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My Beautiful Laundrette [Blu-ray]
(Stephen Frears, 1985)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: A Working Title Limited/SAF Productions Production
Video: Criterion Collection Spine #767
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 47,165,499,375 bytes
Feature Size: 28,668,659,712 bytes
Video Bitrate: 34.90 Mbps
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: July 21st, 2015
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
English (SDH), none
• New conversation between director Stephen Frears and
producer Colin MacCabe (33:05)
Description: Stephen Frears was at the forefront of the British cinematic revival of the mid-1980s, and the delightfully transgressive My Beautiful Laundrette is his greatest triumph of the period. Working from a richly layered script by Hanif Kureishi, who was soon to be an internationally renowned writer, Frears tells an uncommon love story that takes place between a young South London Pakistani man (Gordon Warnecke), who decides to open an upscale laundromat to make his family proud, and his childhood friend, a skinhead (Daniel Day-Lewis, in a breakthrough role) who volunteers to help make his dream a reality. This culture-clash comedy is also a subversive work of social realism that dares to address racism, homophobia, and sociopolitical marginalization in Margaret Thatcher’s England.
After the death of his wife and his subsequent descent into alcoholic near-agoraphobia, a crotchety Pakistani intellectual convinces his shady entrepreneur brother to provide work for his son in this multi-layered portrait of the immigrant experience in Great Britain. Young Londoner Omar (Gordon Warnecke) isn't sure what he wants out of life, but his uncle Nasser (Saeed Jaffrey) provides a corrupt, capitalist role model as Omar graduates from washing cars for the old crook to running his run-down laundromat. After a chance meeting with Johnny (Daniel Day-Lewis), an old school chum whose flirtation with fascism deeply wounded Omar's principled Papa (Roshan Seth), Omar hires the young thug to work for him. Soon, the pair begin a romantic relationship that remains as under wraps as the illicit drug-running and enforcement work they perform for Nasser's associate, Salim (Derrick Branche). On the domestic front, Omar must balance his knowledge of Nasser's long-running affair with posh Brit Rachel (Shirley Ann Field) with his own loyalty and attraction to Nasser's westernized daughter, Tania (Rita Wolf). After successfully transforming his laundrette into a vision of resplendent pastel suds and providing a bright spot in his otherwise squalid London neighborhood, Omar seems to have a bright future in Nasser's organization. The spectre of Johnny's past, however, combines with Omar's conflicted immigrant loyalties to threaten the sense of identity the young man has managed to stake out for himself. British-born, half-Pakistani playwright and novelist Hanif Kureishi won an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for My Beautiful Laundrette, which was originally filmed for BBC television. Kureishi collaborated again with director Stephen Frears on Sammy and Rosie Get Laid.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
Not content with setting itself in London's Asian community, this also tells a gay love story. Daniel Day Lewis gives a luminous performance as the white ex-National Front hoodlum who befriends an Asian (Warnecke) and helps him create his commercial dream, a laundrette which glitters like a Hollywood picture palace. The fact that Lewis finds himself demoted in the ensuing suds war is typical of Hanif Kureishi's script, which refuses to push Asians into their customary dramatic role as victims. Instead, they're seen as rapacious businessmen, pedalling furiously on their Tebbitite cycles, and therefore puzzled, as well as angered, by the vicious prejudice they suffer at the hands of the establishment. Saeed Jaffrey is marvellous as the smoothest of the smooth operators, and Frears directs in his customarily unfussy style. But the strength of the film is its vision - cutting, compassionate and sometimes hilarious - of what it means to be Asian, and British, in Thatcher's Britain.Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
My Beautiful Laundrette, shot on 16mm, looks extremely grainy on Blu-ray from Criterion. The image reflects a very authentic look for the film which is bathed in rich textures that almost breathe in 1080P. This is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate and the overwhelming thickness is immensely appealing - appearing as if the film was projected on a moving shag-rug carpet. Colors are deep and the film's many dark scenes export no digital noise. It is in the original 1.66:1 aspect ratio and I enjoyed many 'through mirror' shots that are scattered throughout the film. There is no depth nor glossy, tight visuals. This is how the film looks. This Blu-ray video supplies a rewarding and authentic film experience.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Linear PCM mono track - flat with a less-memorable score by one-timer Ludus Tonalis. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A' disc.
Criterion augment their release with some very worthwhile supplements. We get a brand new 1/2 hour conversation between director Stephen Frears and producer Colin MacCabe recorded by Criterion in London in the Spring of 2015. There are also new interviews with writer Hanif Kureishi (16:27), producers Tim Bevan and Sarah Radclyffe (22:20), and Oliver Stapleton (20:59). Hanif won an Oscar nomination for My Beautiful Laundrette, his first screenplay - he discusses the film's inspirations and impact of its success. Originally conceived as a Television movie, My Beautiful Laundrette was the first feature produced by Tim Bevan and Sarah Radclyffe, the founders of Working Title. In this short piece, produced by Criterion, the two discuss the film that forever changed their careers. My Beautiful Laundrette was the first feature collaboration between cinematographer Oliver Stapleton and director Stephen Frears, who would go on to work together on seven more films (including The Grifters). In this interview, conducted by Criterion in Devon, England in April 2015, Stapleton talks about working with Frears on this unique project. There is also a trailer and the package contains a liner notes booklet with an essay by critic Graham Fuller.
July 8th, 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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