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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Pasolini [Blu-ray]

 

(Abel Ferrara, 2014)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Urania Pictures S.r.l.

Video: BFI

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:24:11.083

Disc Size: 32,423,776,533 bytes

Feature Size: 20,232,329,664 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.98 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 26th, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3125 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3125 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), English, none

 

Extras:

Original theatrical trailer (2:12)
Conversation with Abel Ferrara and the Cast of Pasolini (2014, 42:32): Ferrara, Willem Dafoe, Maria de Medeiros and Giada Colagrande in conversation with Paulo Branco
Robin Askwith on Pier Paolo Pasolini (2015, 23:14): the actor recounts his first meeting with Pasolini
Illustrated booklet with director's statement and interview, new writing by John David Rhodes, and full film credits

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Written and directed by cult filmmaker Abel Ferrara (Driller Killer, Bad Lieutenant, Welcome to New York), this dark, daring drama tells the story of the fateful final days of the controversial filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini.

Having recently finished SalÚ, or 120 Days of Sodom Pasolini has enraged audiences, critics and politicians with his homosexually and the scandal that surrounds his films. Focusing on both his private and professional life, the film explores the inner-world of Pasolini in the days before his violent death.

Starring Willem Dafoe (The Last Temptation of Christ) as the great auteur, and featuring Ninetto Davoli, who acted in many of his films, Pasolini is a powerful and evocative look into the dark world of one of cinema's most controversial figures, as seen through the eyes of one of modern cinema's most astonishing and surprising directors.

 

 

The Film:

Abel Ferrara's tableau of Pier Paolo Pasolini resembles a large villa. Each room we enter establishes a different angle on the filmmaker, writer, painter, thinker and prowler. He doesn't simplify anything about his subject and he has a fantastic ally in Willem Dafoe.

The mistake of wrapping up a life neatly in hindsight, which is made so often by biopics, doesn't interest Ferrara. Pasolini's unfinished life remains painfully unresolved, as it should be. In a daring move, scenes from the film Pasolini was working on at the time of his murder are staged.

Epifanio, to be played by his lover and friend Ninetto Davoli (Riccardo Scamarcio) sees a shooting star and follows it, by what looks like a train ride to the town of Sodom where he and his travel companion witness the yearly festival of reproduction, the one day when the inhabitants counter their sexual preferences in order to not become extinct.

Excerpt from Eye For Film located HERE

This handsomely oblique film focuses on the very end of Pasolini’s life, as he completes work on SalÚ, or 120 Days of Sodom and makes plans for Porno-Teo-Kolossal, the unmade magnum opus which is here reimagined by Ferrara in startling, elegiac fashion. Willem Dafoe bears an uncanny resemblance to his subject as he drifts through a lovingly realised world of beige interiors and cruisy exteriors, sumptuously shot by director of photography Stefano Falivene. The heady cocktail of politics, religion, blowjobs and murder is catnip for Ferrara, although anyone not versed in the controversies of SalÚ may leave the film none the wiser. Maria de Medeiros plays actress Laura Betti with gusto, laughing about voicing the devil for Hollywood, while Adriana Asti brings tenderness and anguish to the role of Pasolini’s doting mama, Susanna.

Excerpt from The Guardain located HERE

 

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

Abel Ferrara's bio-reference Pasolini gets a dual-layered transfer to Blu-ray from the BFI in the UK.  It looks like it was shot on digital (corrected - was shot on 35mm). The 1080P supports the film's original dark look (low, or only natural, lighting) without issue. It has a very fluid camera and the visuals are never very striking - as per the style. There is very little depth in the 1.85:1 frame.  It's pristinely clean showcasing and the film is surrounded by dark grays and blacks without much color. This Blu-ray probably looks like exactly the theatrical version of the film. It seems devoid of imperfections of any kind but the film itself is quite bland, visually-speaking.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

BFI give the option of a linear PCM 2.0 channel track at 2304 kbps or a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at 3125 kbps (both 24-bit). There are few to none-at-all effects but some minor instances of separation in the surround. There is no score per-se but some will identify the Rossini's Una voce poco fa (cavatina di Rosina) from the opera Il Barbiere di Siviglia as sung by by Maria Callas There are optional English subtitles (SDH and 'regular') but mandatory with the non-English dialogue and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

 

Extras :

BFI add a 2014, 3/4 of an hour, conversation with Abel Ferrara and the cast of Pasolini including Willem Dafoe, Maria de Medeiros and Giada Colagrande hosted by Paulo Branco. We also get 25-minutes with Robin Askwith on Pier Paolo Pasolini from 2015 recounting his first meeting with the director. There is a theatrical trailer and the package contains an illustrated booklet with director's statement and interview, new writing by John David Rhodes, and full film credits.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
For fans of the director, or even those familiar with his work, Pasolini can be rewarding. But with no reference at all - it's an odd puzzle with scraps of less-related information.  I enjoyed Ferrara's style and I thought it perfectly suited the content and bio-leanings. The BFI Blu-ray provides an excellent a/v presentation with some worthy supplements. I'd only encourage to those keen and with at least some understanding or appreciation for the director. Others might find it less-appealing, however there is plenty that I enjoyed about the film. To each his own. 

Gary Tooze

October 10th, 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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