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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "The Stendhal Syndrome" or "Sindrome di Stendhal" )

 

directed by Dario Argento
Italy 1997

 

While investigating a series of sexual assaults that have evolved into brutal murders, detective Anna Manni (Asia Argento) follows up on an anonymous tip that takes her to the Uffizi Gallery where she is overcome by the works of art and passes out (in reference to "The Stendhal Syndrome" so named because the experience was first described as happening to novelist Stendhal while he was visiting Florence in the nineteenth century). When she comes to, she does not remember her identity but finds understanding in stranger Alfredo (Thomas Kretschmann) who explains that great works of art have great power. As Anna's memory starts to return, she realizes too late that Alfredo is the rapist she has been looking for. He abducts and rapes her but she is able to get away. While recovering at her father's home in Viterbo, Anna is again abducted by Alfredo but she manages to overpower him and push his battered body off of a waterfall. Returning to Rome, Anna's personality begins to change. No longer hypersensitive to works of art, Anna dons a blonde wig (to cover up a scar Alfredo inflicted with a razor blade) and falls for French art student Marie (Julien Lambroshini, his character's name presumably referring to Stendhal's real name Henri-Marie Beyle). Just as things are looking up for Anna, she starts receiving threatening phone calls from Alfredo (whose body was never found) who is determined that she belong to him. After the somewhat bland American productions TRAUMA and TWO EVIL EYES (the former initially perceived by genre critics as weak but has recently undergone some reassessment), THE STENDHAL SYNDROME was initially planned to be shot in Arizona with Brigitte Fonda in the lead but plans changed and Argento reset the story appropriately in Florence and Rome with his daughter in the lead (her fourth film for her father counting TRAUMA and the Argento-produced THE CHURCH and DEMONS 2). While some considered the film to be a welcome return to form, others were put off by the sexual violence. When I first saw the film on tape in the late nineties, I was put off by the violence but also the lack of visual flair compared to OPERA (or even TRAUMA which I had at the time only seen in panned-and-scanned format) but I now have a better appreciation for Argento's and cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno's Rembrandt-like lighting and deliberate camera moves as well as Ennio Morricone's equally deliberate score (which also initially for me compared poorly to his more experimental work on Argento's first three Giallo films). The story is still as predictable as it once was and Sergio Stivaletti's digital effects (as well as Franco Casagni's make-up effects) do not entirely convince but what really comes through in reassessment is not only Asia Argento's dedicated performance but her character's blatantly unsubtle attempts to reinvent herself and disguise her violation (the notion of Alfredo being "inside her" has a psychological double meaning while her blonde wig and sunglasses have the appropriate side effect of making her look like a femme fatale). At the end, when she is being restrained by her fellow policemen who only want to help her, her cries and screams are genuinely wrenching as it becomes apparent that she is reliving her assault and the film ends on an oddly picturesque variation on the usual police wrap-up closing shot.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 26 January 1996

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Comparison:

Arrow Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL vs. Blue Underground - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Medusa Home Entertainment ([Disc 1 - Italian Version]) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Medusa Home Entertainment (Disc 2 - English Version) - Region 2 - PAL vs. DVDY Films - Region 2 - PAL vs. Troma Team - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the DVD Screen Caps!

1) Arrow Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - TOP LEFT

2) Blue Underground - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP MIDDLE

3) Medusa Home Entertainment ([Disc 1 - Italian Version]) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP RIGHT

4) Medusa Home Entertainment (Disc 2 - English Version) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM LEFT

5) DVDY Films - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM SECOND

6) Troma Team - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM THIRD

7) Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Arrow Entertainment

Region 0 - PAL

Blue Underground
Region 1 - NTSC
Medusa Home Entertainment
Region 2 - PAL
Runtime 1:54:32 (4% PAL speedup) 1:59:16 1:54:36 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.77:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.25 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.63:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.39 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.77:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.6 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Arrow Entertainment

 

