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Daughter Of The Nile aka 'Ni luo he nu er' [Blu-ray]
Review by Gary Tooze
Video: Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Spine #165
Region: 'B'-locked (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 32,210,528,274 bytes
Feature Size: 27,195,453,120 bytes
Video Bitrate: 35.02 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: May 29th, 2017
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio Mandarin 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
•A new interview with Asian cinema expert Tony Rayns (42:00)
• Theatrical Trailer (1:05)
• PLUS: A booklet featuring new and archival writing
• DVD included
Description:Taiwanese auteur Hou Hsiao-hsien (The Assassin, Three Times, Flight of the Red Balloon) followed up his highly acclaimed Coming of Age trilogy of films with Daughter of the Nile, a rich and poignant drama about a young woman struggling to support her family amidst the violent and neon-soaked milieu of 1980's Taipei.
Lin (Lin Hsiao-yang) works as a waitress in a fried chicken restaurant, attends night school and pines after her brother s friend, local gigolo Ah-sang (Fan Yang). Increasingly constrained by the casual brutality of the world around her, Lin finds escape imagining herself as the titular Daughter of the Nile, a character from her favourite manga series.
Based on the personal experiences of screenwriter, Chu Tien-wen (Millennium Mambo; Goodbye South, Goodbye; City of Sadness) Daughter of the Nile is a profoundly moving observation of marginalised youth. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present the film from a new 4K restoration, available for the first time on Blu-ray and DVD in a new Dual-Format edition.
At first sight, you wouldn't clock this as a film from the director of A Summer at Grandpa's and The Time to Live and the Time to Die. But despite the shift from his usual rural settings to the extremely mean streets of present-day Taipei, this is another of Hou's haunting accounts of the joys and terrors of adolescence. The central character is a young woman struggling to keep her father and elder brother (cop and thief respectively) from each other's throats, while nursing a distant crush on one of her brother's friends, a too-pretty gigolo who gets into trouble when he starts dating a gangster's moll. The tangled relationships resolve themselves into a mesh of disappointments and frustrations, but despite the downbeat mood there are charming eruptions of humour, and the sheer eloquence of Hou's mellow visual style makes the film a lot more life-enhancing than most.
Boiled down to its essence, Daughter of the Nile is the poignant story of unrequited love set amidst a world of young people, some of whom are petty gangsters, much like the group in Martin Scorsese’s visceral Mean Streets (1973). Lin Hsiao-yang (Taiwanese pop star Lin Yang) is, as the movie begins, a sensitive 19-year-old student working part time in a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet in Taipei and pining for petty thug Ah-sang (Fan Yang), the best friend of her older brother Lin Hsaio-fang (Jack Kao), who is also involved in shady dealings. Daughter of the Nile (a reference to an ancient Egyptian-themed manga she is fond of reading) tells her story, which she narrates after the fact of the life-altering events in the movie – the film itself often seems like a dream-like fable of a time long ago – while offering a panoramic, subtly scathing portrait of a culture that has abandoned tradition and has lost the ability to make the human connections many of us take for granted. (The late Taiwanese director Edward Yang, who was a friend of Hou’s, approached his characters in a completely different way in his masterful, joyous Taipei-set Yi Yi (2000). In Yi Yi, they try to connect between themselves and often succeed, but Yang’s colourful, appealing Taipei is not the indifferent, even cold and forbidding city that Hou casts it as in his earlier film, beautifully shot by Chen Huai-en.).
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Daughter of the Nile is comes to Blu-ray from The Masters of Cinema group in the UK and is advertised as a "New 4K restoration". It's a dual-layered transfer with a max'ed out bitrate. Hou go-to cinematographer Huai-en Chen frames consistent, introspective, mid-range shots. The image quality carries a richness in the colors with a thick film-like presence. The interiors are dark but detail visible and expressive. There is not much depth in the heavy image - transferred in the 1.85: aspect ratio. This Blu-ray, a function of the source, probably represents a very authentic presentation of this lesser-seen Hou film.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The audio is transferred via a linear PCM 1.0 mono track at 1152 kbps (24-bit). The film's score is credited to A score is credited to Hung-Yi Chang (Stanley Kwan's Full Moon in New York with Maggie Cheung) and Ch'en Cihyuan (only film credit) and there is some pop music when in the club and at the beach. It's flat with some minor sync issues but is clean and audible. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.
We are treated to a new interview with Asian cinema expert Tony Rayns running almost 3/4 of an hour discussing Hou and much more. It was highly interesting and gives the Blu-ray significant value. There is also a theatrical trailer and the package has both a liner notes booklet, featuring new and archival writing, and a second disc DVD.
May 27th, 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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