Italian for Beginners (Italiensk for Begyndere) (2000)
Main Menu Audio
Short Film-The Only Person In The World
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Notes-The DOGME 95 manifesto
Trailer-The Best Man's Wedding; My Wife Is An Actress
Trailer-Read My Lips; The Last Kiss
Deleted Scenes-(Danish language only)
Outtakes-(Danish language only)
TV Spots-(Danish language only)
|Year Of Production||2000|
|Running Time||94:11 (Case: 98)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Lone Sherfig|
Twentieth Century Fox
Sara Indrio Jansen
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||Danish Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.37:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English (Burned In)||Smoking||No|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
Dogme films tend to be a mixed affair for me - I loathed Dancer In The Dark, and had heard very little about Italian For Beginners when it arrived in my town as part of a travelling flim festival. Although I instantly recognised it as a Dogme project, I found this to be an infinitely more enjoyable film, and one that stuck with me for quite a while afterwards. The characters are believable, the performances are solid, and although the story is a little too complicated to describe, it flows quite easily.
Andreas is a temporary pastor, assigned to fill the shoes of the grumpy Wredmann who has been placed on stress leave. Both pastors are grieving the loss of their partners, and their working relationship is strained from the beginning. New to town, Andreas soon makes friends with Jorgen, who hasn't been intimate with a woman in many years - claiming to have been impotent since suffering a groin injury. Also in the mix is a clumsy bakery assistant, a lonely hairdresser, an abusive waiter and a beautiful Italian waitress, all of whom find their paths crossing in an Italian language class operated by the local government.
Those familiar with Dogme films know what to expect here: the sets are real, the lighting is natural (and sometimes bad), the camerawork is handheld - but you get used to it, and looks absolutely like a low budget production, which it is. The details of Dogme filmmaking are included on this DVD, and make a very interesting read - if only to try and understand the reasons behind these many restrictions.
This is a good transfer, with very few flaws to be concerned about.
The film is presented in the director's intended aspect of 1.37:1, and is obviously not 16x9 enhanced.
The video transfer is quite sharp with a moderate level of detail present. Shadow detail is well defined although much of the film is considerably well lit. There were no examples of low level noise.
Colours appeared to be well rendered and showed no signs of bleeding. Skin tones were a little on the darker side, but that may be normal for this part of Europe.
I didn't detect any MPEG artefacts, but some slight grain crept in now and then during the darker scenes that wasn't too distracting. There were a few instances of aliasing, such as on a balcony railing at 83:55, but these were very minor. The most distracting for me was a terribly flaring shirt at 69:22, probably a poor choice of wardrobe. There were no film artefacts present.
English subtitles are burned into the video stream, as appears to be the norm for Fox releases of late. The text is white on a black background, and is very easy to read. I cannot speak for their accuracy, but the titles flow well with the dialogue.
This disc is single layered, hence there is no layer change.
There is only one audio track available, the original Danish language track in Dolby Digital 2.0.
In accordance with the Dogme 95 manifesto, virtually all of the audio is recorded on location, with no ADR or post production performed apart from the soundtrack music. Even though I don't understand a word of Danish, the tonal and emotional aspects of the dialogue delivery were always easy to discern.
There were absolutely no issues with audio sync.
Only very simple classical piano pieces are used as musical interludes, and these sometimes burst in at an unnecessarily high volume (82:40). This is the only point where I feel that the film strays from the strict manifesto, by using pre-recorded music that isn't present on location, and isn't directly related to the story in any way. (See point two of the Vow Of Chastity as detailed in the manifesto.)
My surround speakers and subwoofer were given the night off, with Pro Logic enabled absolutely no signal was directed to the surround channels. Actually, I preferred the Pro Logic processing in this case as it seemed to eliminate a lot of the annoying location noise and directed the dialogue to the front centre channel.
|Surround Channel Use|
For a single layered disc there are some quality extras here, but if you don't speak Danish you'll probably be as disappointed as I was. None of the content on this disc is 16x9 enhanced.
There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Some Region 2 sources list feature runtimes of up to 112 minutes, whereas ours is only 94:11. I suspect we have received a cut version of this film, so serious fans may prefer to purchase one of the many Region 2 options.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-525, using Component output|
|Display||Panasonic TX76PW10A 76cm Widescreen 100Hz. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Denon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete|
|Speakers||Orpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.|