Bitrate:

 

Blue Underground

 

Bitrate:

 

Medusa Home Entertainment ([Disc 1 - Italian Version])

 

Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1; Italian Dolby Digital 5.1

English DTS-ES 6.1; English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX; English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround; Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 EX; Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 surround

Italian Dolby Digital 5.1; Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo

Subtitles none English, none English, Italian, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Arrow Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.77:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:03)
• Dario Argento Trailer Reel (16:9; 39:27)

DVD Release Date: 22 March 2010
Amaray

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Blue Underground

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.63:1

Edition Details:
• DISC ONE:
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:04)
• DISC TWO:
• Director Dario Argento Interview (16:9; 20:02; in Italian with English subtitles)
• Psychological Consultant Graziella Magherini Interview (16:9; 20:39; in Italian with English subtitl
• Special effects designer Sergio Stivaletti Interivew (16:9; 15:47; in Italian with English subtitles
• Assistant Director Luigi Cozzi Interview (16:9; 21:50; in Italian with English subtitles)
• Production Designer Antonello Geleng Interview (16:9; 22:39; in Italian with English subtitles)
 

DVD Release Date: 25 September 2007
Amaray

Chapters 24

Release Information:
Studio: Medusa Home Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.77:1

Edition Details:
• DISC ONE:
• Cast Listing
• Crew Listing
• Extras on Disc 2 with English version
 

DVD Release Date: December 2003
Amaray

Chapters 20

Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Medusa Home Entertainment

Region 2 - PAL

DVDY Films
Region 2 - PAL
Troma Team
Region 0 - NTSC
Blue Underground
Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:53:20 (4% PAL speedup) 1:53:20 (4% PAL speedup) 1:53:03 (4% PAL speedup) 1:59:31.038
Video

1.78:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.22 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.81:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.6 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.53:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.3 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size:42,531,126,933 bytes

Feature: 33,324,281,856 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 21.02 Mbps

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Medusa Home Entertainment (Disc 2 - English Version)

 

Bitrate:

 

DVDY Films

 

Bitrate:

 

Troma Team

 

Bitrate:

Blue Underground
Region FREE
-
Blu-ray

Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1

English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround; French Dolby Digital 2.0 surround

Asia Argento Filmography

DTS-HD Master Audio Italian 4145 kbps 7.1 / 48 kHz / 4145 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital EX Audio Italian 448 kbps 5.1-EX / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
DTS-HD Master Audio Italian 1591 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1591 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 4191 kbps 7.1 / 48 kHz / 4191 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital EX Audio English 448 kbps 5.1-EX / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1585 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1585 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps

Subtitles English, Italian, none French, none none English (for Italian audio), English (SDH), French, Spanish, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Medusa Home Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• On the Set (4:3; 34:56)
• Asia Argento Interview (4:3; 3:28)
• Dario Argento Interview (4:3; 4:18)

DVD Release Date: December 2003
Amaray

Chapters 20
 

Release Information:
Studio: DVDY Films

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.81:1

Edition Details:
• French Trailer (4:3; 0:59)
• Dario Argento Filmography
• Asia Argento Filmography

 

DVD Release Date: 1 January 2001
Amaray

Chapters 14

Release Information:
Studio: Troma Team

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.53:1

Edition Details:
• Introduction by Lloyd Kaufman
• Dario Argento Biography
• Asia Argento Biography
• Lloyd Kaufman interviews Dario Argento (4:3; 10:44)
• Ronny Svenson interviews Dario Argento (4:3; 16:44)
• Sergio Stivaletti on The Stendhal Syndrome (4:3; 11:04)
• Ruggero Deodato remembers Cannibal Holocaust (4:3; 9:36)
• Tour of Troma Studios
• Troma Intelligence Test IIIntelligence
• Tempting Tromabilia
• Trailers for THE ROWDY GIRLS, CITIZEN TOXIE, CANNIBAL! THE MUSICAL, THE STENDHAL SYNDROME, TERROR
• FIRMER, TEENAGE CATGIRLS IN HEAT, KILLER CONDOM, and DRAWING BLOOD
• Easter Egg: Dario Argento in Stockholm (4:3; 5:07)

