|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
Burning Bush aka 'Horící ker' [Blu-ray]
(Agnieszka Holland, 2013)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: HBO Europe
Video: Zebra (DMMS Media Distribution)
Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Episode #1 Runtime: 1:23:46.040
Disc Size: 43,337,794,553 bytes
Episode #1 Size: 13,578,768,384 bytes
Video Bitrate: 19.09 Mbps
Chapters: 17 X 3
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: February, 2015
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080i / 25 fps
Video codec: VC-1 Video
Dolby Digital Audio Czech 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Czech 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Hungarian 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256
kbps / DN -4dB
Czech, Bulgarian, Serbian, English, Croatian, Macedonian, Dutch, Polish, Romanian, Slovenian, Hungarian, none
• Republic of Two: Directions Music Video (3:15)
• Making of Burning Bush (28:00)
The cover is in Czech but the extras have optional English subtitles
Sample episode Bitrate:
Description: Burning Bush (Czech: Hořící keř) is a 2013 three-part mini-series created for HBO by Polish director Agnieszka Holland. Based on real characters and events, this haunting drama focuses on the personal sacrifice of a Prague history student, Jan Palach, who set himself on fire in protest against the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1969. Dagmar Burešová, a young female lawyer, became part of his legacy by defending Jan's family in a trial against the communist government, a regime which tried to dishonour Palach's sacrifice, a heroic action for the freedom of Czechoslovakia. Jan and Dagmar's story is one of basic human values, truth, honour, justice and courage.
In the end, all that can be relied upon are objects and gestures. The littlest things that tie us to each other. The film often slows to a standstill to show children playing, cars passing, people talking and streets emptied of traffic. Life, in short, going on, despite the war raging nearby. Upon learning of his brother's death, Palach's brother Jiri is given a lift in an ambulance to his mother's house to tell her the news in person. The driver shares a cigarette with him on the way. A few weeks after his death, Palach's mother has her son's belongings returned to her by the police. In the film's most bewitching scene, Palach's comrades in the student movement pay a morgue attendant off so they can get to their friend's body. Once there, a sculptor takes a plaster cast of his face which is then placed in public view at their school. In the opening of Part 1, a crowbar digs into a muddy street, diverting the course of an oncoming train. A few feet away, a man strikes a match diverting the course of a nation. It doesn't get any less epic than that.
Unlike Russian filmmaker Andrey Zvyagintsev’s superior Leviathan—which premiered at last month’s Cannes Film Festival and tells a similar (fictional) story of ordinary citizens being systematically beaten down by the state when they attempt legal action—Burning Bush doesn’t dig a bottomless pit of despair, if only because we all know that Communism would collapse 20 years later. (Protests held on the 20th anniversary of Palach’s death were a big factor in Czechoslovakia.) Instead, it painstakingly shows how the Man covers his ass via intimidation, bribery, falsification, and blackmail, and it celebrates the heroic efforts of those who fight on anyway. Holland, a political filmmaker who did her best work (Europa Europa; Olivier, Olivier) in the ’80s and ’90s, sometimes directs with a heavy hand—a scene in which Palach’s mother receives horrific photos of her son’s charred corpse gets awfully amped up with the sound of a screaming infant in the background, for example. On the whole, though, Burning Bush is an absorbing docudrama that maintains a gratifying equilibrium between hope and cynicism. You can fight City Hall. It just takes a while.Excerpt from A.V. Club located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The impressive 'HBO Europe' mini-series Burning Bush gets an internationally-friendly release on Blu-ray. It is in, the original broadcast standard, of 1080i at 25fps. It's imperfect but I see no trailing and the dark grey and 60's pastels support the period with excellent art direction, costumes and even music. It can look a shade waxy at times but I would guess the 1.78:1 aspect ratio is a strong replication of the recent TV appearance. This Blu-ray includes some of the series' original black and white sequences meant to replicate newsreel footage and it is has a higher contrast levels and is meant to appear grainy. It gave me a thoroughly enjoyable HD presentation.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Unfortunately no lossless, but we get the option of a Dolby Digital 2.0 or a similar 5.1 - both in original Czech. It sounds clean, but unremarkable - there may be a few discernable separations in the surround. The score is by Antoni Lazarkiewicz with a fair amount of more period Czech-centric music including Matej Nechvátal, Karel Gott, Petr Sedlácek, Emma Smetana and others. It certainly adds to supporting the fabric of the time period. There are also two foreign-language DUBs (Hungarian and Polish) with many subtitle options including English.My Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
There are two supplements; a short music video entitled Republic of Two: Directions (viewable HERE on YouTube. It's Petr Novák and Jirí Smetana's Why Do You Leave Me) and a 1/2 hour Making of Burning Bush (with English subtitles) showing behind the scenes footage and director and cast interviews.
July 2nd, 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 3500 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
ALL OUR NEW FORMAT DVD REVIEWS