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(aka 'The Great Beauty" or "La grande bellezza")

Directed by Paolo Sorrentino
Italy / France 2013

 

For decades, journalist Jep Gambardella has charmed and seduced his way through the glittering nightlife of Rome. Since the legendary success of his only novel, he has been a permanent fixture in the city’s literary and elite social circles. But on his sixty-fifth birthday, Jep unexpectedly finds himself taking stock of his life, turning his cutting wit on himself and his contemporaries, and looking past the lavish nightclubs, parties, and cafés to find Rome itself, in all its monumental glory: a timeless landscape of absurd, exquisite beauty. Featuring sensuous cinematography, a lush score, and an award-winning central performance by the great Toni Servillo, this transporting experience by the brilliant Italian director Paolo Sorrentino is a breathtaking Felliniesque tale of decadence and lost love.

 

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Theatrical Release: May 21st, 2013 - Cannes Film Festival

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Comparison:

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

1) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - LEFT

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

   

Distribution Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Criterion Collection, spine #702 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 2:21:03.079 2:21:29.105
Video

Disc Size: 42,583,054,640 bytes

Feature Size: 37,967,702,016 bytes

Average Bitrate: 27.92 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

Disc Size: 47,834,064,150 bytes

Feature Size: 35,770,798,080 bytes

Average Bitrate: 27.95 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate: Artificial Eye Blu-ray

Bitrate: Criterion Blu-ray

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio Italian 3883 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3883 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)

LPCM Audio Italian 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

DTS-HD Master Audio Italian 4016 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4016 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Subtitles English, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Disc Size: 42,583,054,640 bytes

Feature Size: 37,967,702,016 bytes

Average Bitrate: 27.92 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

Edition Details:

• Backstage (15:45)
• Theatrical trailer (2:05) 

Blu-ray Release Date: January 13th, 2014
Standard
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 12

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Disc Size: 47,834,064,150 bytes

Feature Size: 35,770,798,080 bytes

Average Bitrate: 27.95 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

Edition Details:

• New conversation between Sorrentino and Italian cultural critic Antonio Monda (37:59)
• New interview with actor Toni Servillo (12:35)
• New interview with screenwriter Umberto Contarello (11:45)
• Deleted scenes (2:46)
• Trailer (2:08)
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Phillip Lopate

2 DVDs containing the feature and extras of the Blu-ray

Blu-ray Release Date: March 25th, 2014
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 34

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - February 2014': Picture quality is excellent on both - equally as robust but the Criterion is a bit darker with slightly warmer skin tones. NOTE: Criterion advertises as "a new 2K digital film transfer, approved by director Paolo Sorrentino." It is more evident when you toggle between the large captures. I saw no framing ambiguities or dramatic color shifts, damage or noise. At this time I have no preference between the two - although expect to lean to the darker, slightly richer, Criterion over time. This is such a rich, vivid, visual film filled with incredible imagery. Both 1080P transfer capture the amazing cinematography of Luca Bigazzi - shot in Rome and Tuscany. The Great Beauty is one of the most beautiful films I have seen in years.

The DTS-HD Master 5.1 tracks sound identical to my ear. Lele Marchitelli's score sounds wonderful - full of energy, depth with contemplative moments. I wasn't overly aware of separations but it might have been because I was so into the visual aspects of the presentation. There is also music performed by The Choir of the Temple Church, Kronos Quartet, and others, with compositions from Bizet, Zbigniew Preisner, I'm a big fan of Górecki - and it was pleasing to hear some of that composer's music in The Great Beauty. Each Blu-ray release has optional English subtitles and are coded for their region ('A' for Criterion and 'B' for Artificial Eye.)

So, as we often see, the big difference is in the supplements. Artificial Eye have added a beautiful video piece entitled simply 'Backstage' - it has more impressive visuals and behind the scenes footage with gentle music. There is no narration. They also offer a trailer.

As per their usual - Criterion add many extras. There is a new (Oct 13' - recorded by Criterion), 38-minute conversation between Sorrentino and Italian cultural critic Antonio Monda. The director talks about his early career and the genesis and making of The Great Beauty. We get a dozen minutes (also newly recoded by Criterion) with actor Toni Servillo who has collaborated with Sorrentino on several projects. Servillo discusses his work with the director - especially in The Great Beauty. Criterion produce a third new interview - this one with screenwriter Umberto Contarello for almost 12-minutes. Contarello has written for numerous directors, including Sorrentino, Carlo Mazzacurati and Bernardo Bertolucci. In this interview conducted in Novermber of 2013 he discusses working with Sorrentino and the inspiration for the character Joe Gambardella. There are also three minutes of deleted scenes, a trailer and a liner notes booklet featuring an essay by critic Phillip Lopate. The package is dual-format and has 2 DVD with the feature and all the extras of the Blu-ray.  

This is a pure masterpiece evoking Fellini and celebrating life, love and relationships. We encourage all viewers to own this, in either release, although the Criterion, predictably, eclipses because of their extras. The Great Beauty is a must-own on Blu-ray and one-of-a-kind film experience. Don't hesitate on a purchase - you will never regret it.

Gary W. Tooze


Menus

 

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

                     

Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


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

 

Subtitle Sample

1) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - v - TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

Box Covers

   

Distribution Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Criterion Collection, spine #702 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray




 

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