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directed by Nikki Braendlin
USA 2012


AS HIGH AS THE SKY might have turned out to be a "chick flick" with more than its share of quirky-indie-isms if not for the performances of its three thoroughly charming leads and writer/director Nikki Braendlin's sincere take on familiar elements of the aforementioned genre (a second viewing also sheds light on a subtle tension underlying some of the early scenes of almost saccharine whimsy). Having lost her parents as a child and been raised by two domineering aunts (voiced by MYSTIC RIVER's Jenny O'Hara and THE HOWLING's Dee Wallace), OCD party planner Margaret (Caroline Fogarty, SHOTGUN WEDDING is "a lot particular". She is just recovering the orderliness of her life after her boyfriend of three years walks out on her when her estranged older hippie sister Josephine (Bonnie McNeil, SYMPATHY FOR DELICIOUS) and ten year old niece Hannah (Laurel Porter) turn up unexpectedly. Young Hannah seems no more happy about the living arrangements than Margaret, but Josephine attempts to include Margaret in their close relationship with its whimsical made-up games and the maternal/sibling relationship Margaret never had. Margaret starts to warm to Hannah - who is able to provide her with information and stories about her dead parents as told by Josephine - and assuages her sister's guilt about not being in her life. When she inadvertently discovers the real reason for Josephine's visit, her newfound sense of family could be ripped away from her just as quickly as it was thrust upon her.

Eric Cotenas

Theatrical Release: October 2012 (USA)

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DVD Review: Cinema Libre - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Cinema Libre

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:31:12

2.30:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 3.47 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

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


Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Cinema Libre

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.30:1

Edition Details:
• Featurettes:
• - 'The Writer's Room: Story & Character Development' (16:9; 9:44)
• - 'From Page to Screen: Filming and Visual Design' (16:9; 7:12)
• - 'Playing with Sound: Composing the Music' (16:9; 7:15)
• Trailers for 'London River', 'Touch', and 'Mark of Love'

DVD Release Date: May 6th, 2014

Chapters 10



Cinema Libre's single-layer, progressive, anamorphic transfer was always going to be softish (intentionally so) since it was shot on a Canon 5D Mark II DSLR, but the low bitrate does the image no favors. The performances are such that the presentation doesn't ruin the film. The Dolby Digital 2.0 encoding of the original stereo track is simple and gets the job done.


Instead of a commentary, we get three concise and focused featurettes focusing on different aspects of the film. In "The Writer's Room", director Braendlin discusses her inspirations for the film, her choices in the characterization of the protagonist and the way her OCD expresses itself in reaction to emotions she does not understand. In "From Page to Screen", Braendlin shares the screen with cinematographer Tarin Anderson (V/H/S/2) as they discuss the camera movements, framing, and lighting associated with each character (shallow focus and flat compositions and lighting for Margaret, more depth and contrastier lighting for Josephine and Hannah). Finally, in "Playing with Sound", Braendlin and composer Kristen Baum discuss the musical motifs and instruments associated with each character as well as the relationships/oppositions between combinations of the main characters. The back cover of the disc says there is a trailer for the film, but the trailers on the disc are actually for three other Cinema Libre films (including the moving LONDON RIVER).

  - Eric Cotenas


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Cinema Libre

Region 0 - NTSC



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