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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Ro.Go.Pa.G. [Blu-ray]

 

(Jean-Luc Godard, Ugo Gregoretti, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Roberto Rossellini, 1963)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Arco Film

Video: Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Spine #38

 

Disc:

Region: 'B'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:29:36.913

Disc Size: 29,817,238,947 bytes

Feature Size: 23,724,939,264 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.30 Mbps

Chapters: 13

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 27th, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio Italian 762 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 762 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 512 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

• Original Italian theatrical trailer
56-page booklet featuring new essays by Tag Gallagher, Arthur Mas, Martial Pisani, and Pasquale Iannone; a new translation by Tag Gallagher of excerpts from an oral history about the film; and rare archival imagery

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Conceived by the legendary Italian producer Alfredo Bini, the multi-director portmanteau film Let's Wash Our Brains: RoGoPaG [Laviamoci il cervello: RoGoPaG] brought together four giants of European cinema to contribute comic episodes reflective of the swinging post-"boom" era. The resulting omnibus collectively examines social anxieties around sex, nuclear war, religion, urbanisation - and the promise of a modern cinema.

Roberto Rossellini's Illibatezza [Virginity] follows an airline stewardess plagued by an obsessed American tourist whose 8mm camera enables the indulgence of a personal, and solipsistic, vision of the Ideal. Jean-Luc Godard's Il nuovo mondo [The New World] takes place in an Italian-dubbed Paris beset by nuclear fallout, and wittily chronicles the changes that take place in the lives - and medicine cabinet - of a handsome young couple. Pier Paolo Pasolini's scandalous La ricotta [Ricotta, as in the curded cheese] presents the goings-on around a film shoot devoted to the Crucifixion and presided over by none other than Orson Welles (playing a kind of stand-in for Pasolini himself); it is this episode that landed Pasolini with a suspended four-month prison sentence. Lastly, Ugo Gregoretti's Il pollo ruspante [Free-Range Chicken] depicts a middle-class Milanese family flirting with the purchase of real-estate and engaging catastrophically with an antagonistic consumerist infrastructure.

Let's Wash Our Brains: RoGoPaG remains one of the definitive entries of the Sixties vogue for the multi-auteur anthology film, and The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present it for the very first time anywhere in the world on Blu-ray, in a Dual Format (Blu-ray + DVD) edition.

 

 

The Film:

RoGoPaG is an omnibus of short films by Roberto Rossellini, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Ugo Gregoretti and Jean- Luc Godard. Each episode is introduced by a quotation from the Bible which the episode illustrates with a fiction of contemporary life. Rossellini's film, "Illibatezza" ("Virginity"), is the tale of Anna-Maria Rosanna Schiaffino, a beautiful, demure stewardess courted by Joe, an American businessman on a trip to Bangkok. Pasolini's film, "La Ricotta" ("Ricotta Cheese"), concerns a film crew shooting the passion of Christ. The film's director, played by Orson Welles, gives a hilarious interview to a journalist who comes on the set. The scenes from the passion are shot as recreations of renaissance paintings and the landscapes are filled with beautiful boys. Godard's "Il Nuovo Mondo" ("The New World") follows a couple, played by Jean-Marc Bory and Alexandra Stewart, whose relationship ends just after an atomic bomb is exploded high over Paris. The film uses the Paris of the early 1960s as the city of some indefinite future, a technique Godard would use again in Alphaville. Gregoretti's contribution "Il Polo Ruspante" ("The Free Range Chicken") cuts between a speech by a marketing expert (Ugo Tognazzi) and a family's Sunday outing. The expert speaks on mechanisms for promoting sales by keeping the consumer dissatisfied. The family takes a drive through traffic, negotiates an impersonal highway restaurant, and considers buying some land.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

 

The strange title combines the abbreviations of the four directors (Roberto Rossellini, Jean-Luc Godard, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and the relatively unknown Ugo Gregoretti) responsible for the sketches in this much-better-than-average Italian feature of 1962, when the art of cinema was in an especially lively phase. I don't recall the Gregoretti segment, but the other three make this well worth the price of admission, even if Rossellini's sketch and Godard's “The New World” (a rough draft for Alphaville) are ultimately more interesting than satisfying. Pasolini's episode, about the shooting of a biblical spectacular, with Orson Welles as the Felliniesque director, is mind-bogglingly wonderful.

Excerpt from Jonathan Rosenbaum at the Chicago Reader located HERE

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

Predictably, Masters of Cinema's Blu-ray treatment is housed on a dual-layered disc with a high bitrate. Ro.Go.Pa.G. looks reasonably consistent from short to short with only Rossellini's Illibatezza standing out with slightly heavier black levels and a thicker appearance. I can only surmise that this appears true to the source. Jean-Luc Godard's Il Nuovo Mondo and Pier Paolo Pasolini's La Ricotta look the best showcasing some desirable depth. There are some color sequences in Pasolini's and at the end of Gregoretti's "Il Polo Ruspante".  The image quality shows a fine layer of grain, layered contrast, no noise and the brief colors look rich. It is not glossy and I would guess the 1.85:1 aspect ratio 1080P transfer is a strong replication of the theatrical appearance almost 50-years ago. This Blu-ray provided me an excellent video presentation.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Illibatezza

 

 

 

 

 

 

Il Nuovo Mondo

 

 

 

 

 

La Ricotta

 

 

 

 

 

Il Polo Ruspante

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Authentic to its production, Masters of Cinema provide a DTS-HD Master in 2.0 channel at a modest 762 kbps. It sounds flat but true with a modicum of depth. These film sport dialogue as the majority of the sound and it is always clear and clean with no blatant DUB-sync issues. Carlo Rustichelli's scores support the films well in lossless never overwhelming the narrative. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

 

Extras :

Digitally we only get a trailer but MoC have added one of their typically extensive liner notes booklets - 56-pages featuring new essays by Tag Gallagher, Arthur Mas, Martial Pisani, and Pasquale Iannone; a new translation by Tag Gallagher of excerpts from an oral history about the film; and rare archival imagery.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Ro.Go.Pa.G. is very interesting - I think I liked Godard's the best with Pasolini's heavy-handed parody La Ricotta masterful (which is also featured on the 2-Disc Criterion Collection DVD for Mamma Roma) - but there is merit in the entire grouping of all 4 in one viewing. This, certainly, isn't overly cerebral and is a smart choice for MoC to release on Blu-ray. World Cinema fans of the auteurs should leap all over this - strongly recommended! 

Gary Tooze

August 17th, 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 3500 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.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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