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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Forgiveness of Blood [Blu-ray]


(Joshua Marston, 2011)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Fandango Portobello

Video: Criterion Collection Spine #628



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

Runtime: 1:49:39.197

Disc Size: 46,234,082,851 bytes

Feature Size: 33,572,087,808 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.94 Mbps

Chapters: 18

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 16th, 2012



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio Albanian 3616 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3616 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps



English (SDH), none



• Audio commentary by director and cowriter Joshua Marston
Two new video programs: Acting Close to Home (23:29), a discussion between Marston and
actors Refet Abazi, Tristan Halilaj, and Sindi Lašej, and Truth on the Ground (17:39), featuring new and on-set interviews with producer Paul Mezey, Abazi, Halilaj, and Lašej
Audition (9:25) and rehearsal footage (10:07)
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film writer Oscar Moralde





Description: American director Joshua Marston emerged in 2004 with the jolting, Oscar-nominated Maria Full of Grace, about a young Colombian woman working as a drug mule. In his remarkable follow-up, The Forgiveness of Blood, he turns his camera on another corner of the world: contemporary northern Albania, a place still troubled by the ancient custom of interfamilial blood feuds. From this reality, Marston sculpts a fictional narrative about a teenage brother and sister physically and emotionally trapped in a cycle of violence, a result of their father’s entanglement with a rival clan over a piece of land. The Forgiveness of Blood is a tense and perceptive depiction of a place where tradition and progress coexist uneasily, as well as a dynamic coming-of-age drama.



The Film:

A young man faces a life paying for the misdeeds of his elders in this drama. Nik (Tristan Halilaj) is a teenager growing up in a small village in Albania; he has little interest in his father's baking business, and is more concerned with surfing the Internet, hanging out with his friends and trying to impress Bardha (Zana Hasaj), a pretty girl he knows from school. But whatever future Nik might hope for is put on hold when his father Mark (Refet Abazi) revives a long-standing feud over a land dispute with his neighbor Sokol (Veton Osmani), leading to a violent confrontation that claims Sokol's life. An ancient Albanian tradition has it that the survivors of a violent murder can kill a man from the family that committed the crime without consequence; however, they can only do so in the open, so Nik and the other men in his household are only safe as long as they stay in their home. As Nik's sister Rudina (Sindi Lacej) takes over the family business, his world is reduced to the inside of the family residence, which proves to be almost as maddening as the possibility of being murdered. American filmmaker Joshua Marston shot The Forgiveness Of Blood on location in Albania using a cast of local actors; the film was an official selection at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Eight years on from his well-received debut, the Colombian-American drug-smuggling drama ‘Maria Full of Grace’, Californian writer-director Joshua Marston returns with this low-key tale of life in rural Albania. When his father steps over the line in a vendetta with a neighbouring family, teenage Nik (Tristan Halilaj) is forced by ancient rules of conduct to stay indoors until the dispute is settled. While younger sister Rudina (Sindi Lacej) takes over the family’s bread delivery route (and the care of their horse, Klinsmann), Nik is confined indoors, going slowly crazy. There’s much to admire in ‘The Forgiveness of Blood’: the landscapes are beautiful, the performances – particularly the two young leads – are quietly impressive and the sense of a remote, insular community ruled by old ways (despite the arrival of mobiles and Facebook) is powerfully realised.

Excerpt from ATimeOut located HERE

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

The Forgiveness of Blood on Blu-ray from Criterion looks like a strong representation of the theatrical.  The image is not particularly dynamic in terms of color or sharpness but it is dual-layered with a high bitrate which suggests this is an accurate presentation. The film has some highly interesting cinematography by Rob Hardy that impresses in its subtlety. The Blu-ray exports some texture. It is in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and contrast is adept. They are a few examples of depth. This Blu-ray is no noise or discernable flaws and supplies a very supportive 1080P Home Theater presentation.

















Audio :

The audio comes in the form of a DTS-HD Master 5.1 track in the original Albanian at a whopping 3616 kbps. This transfer can handle anything the film dishes out - which is not as aggressive as you might anticipate. Your surround speakers don't get an extensive workout but there are instances of subtleties in the effects and where the audio deviates from the passive. In short - I expect that this audio is a perfect, flawless, interpretation of the theatrical. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A' disc.


Extras :

Criterion fill the supplements with an intimate audio commentary by director and cowriter Joshua Marston dealing many specifics of the production and evolution of the story. There are two new video programs recorded by Criterion in 2012: Acting Close to Home (23:29), a discussion between Marston and actors Refet Abazi, Tristan Halilaj, and Sindi Lašej, and Truth on the Ground (17:39), featuring new and on-set interviews with producer Paul Mezey, Abazi, Halilaj, and Lašej. There is both audition (9:25) and rehearsal footage (10:07). Plus there is a trailer and a liner notes booklet featuring an essay by film writer Oscar Moralde.



The Forgiveness of Blood is hard hitting. It sets a strong scenario and establishes some bonding with the characters before escalating. I thought it was an important film and will be revisiting it again. The Criterion Blu-ray package offers a solid a/v presentation with keen extras and the disc is recommended! 

Gary Tooze

October 5th, 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.

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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