 

DVD Release Date: 17 August 1999
Amaray

Chapters 10

Release Information:
Studio: Blue Underground
Blu-ray

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size:42,531,126,933 bytes

Feature: 33,324,281,856 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 21.02 Mbps

Edition Details:
Disc One:

• NEW Audio Commentary with Troy Howarth, author of So Deadly, So Perverse
• Three Shades Of Asia NEW Interview with Star Asia Argento (20:01)
• Prisoner Of Art NEW Interview with Co-Writer Franco Ferrini (13:36)
• Sharp As A Razor NEW Interview with Special Makeup Artist Franco Casagni (10:03)
• Theatrical Trailer (1:03)
• Poster & Still Gallery (0:45)

Special Features Disc Two:
• Director: Dario Argento
Inspiration: Psychological Consultant Graziella Magherini
• Special Effects: Sergio Stivaletti
• Assistant Director: Luigi Cozzi
• Production Designer: Massimo Antonello Geleng
• BONUS Collectable Booklet with new essay by author Michael Gingold)

Blu-ray Release Date: July 25th, 2017
Transparent, Digipak Blu-ray case

Chapters 15

 

 

 

Comments

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

ADDITION: Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray - August 17': Blue Underground is advertised as a "gorgeous new 2K restoration from the original camera negative". Ooooppps... 'Huston we have a problem'. It's not so 'gorgeous'.

Firstly, let me state that I, generally, like Blue Underground's products (The Dario Argento Collection Blu-rays, The Lucio Fulci Collection Blu-rays, Django, Venom, The 10th Victim etc. etc.) but they have never sent DVDBeaver a disc or screener. Ever. We appreciate their film choices, but we are not beholding to them in any way. This excellent title, unfortunately, has been problematic (see Arrow's DVD issue in 2010) and continues to be with this 2017 Blu-ray edition.

NOTE: We do not own Blue Underground's 2008 Blu-ray edition to compare.

The 2017 1080P transfer of The Stendhal Syndrome has two major 'issues' that we will document here. It is dual-layered but has a low bitrate and there are persistent compression problems. We have tried to show this in a capture near the bottom of this review. It's clearly visible. The artifacts tend to look worse in the static screen shots below and are less-noticeable in-motion, but they, certainly, exist. It can appear as an unnatural floating field, mostly in mono-backgrounds and looks fairly messy. It should not be a part of this HD presentation.

Secondly, there are audio issues. Lines of Asia's dialogue (and a, reported, scream) around the 51-minute mark is not present on the English-language tracks. The Blu-ray tends to go silent for the English track (but Asia's dialogue is there in the Italian - with subtitles - see screen captures below). Like many Italian films, this was post DUB'ed, mostly by the actors, who predominantly spoke English in the production. This is an odd error and one, I guess, nobody noticed. NOTE: Predictably, the specific lines of English dialogue are missing on the included DVD of the feature as well.

NOTE: There is no, supposed, subliminal shot of an erect penis at 1:02:16 in the film, which lasts for 2 frames - that I could find. We presume, that it was a joke by Bill Lustig perhaps mocking the ultra-pickiness of some fans.

There are multiple tracks offered on the Blu-ray - 3 Italian and 3 English, plus the commentary by Troy Howarth, author of So Deadly, So Perverse. The Blu-ray has some featurettes: Three Shades Of Asia is a new 20-minute interview with Asia Argento discussing The Stendhal Syndrome and how she became a part of it and her role(s) in the film. Prisoner Of Art is a new 14-minute interview with co-writer Franco Ferrini and Sharp As A Razor is a new 10-minute interview with Special Makeup Artist Franco Casagni. There is also a theatrical trailer, and a poster & stills gallery. There are two DVDs - one with the feature and the other with the 2007 featurettes. Plus there is a 20-page booklet with photos and a new essay by author Michael Gingold. 

