S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
(aka 'The Lighthouse')
Directed by Mariya Saakyan
Russia | Armenia
|Maria Saakyan's elegiac,
semi-autobiographical slice-of-life drama THE LIGHTHOUSE
unfolds in the very early '90s, against the backdrop of the
Caucasus wars that plagued Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. As
the scope of this mass-scaled conflict extends itself to one
woman's small village, she is forced to drop everything, move to
Moscow, and start over from scratch -- thus bidding farewell to
her hometown and way of life, perhaps indefinitely.
Maria Saakyan’s elegiac, semi-autobiographical, humanist drama The Lighthouse unfolds against the backdrop of the Caucasus wars that plagued Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan during the early 1990s.
Told with a dream-like emphasis on vision and
sound this is the story of a young woman, Lena (Anna Kapaleva),
who returns to her home in a remote, war-ravaged Armenian
village to try and persuade her grandparents to leave with her
for safety in Moscow. With a striking emphasis on the cinematic
image and set to an hypnotic soundtrack by Finnish composer
Kimmo Pohjonen, Lena’s return to her homeland combines
documentary with the great visual tradition of the cinema of
Tarkovsky and Paradjanov to become a poetic journey of
discovery. An outstanding directorial debut, and an immensely
Theatrical Release: June 2006 (Moscow Film Festival)
DVD Review: Second Run - Region 0 - PAL
|DVD Box Cover
CLICK to order from:
|Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL
|1:14:27 (4% PAL Speedup)
Average Bitrate: 7.95 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Russian (Dolby Digital 2.0)
• Short Film - Farewell (Proshchanie) (24:40)
Visually this is as close to Tarkovsky as I have seen from another director. The Russian Master's films came pouring back to me as I watched Mayak. Hopefully you can see some of that in the screen captures below. I don't know if it all comes together as a complete film - but 'Wow' - I was in nirvana watching the cinematography.
Typical of Second Run - the DVD is region free, progressive, in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio and rendered in the PAL standard. It looks excellent for the SD-format. Close-ups help define the detail present and contrast is very strong. Even colors are given some realistic expression and the package describes the disc as '...presented in a new director-approved digital transfer with restored picture and sound.'
The flat 2.0 channel Russian-language audio is fairly consistent but less a part of the presentation than the inspiring video. There are, complete, optional English subtitles. I was, perhaps, more intrigued with a short film by Maria Saakyan - Farewell (Proshchanie) (running almost 25-minutes) included as a generous supplement. My appreciation grew for Mayak as I read the 20-page liner notes booklet featuring a new interview with the director and new essays by author/poet Sophie Mayer and film historian (also friend and DVDBeaver ListServ member) Vigen Galstyan. Magnificent.
My opinion is that The Lighthouse will prove an excellent film to re-watch and mull-over in subsequent viewings - perhaps sparking a range of discussion topics. Truly, I was impressed with the film's evocative aesthetic. Second Run never ceases to expand my cinematic horizons. We recommend to those adventurous and appreciative of the varied milieu of world film and this package provides a superb presentation plus the worthwhile supplemental short. I hope to see more of Maria Saakyan soon...