|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
Mountains May Depart [Blu-ray]
(Zhangke Jia, 2015)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Shanghai Film Group
Video: Arrow Video
Region: 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 44,880,378,110 bytes
Feature Size: 29,039,730,624 bytes
Video Bitrate: 27.07 Mbps
Case: Transparent Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: January 29th, 2018
1.37:1 for the 1999 scenes
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio Chinese 2023 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2023 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
•Interview with director Jia Zhangke - 2015 NY Film Festival (1:13:05)
• Introduction to Mountains May Depart by Tony Rayns (17:13)
• The Hedonists (25:52)
• Trailer (1:58)
• Reversible sleeves featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Scott Saslow for all films
• Booklet featuring new writing on the films by Chris Berry, Geoffrey Macnab, Jonathan Rosenbaum and Tony Rayns [Limited Edition Exclusive]
Description: On the cusp of the capitalist explosion in China, Shen Tao has two suitors-Zhang, an aspiring entrepreneur, and his best friend Liangzi, who works in a coal mine. Shen Tao decides to marry Zhang -- a man with a future.
The film opens with a group of Chinese twenty-somethings dancing to “Go West” by The Pet Shop Boys. With lyrics such as “Together we will go our way / Together we will leave someday” and “Go west where the skies are blue / Go west this is what we’re gonna do,” Jia’s message is not exactly subtle. He foregrounds his common themes immediately, yet allows them to remain somewhat indirect throughout the first act of the movie.
The year is 1999 when singer/dancer Shen Tao, played by Jia’s muse Zhao Tao, finds herself in the midst of a love triangle. Vying for her heart is capitalist Jinsheng (Zhang Yi), a young, cocky man who has recently come into quite a bit of money; Jinsheng represents the best that the west has to offer. Less pursuant, though equally in love, is the quiet Liangzi (Liang Jin Dong). Liangzi, a miner, belongs to the lower class. He is intimidated by his rival and knows that with his great wealth, Jinsheng can provide a better life for Tao.Excerpt from WeGotThisCovered located HERE
The future is just as much a part of our lives as the past, but it often makes storytellers wary. Who wants to remembered for guessing wrong on details, let alone major happenings? Is risky, but sometimes your story has to extend that far in order to fully express what is teller is getting at, the way "Mountains May Depart" ("Shan he gu ren" in Mandarin) does. Its unconventional third act is not all that makes it an intriguing and noteworthy drama, though it is an essential part of the story.
The seeds, of course, are laid in the past, when 25-year-old beauty Shen Tao (Zhao Tao) has two suitors - "elite" Zhang Jinsheng (Zhang Yi), whose wealthy family owns the local gas station among other things, and Liang Jangjung (Liang Jing-dong), who like most of their town of Fenying has a job tied to the nearby coal mine. Though the coal is running out, Jinsheng buys the mine, which turns out to be a decent short-term investment as the price of coal goes up. By 2014, things aren't going so well for everyone; Tao is divorced, with her son Daole living with his father in Shanghai, while her other suitor is returning home in ill health. In 2025, "Dollar" (Dong Zijian) is living in Melbourne, 18 years old, barely able to communicate with the increasingly bitter father who has never really learned English, and the most interest he has in any of his classes involves Mia (Sylvia Chang), the fortyish but still striking teacher of his Mandarin class.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Mountains May Depart gets a solid transfer to Blu-ray from Arrow Films in the UK. It is dual-layered with a supportive bitrate for the 2-hour feature. The film, uniquely has aspect ratios of 1.37:1 for the 1999 scenes, 1.85:1 for the 2014 scenes and 2.35:1 for the 2025 scenes. It was shot on HD using the Arri Alexa XT. Colors are tight and true. The 1080P offers a vibrant, sharp image with frequently depth. Predictably, this new film is devoid of speckles, scratches or damage. This Blu-ray looks excellent in-motion providing an accurate representation of its theatrical appearance.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Arrow utilize a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround (24-bit) in the original Mandarin. There are only a handful of demonstrative effects (fireworks etc.) but there is notable, subtle, separation at times. The score is by Yoshihiro Hanno (Hsiao-Hsien Hou's Millennium Mambo and Flowers of Shanghai plus Zhangke Jia's Platform and 24 City) and it supports the very personal sentiments exported in the narrative. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.
Arrow offer a lengthy (1 1/4 hour) interview with director Jia Zhangke from the 2015 NY Film Festival a s well as another introduction by Tony Rayns specifically discussing Mountains May Depart. The Hedonists is Jia Zhangke's 25-minute short film from 2016 described as an engaging drama about several unemployed Shanxi coalminers looking for work. There is a trailer for the film and the package has a reversible sleeves featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Scott Saslow for all films and a limited edition booklet featuring new writing on the films by Chris Berry, Geoffrey Macnab, Jonathan Rosenbaum and Tony Rayns.
January 28th, 2018