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Adua and Her Friends aka "Hungry for Love" aka "Adua e le compagne" [Blu-ray]
(Antonio Pietrangeli, 1960)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Zebra Film
Video: Kino Lorber / Raro U.S.A.
Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 24,378,021,375 bytes
Feature Size: 22,875,684,864 bytes
Video Bitrate: 21.50 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: January 20th, 2015
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: VC-1
LPCM Audio Italian 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
• Introduction by Italian film historian Maurizio Poro (6:57)
Description: A rare masterpiece and a wonderful example of Italian Cinema starring two European film icons, Simone Signoret and Marcello Mastroianni, Adua and her Friends tells the story of four prostitutes forced to fend for themselves when a new law closes the bordellos of Rome. They pool their savings to open a trattoria, but find they cannot get a license. A prominent fixer with connections obtains the license for them, on the condition that they conduct their old business upstairs and pay him an exorbitant monthly fee. The works of Pietrangeli, one of the most talented members of the Italian neo-realism movement and capable of delivering gems such as Adua and her Friends and The Visitor definitely deserves to be revisited and to be exposed to a larger international audience.
The central germ of an idea that writer-director Antonio Pietrangeli plays around with in Adua and Her Friends is sympathetic to a point. An all-star cast of women, led by Simone Signoret and Hiroshima Mon Amour's Emmanuelle Riva, play prostitutes that try their hand at managing their own restaurant. The impetus behind the film was timely since Italy's Merlin Law had recently passed in 1958, effectively banning brothels and any other form of public solicitation throughout the nation. After a point, however, it becomes clear that Pietrangeli's drama, like Adua and Her Friends's protagonists, is just marking time. It's an overlong, wan post-neorealist condemnation of the way Italy's male-dominated society has deprived women of the right to their independence.
Miss Signoret is the house mother. She's the oldest and shrewdest of the
lot, but not so shrewd that she doesn't go all girlish over a charming,
irresponsible used-car salesman played by the redoubtable Marcello
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Much to the delight of 60's Italian Cinema fans, Antonio Pietrangeli's Adua and Her Friends (Adua e le compagne) has made it to Blu-ray from Raro who have have had some questionable transfers of recent years so I scrutinized this appearance more than usual. While I don't discount the potential of some digitization - I couldn't honestly say any potential flaws were intrusive on my viewing. There are hints at waxiness and the softer sequences seem less consistent - making me think if anything was used - it wasn't blanketed. I wouldn't say the grain textures were overwhelming and there is some flatness. Contrast seems to reflect the age of the production. This Blu-ray is single-layered with a modest bitrate but I found the video very watchable.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The linear PCM 2.0 channel track, in original Italian, at 1536 kbps does a competent job of exporting the film's modest sound requirements. Italian composer and jazz musician Piero Piccioni (Hands Over the City, The 10th Victim, The Moment of Truth) did the score which benefits from the uncompressed rendering. It adds a nice flavor to the atmosphere. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.
Included is a 7-minute introduction by Italian film historian Maurizio Poro (Italian with English subtitles) and a 10-minute episode from the 1954 film, Mid-Century Loves (1954) ("Amori di mezzo secolo"). The quasi-romantic segment is entitled "Girandola 1910" and is directed by Antonio Pietrangeli. There is also a digital listing of the director's biography and filmography and the package contains a fully illustrated booklet including critical analysis of the film.
January 5th, 2015
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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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