S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
(Alexander Sokurov, 2011)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Proline Film
Video: Artificial Eye
Region: 'B' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 43,604,764,382 bytes
Feature Size: 42,424,590,336 bytes
Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: August 20th, 2012
Aspect ratio: 1.37:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio German 1824 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1824 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
LPCM Audio German 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
English (SDH), English, none
• Trailer (1:45)
Description: Alexander Sokurov completes a cinematic tetralogy of films, the previous three were based on historical figures: Adolf Hitler (Moloch, 1999), Vladimir Lenin (Taurus, 2000), and Emperor Hirohito (The Sun, 2005), by delving further into the nature of power with his own unique take on Goethe’s Faust.
Sokurov’s protagonist, Heinrich Faust (Johannes Zeiler) is an early-19th-century middle-European anatomist who believes that the human soul can be located within the body, messily dissecting corpses to justify his theories. His intellectual arrogance is challenged by Mauricius (Anton Adasinsky), the town’s wheedling moneylender, who dismisses Faust’s preoccupations with an airy “The soul? One can do without it. Why complicate things?” (Perhaps echoing Walter Huston’s Mr Scratch in The Devil and Daniel Webster : “Soul? Soul is nothing… Can you see it? Smell it? Touch it? No…”) Mauricius, whose imperious wife (Euro art-film legend Hanna Schygulla) waltzes around in an array of operatically excessive costumes – is never named as ‘Mephistopheles’ here, but he obviously fills the role of Goethe/Marlowe’s Satanic tempter. His bargain involves granting Faust carnal access to virginal damsel Gretchen (Isolda Dychauk), a character often named ‘Marguerite’ in previous iterations. Arguably Sokurov’s trump card, saturnine Dychauk is such a luminous screen presence that one might imagine a mature, intelligent scientist like Faust trading his eternal soul for a night in her bed.Excerpt from Neil Young's Film Lounge located HERE
Several things about Russian filmmaker Alexander Sokurov’s
German-language spin on the Faust legend – the fourth and final part of
his tetralogy of films about power and evil after ‘Moloch’, ‘The Sun’
and ‘Taurus’ – make it a difficult, even alienating experience. It’s
talky. It’s often rambling. It has a rigorous, even unrelenting, grey,
green and brown palette and, narratively, it’s tough to penetrate.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Artificial Eye have given the heavy style of Sokurov's Faust a robust Blu-ray transfer. Surely the dual-layered transfer with max'ed bitrate picks up all the intended appearance modulations from a 1.37:1 aspect ratio with rounded corners to the occasional distortions we saw so prominently in the director's Mother and Son. The visuals are frequently masked with a brownish or dimly lit hue - both soft and flat. The 1080P supports the film's idiosyncrasies as adeptly as possible which includes some horizontal lines - mostly imperceptible in standard viewing. It's pristinely clean and highly interesting to watch. We presume this Blu-ray probably looks exactly like the uniqueness of an original theatrical presentation - no matter how unconventional that is.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Audio is in original German via the option of a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 1824 kbps or a linear PCM stereo track. There are a couple of notable separations that add further atmosphere to the odd visual appearance. Faust's, occasionally creepy, audio matches the video with its own share of scatteredness - again we presume authenticity. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.
This Artificial Eye Blu-ray release offers only a theatrical trailer.
August 10th, 2012
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 5000 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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