The score by the iconic Ennio Morricone (Property is No Longer a Theft, Luna, A Bullet for the General, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, U Turn, Stay As You Are etc. etc.) sounds excellent. WE will provide more details when we receive the corrected package.

So Blue Underground, have, graciously, and correctly, made a statement addressing the problems:

STENDHAL SYNDROME BLU-RAY UPDATE:
Recently, we were made aware of a minor compression issue and 2 bits of missing audio (English version only) on the new STENDHAL SYNDROME
Blu-ray. We investigated and have now corrected the
Blu-ray. We will be offering a replacement V2 disc for those with concerns about the aforementioned issues.
If you purchased the new 3-DISC LIMITED EDITION and the
Blu-ray disc art does not have “V2” on it, you may request a replacement Blu-ray Disc by emailing us at StendhalBDreplacement@gmail.com. You MUST include the following information in your email to qualify for a replacement disc:
Your Name
Mailing address
Copy of receipt showing purchase of THE STENDHAL SYNDROME 3-Disc Limited Edition
The V2 Blu-ray Discs will be available to mail out in approximately 4 weeks. We thank you for your continued support and patience!


NOTE: There is no mention of replacing the included DVD which has the same audio issue.

Our advice would be to hold off buying until you feel you are more likely to get a corrected version. At least a month. We should re-compare/review, here when we have a corrected edition.

Gary Tooze

***

ON THE DVDs: Arrow's transfer strongly resembles the Medusa transfer and is likely from the same master which was cropped from the intended 1.66:1 aspect ratio to 1.77:1 and lacks the intended warmer, grainier look of Giuseppe Rotunno's cinematography (which is better represented by Blue Underground's transfer and was at least apparent in the otherwise poor older RAI master used for the original DVD releases). Like the Blue Underground release, Arrow has included both the 5.1 Italian and English tracks on the longer version (Medusa's release presented the English and Italian versions on different discs both with English and Italian subtitles). Arrow's disc regrettably does not include subtitles for the Italian track (which features Asia Argento's voice). The film's original mix was an early digitally-encoded Dolby Stereo mix with an active mono surround channel so the 6.1 and 5.1 upmixes had more to work with (besides various ambient effects, Morricone's score also made use of the surround track). The original mix was included on the French DVDY Films - a sell-through version of the original Pioneer release - and Troma Team releases but only the French disc was correctly flagged as Dolby 2.0 Surround. The Medusa DVD's extras included a behind the scenes featurette in which some of the redubbed actors could be heard performing in English but this extras was not subtitled and carried over for the Blue Underground set which included five newly produced interviews. The non-anamorphic Troma Team DVD was one of the earliest releases and used the available PAL-converted RAI master. While only a few of its extras were actually related to the film (what was the point of including a Ruggero Deodato interview about CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST) with most of them being the usual Troma promotional items, one had to admire their early attempt to make full use of the DVD medium including its interactive abilities.

Although Blue Underground's original OAR DVD release was criticized for noise reduction and filtering (nowhere near as heavy as what was done to the Medusa transfers), their subsequent Blu-ray release is said to be a substantial improvement. In the SD world, Blue Underground provides a transfer in its original aspect ratio with an array of audio options and English subtitles as well as the most comprehensive extras but the Arrow disc may be attractive to UK customers because it is the first uncut release (the previous tape and DVD releases in the UK were cut by the BBFC) and it also has cache as part of Arrow's new collectible line of Cult Films.

 - Eric Cotenas

NOTE: From Arrow: "It has been brought to the attention of Arrow Video that incorrectly manufactured stock of The Stendhal Syndrome and The Card Player has been released onto the market. The one fault on both discs is the absence of English subtitles. This will not affect the enjoyment of fans who prefer the English dubs and otherwise the discs are as intended but for those of you who like to select the Italian tracks and don't have a grasp of the language you may find the English subtitles beneficial!

