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Sekal Has to Die aka "Je treba zabít Sekala" [Blu-ray]
(Vladimír Michálek , 1998)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Apple Film Productions
Video: Magic Box
Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 24,439,202,684 bytes
Feature Size: 24,146,233,344 bytes
Video Bitrate: 24.42 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: February, 2015
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 24 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio Czech 2211 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2211 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
English, Czech, none
Description: During the hot summer of 1943 in the devoutly Catholic Moravian village of Lakotice (Czech for "stingy"), it falls to the new stranger, Protestant blacksmith Baran (the word for "ram"), to rid the town of Nazi collaborator and unrepentent bastard Sekal (which means "he was cutting"). Following his lauded 1996 drama Forgotten Light, director Vladimir Michalek continues his symbolic yet restrained probing of religion, complicity and betrayal in a rural setting, with the unexpected but triumphant addition of formal genre elements (gorgeous vistas, calibrated performances) straight out of Shane or early Clint Eastwood. "Evil has no weak spots," says the town's conflicted priest before the ritualized and inevitable finale, and neither does this provocative, masterful exploration of faith under stress -- the Czech Republic's official Oscar submission -- from one of the country's most accomplished contemporary filmmakers.
With a thoughtful script, elegiac lensing, a masterful music score and a triumvirate of exquisite performances, this Central European “High Noon” gave Czech helmer Vladimir Michalek to turn out a first-class wartime morality drama.
Sekal Must Die is a 1998 film coproduction based on Vladimir
Michalek's story and screenplay. It won 10 Czech Lion film award and the
Czech cinematography was represented in the race for an Oscar.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Sekal Has To Die appears quite impressive on region FREE Blu-ray from Europe. I believe this film has never been released anywhere else outside the Czech Republic/Slovakia. The image quality shows excellent contrast. Kudos to the film's impressive cinematography. It is housed on a single-layered disc and supportive bitrate for the 2-hour film. It is 1080P with no excessive glossy nor is pristinely sharp but shows frequent depth and I would guess the 1.85:1 aspect ratio provides a strong replication of the original theatrical appearance. This Blu-ray appears to do its job well with noise, artifacts, digital manipulation of unforgivable flaws of any kind. Thumbs up.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The audio is transferred via a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at 2211 kbps - 16 in the Czech language. While this was co-produced with Poland, Slovakia (and France) they did not include Polish soundtrack option – 2 of the leads are Polish actors and they spoke Polish on set/in the movie – so Czech version is overdubbed (lead actors only). I have been told that the Polish soundtrack option was only available on the first, now very out-of-print Czech DVD release. There are only a handful of more demonstrative effects in the film - all dealing with violence. Some of the horses and other sounds do reach the rear speakers, but I wouldn't say the audio track is stellar although it does impart some reasonable bass. Part of the film's beauty is in the score by Michal Lorenc which adds significantly to the atmosphere. There are both optional English or Czech subtitles available on the region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide. I would say the English translations are serviceable with out undue errors although there may be a grammar faux-pas here and there.
The only extra is a superfluous photo gallery. No liner notes.
June 1st, 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
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