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(aka "Stellet Licht" or "Lumière Silencieuse" or "Luz Silenciosa" or "Stilles Licht" )

 

directed by Carlos Reygadas
Mexico/France/Netherlands/Germany 2007

 

Mexican Mennonite farmer Johan (Cornelio Wall) upsets his community when he falls for another woman Marianne (Maria Pankratz) although he is married to Esther (Miriam Toews) and has five children. He is surprised (and perhaps a bit disappointed) when preacher father (Pedro Wall) says he and his mother will support whatever choice he makes, but advises that he could lose both women if he doesn't act at all. Marianne feels sorry for Esther, but is as powerless to turn Johan away as he is to end things with her. Esther is not ignorant of the affair, but is her sympathetic and supportive nature all it seems to be? With the three sides of the triangle seemingly unable to act decisively, will fate force Johan's hand? Although the film won several awards (including the best picture equivalent of Mexico's Ariel Awards), it was ineligible for the Oscars. The three leads were from Mennonite backgrounds and new to acting, although their sects were not quite as traditional as the one in the film. Wall worked at a radio station, Toews is a novelist, and Pankratz won a Mexican Film Academy award for her performance (Toews was also nominated). The line readings are blank but the physical performances are strong with the three leads conveying a lot of complex emotions eyes and little physical gestures. Reygadas and cinematographer Alexis Zabe intentionally capture lens flares in the exteriors, and these flares take on an almost supernatural significance as they envelop Cornelio and Marianne in an early scene). Carlos Reygadas has achieved some wonderful contemplative sequences in BATTLE IN HEAVEN and JAPON, but he seems to have taken it too far here at times (the sequence introducing Johan and his family at the breakfast table devolves from tension into arthouse parody, especially with the two-shot that reveals that Johan and Esther are seated right beside each other, despite having been shown previously only in separate close-ups). Reygadas seems to hold too long on everything (other than the mesmerizing sunrise and sunset shots that bookend the film), but the effect is more often successful than not. The sometimes trying pace does emphasize the emotional stagnation wrought by Johan's indecisiveness, but I suspect that film fans raised on a diet of Dreyer (some reviews have described the film as either a homage or update of ORDET), Bresson, and perhaps Bruno Dumont (L'HUMANITE), will find this a more rewarding view than others.

Eric Cotena

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Theatrical Release: 12 October 2007 (Mexico)

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DVD Comparison:

Palisades Tartan - Region 2 - PAL vs. Palisades Tartan (Vivendi Entertainment) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the Screen Caps!

(Palisades Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. Palisades Tartan (Vivendi Entertainment) - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Palisades Tartan

Region 2 - PAL

Palisades Tartan (Vivendi Entertainment)
Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 2:10:44 (4% PAL speedup) 2:10:28 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

2.40:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.25 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

2.37:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.37 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:

 

Palisades Tartan

 

Bitrate:

 

Palisades Tartan (Vivendi Entertainment)

 

Audio Plautdietsch DTS 5.1; Plautdietsch Dolby Digital 5.1; Plautdietsch Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo

Plautdietsch DTS 5.1; Plautdietsch Dolby Digital 5.1; Plautdietsch Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo

Subtitles English, none English, Spanish, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Palisades Tartan

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.40:1

Edition Details:
• Making-Of (4:3; 35:50)
• Deleted Scenes (4:3; 6:50)
• Interview with actor Cornelio Wall (4:3; 7:28)

DVD Release Date: 19 July 2010
Amaray

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Palisades Tartan (Vivendi Entertainment)

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.37:1

Edition Details:
• Making-Of (4:3; 35:50)
• Deleted Scenes (4:3; 7:18)
• Interview with actor Cornelio Wall (4:3; 7:25)
• Start-up trailer for BATTLE IN HEAVEN

 

DVD Release Date: 8 September 2009
Amaray

Chapters 16

 

Comments

The R2 wins here for being a native PAL, progressive, anamorphic, dual-layer transfer, while the R1 is a PAL-NTSC conversion. The audio specs and extras are the same for both editions. The interview with Wall is interesting (the audio is low but it is subtitled) since he really was a farmer, although he also worked at a radio station and is much more lively than his character. Although the dialogue is sparse, the sound design is shot through with detail, so the surround options are the way to go (but the 2.0 downmix works too). The R2 also lists "Film Notes by Jason Wood" as an extra, but they were not included with the review copy. The R2 seems to be identical to the OOP 2008 Tartan UK release. The R4 release has only a 2.0 mix and a trailer.

NOTE: My review copy of the R2 disc had 15 chapters but none of them had been linked to the chapter selections on the scene menu; selecting any scene from the menu started the film off from the beginning.

 - Eric Cotenas

 



DVD Menus
(
Palisades Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. Palisades Tartan (Vivendi Entertainment) - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)
 

 


 

Screen Captures

(Palisades Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Palisades Tartan (Vivendi Entertainment) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)
Subtitle sample

 


(Palisades Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Palisades Tartan (Vivendi Entertainment) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Palisades Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Palisades Tartan (Vivendi Entertainment) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Palisades Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Palisades Tartan (Vivendi Entertainment) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Palisades Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Palisades Tartan (Vivendi Entertainment) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Palisades Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Palisades Tartan (Vivendi Entertainment) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Palisades Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Palisades Tartan (Vivendi Entertainment) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Palisades Tartan (UK)

Sound:

Draw

Extras: Draw
Menu: Draw

 
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Palisades Tartan

Region 2 - PAL

Palisades Tartan (Vivendi Entertainment)
Region 1 - NTSC

 

 

 

 




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