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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Concrete Night aka "Betoniyö"  [Blu-ray]


(Pirjo Honkasalo, 2013)




Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Oy Bufo Ab

Video: Altered Innocence



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

Runtime: 1:36:26.958

Disc Size: 24,868,329,708 bytes

Feature Size: 24,471,646,848 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.67 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: January 17th, 2017



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio Finnish 3436 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3436 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)



English, None



• A Booklet Featuring an Essay by Film Critic Kyle Turner
Photo Gallery (12)
Trailer (1:36)





Description: Official Finnish Entry for Best Foreign Language Film - 87th Academy Awards
Winner of the American Society of Cinematographers Spotlight Award.

A stunning, dream-like odyssey through a beautiful and otherworldly Helsinki over the course of one evening, CONCRETE NIGHT follows the impressionable 14-year-old Simo as he keeps his soon-to-be incarcerated brother company. The official Finnish submission to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film captures the pain and joy of youth through exquisite, eye-popping black-and-white cinematography.



The Film:

Adapted from Pirkko Saisio's 1980 cult novel, which we see sitting on a shelf at one point, this film is billed as having been updated to the present, but really it could be set at any time in the past century. The city looms large, with dramatic shifts as we travel between the impoverished housing estate and the bright city centre that appears in tourist brochures. Even the ugly parts are stunningly shot in lucid black and white (though Simo dreams in colour). Everything of import happens at night; in the daytime, civilisation reasserts itself and all the night's intensity comes to seem small and helpless, exposed. It is this daylight world that is harder for the boy to come to terms with, this world of consequence and self-reflection. Others make the shift easily, like chameleons; Simo watches wide-eyed, innocent and guilty.

Excerpt from EyeForFilm located HERE

Everything is a little off kilter in Concrete Night. ‘It feels weird, like a dream or something’, says 14-year-old Simo (Johannes Brotherus, Learned by Heart) to his older brother Ilkka (Jari Virman, Fanatics) after the lucid, lurid vision that provides the feature’s opening sequence. The unusual lurks in their claustrophobic apartment and the all-seeing vantage it gives them over a Helsinki neighbourhood that looks both familiar in its slum-like urbanity and alien in its industrial starkness. The ethereal emanates from imagery both precise and poetic in a black, white and grey palette that matches the specificity and surrealism of the film’s atmosphere of unease.

Excerpt from ArtsHub located HERE


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

Concrete Night gets a 1080P transfer from newcomer 'Altered Innocence'. It was shot with a Arri Alexa Studio camera and looks very appealing in the, almost exclusively, black and white cinematography by Peter Flinckenberg - who has done a lot of documentary and short work. The use of light is inventive and impressive. Contrast delineates the film's close-ups and dark, almost smokey visuals quite fetchingly. It's a single-layered transfer with a strong bitrate and the image quality is pretty flawless probably looking as good as it did theatrically.


















Audio :

Audio is transferred via a very robust DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround (24-bit) in the original Finnish language. The film is fairly passive - much of it dialogue-driven or with long, empty pauses. There are touches of aggression but the separations are few. The score is by Karl and Pär Frid - two brothers with very different musical training. Pär is one of the most highly lauded composers of his generation in Europe, with a style combining classical with new technology. Karl studied classical before heading off to Cuba to study Afro-Cuban music. This makes the score unique and beautifully supportive of the art-leaning film. There are optional English subtitle options and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.



Extras :

The disc itself is pretty bare-bones - the majority of the single-layered space dedicated to the film with only a 12 image photo gallery and a trailer included, but the package has a 4-page leaflet featuring an essay by film critic Kyle Turner entitled "Darkness Falls" and a director's statement.



Concrete Night is a fabulous visual film experience. The film is like a pastiche of stills representing waning innocence. It can be both poetic and melancholy. The human condition - the struggle and desire for survival and a search for the meaning of existence. The Altered Innocence Blu-ray has done an excellent job in exporting the film experience. It's an incte3dibly worthy film to watch - immerse yourself in and reflect on for a long while after viewing. Strongly recommenced! 

Gary Tooze

January 3rd, 2017



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.

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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