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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Skin aka "La pelle" [Blu-ray]


(Liliana Cavani, 1981)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Opera Film Produzione

Video: Cohen Media Group



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

Runtime: 2:13:45.809

Disc Size: 44,457,576,943 bytes

Feature Size: 33,861,939,264 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.06 Mbps

Chapters: 14

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: January 13th, 2015



Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



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

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



English (SDH), none



• Commentary by Wade Major and Andy Klein

At the Frontier of the Apocalypse (24:22)
Malaparte, Great Reporter (7:08)
The Individual and History (7:44)
Dante Ferretti Revisits Naples (5:50)
Original French trailer (3:02)
2014 re-release trailer (1:46)

8-page liner notes leaflet





Description: Based on the short stories of Curzio Malaparte, The Skin is Liliana Cavani's controversial look at the aftermath of the German occupation of Italy during WWII and the equally difficult results of life during the Allied liberation. Marcello Mastroianni stars as writer Malaparte, who chronicled the desperate measures taken by his countrymen in order to survive. Burt Lancaster co-stars as the liberating American General unable to understand the devastation around him.



The Film:

The Skin is still a very unsettling film, nonetheless because the director is a crafted artist. For instance, she doesn't need to resort to speech to express the idea that the Allied are the new masters: a couple shots of the ballet of the general staff occupying a former fascist conference room is enough. Mastroianni's interpretation is a wonder of understatement, of dignity under an overwhelming shame. And above all, Cavani doesn't need to give answers - everything is in the questions.

Excerpt from auteurs at war located HERE

The Skin” From the first glance, Cavani’s film (which on the level of the plot is about American liberation of Italy in 1944) is about human history – how historical process smashes human beings as a tank rolls over the human body crushing it (one among many images of the film it is impossible to forget). But step by step it becomes evident that the film is about two fascisms – one is ideological, obvious, with Mussolini or Franco’s voice, which comes to us, inhabitants of democracy, from outside us, and the other is internal, psychological, which is inside us and ready to act out. The film is also about the innocence – people’s inability to notice and to confront the fascism inside all of us.

Excerpt from Acting-Out Politics located HERE

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

The Skin (La pelle) on Blu-ray from Cohen Media looks solid. It was released on Blu-ray in France by Gaumont, HERE, but although region FREE - I don't believe that edition is English-friendly.  This one is dual-layered with a bitrate for the 2 1/4 hour film. It is pristinely clean and the 1080P provides a competent presentation with rich colors and some layered contrast. I saw no distracting noise or artifacts. This Blu-ray video does its job well - enough so that I would state it is probably similar to the film's original 1.33:1 presentation.


















Audio :

Cohen use a linear PCM 2.0 channel at 2304 kbps in original Italian and French. The score is by Argentinean Lalo Schifrin (famous as the guy behind the Mission: Impossible theme as well as Day of the Animals, Hit!, Man on a Swing, Tango and many other films.) It all sounds tight and even with hints at dramatic depth. There are optional English subtitles (sample above) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'.


Extras :

Cohen add some wonderful supplements - first and foremost a very educational and entertaining commentary by Wade Major and Andy Klein. Included are 4 featurettes - three with director Liliana Cavani and one with production designer Dante Ferretti running over 3/4's of an hour. There is also a original French release trailer and a 2014 rerelease trailer. There is an 8-page liner notes leaflet with some photos and the chapter stops listed, but no essay.



Another fascinating Cavani film. The Skin is honest, political, disturbing and allegorical. The Cohen Blu-ray
provides a consistent and pleasing presentation strongly augmenting the film experience. It may not be a film I revisit, but I am very glad to have seen it. Certainly this is the best way and with the added value of the commentary - we can certainly endorse.

Gary Tooze

January 6th, 2015



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