 This is of course extremely annoying and Arrow Video would like to offer their apologies to all fans for the inconvenience this may cause.

 

If you don't need English subtitles your disc is fine but for those of you who are affected please hang onto the DVD packaging and poster and booklet inserts and post the DISC ONLY back to:

 

Arrow Video Returns

Orchard Villa

Porters Park Drive

Shenley

Herts

WD7 9DS

 

Arrow Video will mail back to you a correct replacement disc plus a bonus DVD to apologise for the inconvenience. Please ensure that you enclose a copy of your full name, address and postcode.

 

Please send any queries to - returns@arrowfilms.co.uk

 

New procedures are now being put in place to try to ensure there's not a repeat of this! "


DVD Menus
(
Arrow Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT vs. Blue Underground - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Medusa Home Entertainment ([Disc 1 - Italian Version]) - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)
 

 

 

(Medusa Home Entertainment (Disc 2 - English Version) - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. DVDY Films - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Troma Team - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)

 

 

Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


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

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Arrow Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Blue Underground - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Medusa Home Entertainment ([Disc 1 - Italian Version]) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Medusa Home Entertainment (Disc 2 - English Version) - Region 2 - PAL - FOURTH

5) DVDY Films - Region 2 - PAL - FIFTH

6) Troma Team - Region 0 - NTSC - SIXTH

7) Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

Subtitle sample (where available)


1) Arrow Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Blue Underground - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Medusa Home Entertainment ([Disc 1 - Italian Version]) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Medusa Home Entertainment (Disc 2 - English Version) - Region 2 - PAL - FOURTH

5) DVDY Films - Region 2 - PAL - FIFTH

6) Troma Team - Region 0 - NTSC - SIXTH

7) Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Arrow Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Blue Underground - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Medusa Home Entertainment ([Disc 1 - Italian Version]) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Medusa Home Entertainment (Disc 2 - English Version) - Region 2 - PAL - FOURTH

5) DVDY Films - Region 2 - PAL - FIFTH

6) Troma Team - Region 0 - NTSC - SIXTH

7) Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Arrow Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Blue Underground - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Medusa Home Entertainment ([Disc 1 - Italian Version]) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Medusa Home Entertainment (Disc 2 - English Version) - Region 2 - PAL - FOURTH

5) DVDY Films - Region 2 - PAL - FIFTH

6) Troma Team - Region 0 - NTSC - SIXTH

7) Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Arrow Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Blue Underground - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Medusa Home Entertainment ([Disc 1 - Italian Version]) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Medusa Home Entertainment (Disc 2 - English Version) - Region 2 - PAL - FOURTH

5) DVDY Films - Region 2 - PAL - FIFTH

6) Troma Team - Region 0 - NTSC - SIXTH

7) Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Arrow Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Blue Underground - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Medusa Home Entertainment ([Disc 1 - Italian Version]) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Medusa Home Entertainment (Disc 2 - English Version) - Region 2 - PAL - FOURTH

5) DVDY Films - Region 2 - PAL - FIFTH

6) Troma Team - Region 0 - NTSC - SIXTH

7) Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Arrow Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Blue Underground - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Medusa Home Entertainment ([Disc 1 - Italian Version]) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Medusa Home Entertainment (Disc 2 - English Version) - Region 2 - PAL - FOURTH

5) DVDY Films - Region 2 - PAL - FIFTH

6) Troma Team - Region 0 - NTSC - SIXTH

7) Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Compression artifacts (on wall)

 

 

Sample of Dialogue Missing in English tracks.

 

 


Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Medusa Home Entertainment

Region 2 - PAL

DVDY Films
Region 2 - PAL
Troma Team
Region 0 - NTSC
Blue Underground
Region FREE - Blu-ray

 



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Gary Tooze

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