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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Stray Dogs aka "Jiao you" [Blu-ray]


(Ming-liang Tsai, 2013)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: The Cinema Guild

Video: Cinema Guild



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:15:46.541

Disc Size: 48,164,606,916 bytes

Feature Size: 29,826,643,968 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.51 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: February 10th, 2015



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 24 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio Mandarin 2249 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2249 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)



English, None



• JOURNEY TO THE WEST, a film by Tsai Ming-liang (2014, 53:31)

Tsai Ming-liang Master Class at the Cinemathque Francaise - Mandarin or Malaysian-> French -> English subtitles (1:09:14)

Theatrical Trailer (2:00)
4-page booklet featuring essay by Jonathan Rosenbaum





Description: WINNER OF THE GRAND JURY PRIZE AT THE VENICE FILM FESTIVAL, the new film from master filmmaker Tsai Ming-liang (Rebels of a Neon God, What Time Is It Over There?) is a haunting vision of a father and his two young children struggling to survive on the streets of Taipei. When a mysterious woman shows up to care for the kids, the father starts to come apart. Exquisitely photographed in dark neon-lit tones, STRAY DOGS is a bold, nightmarish depiction of a society on the brink.



The Film:

A poverty-stricken father and his two young children try to survive in modern-day Taipei in yet another remarkable piece of cinema from the great Tsai Ming-liang. Tsai's oblique approach to space and time renders Stray Dogs an often mysterious work whose tactile and sodden images investigate the emotional boundaries of privation and deep loneliness.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Experimental and narrative cinema can often make for very strange bedfellows – snuggling up together about as cosily as, say, a man and a cabbage – with results that often prove messy, even catastrophic. But under certain special circumstances the shared dreamings yield a transcendent, alternative reality into which we all may segue. A supreme example is Tsai Ming-liang’s Stray Dogs (Jiao you), a 21st century digital masterpiece capable of comparison with anything the medium has produced in its first, analogue hundred years. This audaciously enigmatic vision of urban poverty, an instant classic of sympathy-extending humanism, astounds on several levels. Tsai not only pulls off that nightmarishly tough experimental/narrative combination with aplomb, he’s also able to move from grittily unflinching realism to a much more poetically ambiguous register with the sauntering assurance of a free-ranging urban canine navigating lanes of hazardously speeding traffic.

Excerpt from Neil Young's Film Lounge located HERE

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

Stray Dogs comes to Blu-ray from Cinema Guild. This appears to have been shot on digital and the image quality is strikingly brilliant. Colors are vibrant, detail pristinely tight and the cinematography frequently breathtaking. This is dual-layered with a supportive bitrate for the 2 1/4 hour film. Contrast is a hallmark of the 1080P presentation sporting inky black levels. This looked 'demo' on my system, folks. This Blu-ray image is as strong as I have seen in quite a long time and the HD presentation continually impressive. Not a pixel out of place.

















Audio :

Cinema Guild use a DTS-HD Master in 5.1 surround at 2249 kbps. The film has no music, and sparse dialogue but there are effect sounds with some range - rain, traffic etc. and these come through with subtlety to the rear speakers. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.


Extras :

In the supplements we get Tsai Ming-liang's 2014, 53-minute, Journey to the West (The Berlin film festival title) also know as Xi you. It is another in the director's Walker series. The monk acquires an unexpected acolyte in the form of Denis Lavant as he makes his way through the streets of a sun-dappled Marseille. It is transferred in 1080i and looks very strong. Also included is an hour-10-minute long Tsai Ming-liang Master Class at the Cinemathque Francaise in Mandarin->French->English subtitles. Fans of the director will appreciate this. There is a theatrical trailer and a 4-page liner notes booklet featuring essay by Jonathan Rosenbaum.



What an amazing work of cinema.  I'm a huge Tsai Ming-liang fan (The Hole, Viva L'Amour, The River) - and Stray Dogs will ranks as another of my favorite film from this unique and stylish director. What a warm, mysterious, beautiful film - an examination of family, survival and desperation. Introspective and essentially... devastating. The Cinema Guild Blu-ray offers s a brilliant presentation. I was absolutely blown away. VERY strongly recommended! 

Gary Tooze

February 25th, 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.

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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