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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Bankers of God: The Calvi Affair aka "I Banchieri Di Dio" [Blu-ray]

 

(Giuseppe Ferrara, 2002)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Sistina Cine

Video: Raro USA

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:07:37.650

Disc Size: 24,443,431,127 bytes

Feature Size: 22,628,794,368 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.02 Mbps

Chapters: 13

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 5th, 2014

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: VC-1 Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio Italian 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

 

Subtitles:

English, None

 

Extras:

The Blackfriars Connection (21:50)

12-page liner notes booklet with essays

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Directed by Giuseppe Ferrara, the political thriller I Banchieri Di Dio (God's Bankers) is based on the true-crime saga of the corrupted Banco Ambrosiano and the unsolved murder of bank president Roberto Calvi in 1982. Co-written by Ferrara and Armenia Balducci, the complex story involves the discovery of a trillion lire deficiet in the bank accounts. Calvi (Omero Antonutti) is blamed and thrown in prison. With the help of his wife (Pamela Villoresi), Calvi goes between the corrupt system of political and religious leaders who can get him out of jail. Rutger Hauer appears as Cardianle Marcinkus, the head of the Vatican bank.

 

 

The Film:

The Italian government is reportedly unhappy with "The Bankers of God," a gripping indictment of the country's politicians, financial institutions and religious establishment. Extrapolated from real events in the 1970s and 1980s, the "civil thriller" by Giuseppe Ferrara is timely in light of America's current corporate scandals. According to this speedy but sometimes confusing narrative, the Vatican itself is apparently involved in several nefarious schemes. One illegal operation launders millions of lira through foreign companies to support the Solidarity movement in Poland.

Excerpt from BoxOffice located HERE

Italian filmmaker Giuseppe Ferrara’s name may not be well known to an international audience. It should be, as he is a courageous filmmaker who has consistently exposed the reality behind the official version of events. He has repeatedly been the target of political boycotts and commercial sabotage aimed at concealing the truth that his films and documentaries bring out.

[...]

In I Banchieri Di Dio: Il Caso Calvi (God’s Bankers: The Calvi Case), Ferrara sets himself the ambitious goal of reconstructing the events that led to the assassination (not suicide, as officials originally claimed) of Italian financier Roberto Calvi on June 18, 1982. Behind Calvi’s death lay a reactionary and powerful network involving the Vatican, the Mafia and extreme right-wing forces that dominated the 1970s. These forces had conspired against the rights of the international working class and the Italian and international left, and led Italy to the brink of a military coup. Calvi, chairman and managing director of Banco Ambrosiano in Milan, was a pivotal figure who served as the financial front man.

Excerpt from The Wolrd Socialist Website located HERE

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

Raro bring I Banchieri Di Dio: Il Caso Calvi (God’s Bankers: The Calvi Case) to Blu-ray.  I was anticipating something very poor after watching the title credits - but the actual transfer (via VC-1) wasn't as anywhere near the catastrophic level of some of their recent Antonioni film efforts (I Vinti, Love in the City).  This is single-layered with a modest bitrate and can tend to look marginally over-digitized at times but generally seems acceptable in the 1.66:1 aspect ratio. There is a bit of depth and some decent detail in close-ups but overall is fairly unremarkable - although transferred in 1080P. It can tend to look a shade green. This Blu-ray is also a little blocky in-motion but, without being too critical - it did provide a consistent, if less-stellar, presentation.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The linear PCM 2.0 channel track at 1536 kbps does a modest job of exporting the film's unremarkable sound requirements. There is a some aggression but nothing sounds resoundingly deep or rich. I don't doubt this is similar to the original production. . The music is quite excellent by none-other than Pino Donaggio (Body Double, Dressed to Kill, Don't Look Now, Blow Out, Carrie) and adds some Ital-flavor to the presentation. Bravo! There is an, untested, English DUB (not Rutger Hauer voice) also in linear PCM. There are optional English subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

Supplements include The Blackfriars Connection video piece from Nocturno DVD. It is hosted by Gianni Barbacetto - a journalist with a degree in philosophy. He documents some of the historical background of Roberto Calvi using clips from the film as well as news clips. It is in Italian with English subtitles. There is also a 12-page liner notes booklet with essays.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Interesting film - in keeping with the 'style' of Italian crime-dramas of yesteryear. Gee, Rutger Hauer turns up in the strangest places. The Bankers of God: The Calvi Affair will keep your attention whether knowing any background on the historical incidents or not. The Raro (partnered with Kino) Blu-ray sneakes into acceptable territory. It's certainly no demo but seems like a reasonable way to watch this engaging Italian bio crime-film in your home theatre. 

Gary Tooze

August 1st, 2014

 

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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