Nusrat (Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan-Le Dernier Prophete/The Last Prophet) (1996)

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Released 17-Jan-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Audio
Discography
Trailer-Cesaria Evora; Salif Keita
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 1996
Running Time 58:38
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Jean-Pierre Limosin
Studio
Distributor
La Sept ARTE
Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.75:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.75:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    If you haven't heard of him, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is the greatest musical export to come out of Pakistan. In his home country his status is comparable to that of The Beatles elsewhere, and he is widely considered a national hero. He is credited with beginning a new contemporary wave of traditional Soufi music, called Qawwali. To a western ear this could be likened to Jazz, a specifically structured form of music with improvised elements. I was convinced after watching this DVD that not only is Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan a virtuoso of Qawwali, but he was also one of the greatest vocalists in the world.

    This French made documentary is part of the Music Planet series, and was produced prior to the singer's untimely death in 1997, focusing on Khan's relationship with the west, from his early European performances to his meeting Peter Gabriel (formerly of Genesis) and the recording of two albums specifically for Gabriel's Real World record label, Mustt, Mustt and Night Song (a personal favourite of mine). Also discussed is his musical development as a child, and his later contributions to various Hollywood film projects, including his collaboration with Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder for Tim Robbins' Dead Man Walking.

    I cannot speak for the rest of this series, but the cinematography in The Last Prophet is so gorgeous you could almost list Pakistan as a co-star. The architecture, markets and faces of Khan's homeland are represented prominently throughout the feature and are a complete joy to watch. This documentary was clearly made by people who love and respect the Pakistani culture.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The case lists the transfer as full frame, however the transfer is actually presented in an aspect ratio of 1.75:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    Sharpness and shadow detail are well defined. There were no examples of low level noise.

    Colours were beautifully vibrant - the costumes and landscapes of Pakistan were a joy to watch.

    No pixelization or film artefacts could be seen, and although some minor aliasing was evident at 28:52 it did not detract from the viewing experience at all.

    English subtitles are activated by default and are thankfully not burned into the video stream. They appear to flow well with the Pakistani dialogue, although I don't believe they are entirely accurate. In one particular scene a group of Indians in England are discussing Khan's music when one man clearly describes Khan as "the fourth tenor", but the subtitles read "the fourth dimension". I had a laugh.

    This disc is single layered.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There is only one audio track on offer, Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

    Dialogue was clear and English voices were particularly easy to understand.

    There were no problems with audio sync at all during this transfer.

    The music contained in the documentary has been taken from various points in Khan's career, from outdoor concerts to professionally recorded material, hence the clarity of live mixes does vary. Khan's voice is always dominant and easy to discern from the many other vocalists that sometimes accompany him.

    I was very pleased to hear subwoofer reaction when tabla drums were used in some of the music. This added much needed depth to the sometimes overly bright classical music.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There isn't much to get excited about, I'm afraid.

Menu

    The menu is static and is not 16x9 enhanced. An audio clip from the feature (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192Kb/s) is played over the menu.

Discography

    An in depth discography, covering all of Khan's major releases including compilations and greatest hits albums.

Trailers

    Two trailers for other titles in the Music Planet series. Both are English subtitled and contain a Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) soundtrack.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There doesn't appear to be any release available besides the Region 4.

Summary

    The Last Prophet is a well made, fascinating documentary presented on an average disc. Anyone who appreciates world music or amazing vocal styles will enjoy this DVD.

    The video quality is great, but lacking 16x9 enhancement.

    The audio is standard fare and conveys the complex music comfortably.

    The extras are not much to speak of.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Sunday, May 11, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-525, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX76PW10A 76cm Widescreen 100Hz. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.

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