisms of some of the members of his fictional crew starts to blend with the clownish antics with Fellini becoming the ringmaster. Although produced for television, all of Fellini's technical regulars are present from editor Ruggero Mastroianni (CASANOVA) to composer Nino Rota (8 1/2) composer Carlo Savina conducted Rota's score, as he had JULIET OF THE SPIRITS and AMARCORD - to costume designer Danilo Donati (SATYRICON). LA DOLCE VITA's Anita Ekberg shows up at one of the circus venues to buy a panther and Charlie Chaplin's daughter Alexandra also makes a brief appearance.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 25 December 1970 (Italy - TV) / 27 December 1970 (Italy - theatrical)

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Comparison

Raro Video USA - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Raro Video USA - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the DVD Review!

1) Raro - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Raro - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Cover

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Raro Video USA

Region 0 - NTSC

Raro Video USA

Region FREE - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:32:00 1:31:51.547
Video

1.29:1 Open Matte format
Average Bitrate: 7.2 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 35,637,637,425 bytes

Feature: 21,309,253,632 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 24.69 Mbps

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

Bitrate

Bitrate Blu-ray

Audio Italian/French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono DTS-HD Master Audio Italian/French 2522 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2522 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio
Italian/French 1831 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1831 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Subtitles English, none English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Raro Video USA

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.29:1

Edition Details:
• UN AGENZIA MATRIMONIALE (1953) short by Fellini (4:3; 16:35)
• Fellini's Circus - visual essay by Adriano Apra (16:9; 42:18)
• 50-page booklet with notes and illustrations by Federico Fellini

DVD Release Date: 1 March 2011
Digipack in slipcase with booklet

Chapters 20

Release Information:
Studio: Raro Video USA

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 35,637,637,425 bytes

Feature: 21,309,253,632 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 24.69 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
• UN AGENZIA MATRIMONIALE (1953) short by Fellini (4:3; 16:38 in 1080P)
• Fellini's Circus - visual essay by Adriano Apra (16:9; 42:24 in 1080P)
• 50-page booklet with notes and illustrations by Federico Fellini

Blu-ray Release Date:
October 18th, 2011
Digipack in slipcase with booklet

Chapters 19

 

Comments

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

ADDITION: Raro - Region FREE - Blu-ray - Oct 11': Thanks goodness! - Raro have decided NOT to manipulate the 1080p transfer and the egregious edge-enhancement seen on the DVD is gone. Actually this could be used to showcase just what edge-enhancement is. So the Blu-ray visuals don't only improve in the usual areas of detail and depth but also improve in a digital sense by an incredible amount. There may still be some low frequency EE but it is no where near on the level of the SD - so as this is the same print it, most probably, identifies Raro as the culprit on the DVD manipulation. Anyway, this is good news - the HD image looks decent if not stellar and is probably an authentic representation of how the I Clowns originally looked. Strangely there is more on the sides edges and top but less information on the bottom edge.  

The 2.0 channel as provided on the DVD is here is a DTS-HD Master at 1831 kbps and a 5.1 bump is also available as an option in a slightly more robust track at 2522 kbps. The separations were kind of heavy handed and I finished my viewing with the stereo. It's lossless so this is as good as it will get. The optional English subtitles duplicate the translation of the DVD - and seem complete.

Extras are the same (as described by Eric below) but are in 1080P and the impressive 50-page booklet is also included.

This is a good package and has significant value over the DVD in the a/v transfer. Fellini fans should definitely indulge in the Blu-ray!

***

ON THE DVD: I CLOWNS was shot by D.P. Dario Di Palma for both television and theatrical showings, and was thus framed for both 1.33:1 for 1.85:1 matting. The chosen aspect ratio for this DVD edition - from the RAI restoration - was the full open-matte television image (in long shots, one can usually determine the top and bottom of the widescreen framing; for instance the bonfire at the bottom of the frame in the second screen capture). Unfortunately, there is egregious edge-enhancements (see sample) that mar the digital presentation.

The feature is accompanied by a visual essay on the film by Adriano Apra that better explains the distinction between White Clowns and Augostos, and how that applies to characterization in Fellini's other films. Apra also includes some charts and graphs of the camera angles and movements to analyze Fellini's visual and editing style (although little is said about Nino Rota's score, which works the same horn motif into several of the original cues).

The short UN AGENZIA MATRIMONIALE (1953) is actually Fellini's contribution to the omnibus film L'AMORE IN CITTA (which included segments by Michelangelo Antonioni, Dino Risi, Alberto Lattuada, Carlo Lizzani, Francesco Maselli, and Cesare Zavattini). Since Raro Italy is part of The Minerva Group, I'm assuming that the Fellini segment is taken from their restoration of the entire film. The Criterion-esque fifty-page booklet includes Fellini's reflections and notes on the film as well as script pages and original drawings by Fellini (both the visual essay and booklet draw on Renzo Renzi's companion book to the film).

There also exists a French disc from MK2, but it does not feature English subtitles. Beware the Synergy disc released on November 2010, which is unauthorized and reportedly features a horrible quality transfer.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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Screen Captures


Subtitle sample

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Edge Enhancement Halo on DVD!

 

 


1) Raro - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Raro - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Raro - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Raro - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Raro - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Raro - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Raro - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Raro - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Raro - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Raro - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Raro - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Raro - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

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DVD Box Cover

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Raro Video USA

Region 0 - NTSC

Raro Video USA

Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 




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