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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Norte, The End of History aka "Norte, hangganan ng kasaysayan" [Blu-ray]

 

(Lav Diaz, 2013)

 

Coming out on DVD (only) in North American by Cinema Guild at the end of October.

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Kayan Productions

Video: New Wave Films

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 4:10:11.871

Disc Size: 47,177,443,628 bytes

Feature Size: 46,464,786,432 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps

Chapters: 42

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: September 29th, 2014

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio Tagalog 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio Tagalog 1660 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1660 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English, none

 

Extras:

Trailer (1:05)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: In this reimagining of Crime and Punishment, set in the northern Philippine province of Luzon, Fabian, a law-school drop-out, frustrated with his country's never-ending cycle of betrayal and apathy, commits a horrific double murder; a gentle family man, Joaquin, takes the blame and receives a life sentence, leaving behind his wife Eliza and two children, whilst Fabian roams free, and is taken over by evil. Joaquin is a simple man who finds life in prison more tolerable when something mysterious and strange starts happening to him.

***

Art-house favorite Lav Diaz's latest epic profoundly explores everything from the state of present-day rural Philippines by way of Dostoevsky (Diaz's favorite writer) to the 1890s Philippine Revolution against the Spanish. Actor Sid Lucero will leave you stunned by his haunting performance as an existential law school dropout .

 

 

The Film:

Yes, 250 minutes. A smidgen over four hours. That is not a misprint, or a joke, even if it certainly counts as a challenge.

By the standards of Lav Diaz, the Filipino director and hero of the “slow cinema” movement, it’s a snip. His 2008 Venice prize-winner Melancholia clocked in at seven and a half hours, while Evolution of a Filipino Family (2004) pushed the boat out at nine. This is his first film to receive a bona fide release in the UK, and it’s spellbinding.

Norte, the End of History is a great deal more than just long. It’s bristling with plot and ideas. The story sprawls, but it also rivets. In the economically depressed town of Paoay, north of Manila, a young married couple, Joaquin (Archie Alemania) and Eliza (Angeli Bayani), are scrabbling to provide basic provisions for their children. 

Excerpt from The Telegraph located HERE

Norte, The End Of History, Lav Diaz’s four-hour-plus tweak of Crime And Punishment, scrubs the book’s reverse-detective-story elements, leaving its version of Raskolnikov—the intellectual-turned-murderer protagonist of Dostoevsky’s novel—to roam free. He experiences guilt, but not consequences; those have been passed on to two people he doesn’t know: the man wrongfully convicted of the crime, and the man’s wife, who must make a life for herself while her husband sits in prison.

Contemporary festival-circuit culture fetishizes long takes, but Diaz actually earns them. Over the past decade, the prolific Filipino director has emerged as one of the world’s quintessential independents, working in his own unique version of the medium. This makes much of Diaz’s work exhilarating, but also difficult to see; most of his major features clock in at six hours or more. Kudos, then, are owed to Cinema Guild—the adventurous distributor of Leviathan and Museum Hours, among others—for making Norte the first Diaz film to receive anything like a proper Stateside release.

Excerpt from AV Club located HERE

 

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

Norte, The End of History gets an impressive transfer to Blu-ray from New Wave Films in the UK.  It's solidly in dual-layered territory for the 4 hour feature. Colors are brighter and truer than SD could relate and there is no noise in the darker sequences. The 1080P supports solid contrast exhibiting healthy, rich black levels and some minor depth in the 2.35:1 frame.  Lauro Manda's cinematography is so impressive with many unique touches. This Blu-ray provides a super presentation of a film with many dynamic visuals.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The audio is transferred in 2 options; a linear PCM stereo at 1536 kbps or a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround 1660 kbps. The surround does get some work - often subtle. Perhaps better known as an actor, Perry Dizon, composed the score for Norte, The End of History. The sound is clean and crisp - full marks with no flaws. Nothing but positives here for the audio transfer as well. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

 

Extras :

Only a trailer. This is partially understandable as the film is so long it takes up a massive amount of space on the dual-layered Blu-ray disc and something like a commentary wouldn't be feasible. A booklet might have been a nice touch but I was thankful to simply see the film in 1080P.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Once again this IS my type of cinema but I can easily see its not everyone's cup-of-tea. There are themes involving crime, a class system, justice and Diaz storytelling abilities are brilliant but the pacing and length of Norte, The End of History may be a sore-point for those with main-stream expectations.  The New Wave Films Blu-ray provides an wonderful presentation and, for the right audience, this masterpiece film is certainly a must-own. Our highest recommendation! 

Gary Tooze

September 13th, 2014

Coming out on DVD (only) in North American by Cinema Guild at the end of October.


 

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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