Height of Passion (2001)

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Released 17-Jun-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Sports Featurette-Pele Profile (2:51)
Featurette-Maradona Profile (5:29)
Featurette-Social background: Latin America and football (1:33)
Featurette-Passion and culture: Montage of Latin America football
Featurette-Tahuichi Football Academy in Bolivia (3:44)
Featurette-Candomble: Witchcraft and Football (2:22)
Featurette-El Cole: Condor Man - Fanatical Supporter for Colombia
Interviews-Crew-Rod Hay - Director (8:07)
Trailer-Football books
Trailer-Leunig Animated, Calle 54
DVD Credits
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 208:08 (Case: 216)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Rod Hay
Forza Productions
Madman Entertainment
Starring Les Murray
Case Click-Double
RPI $34.95 Music Blato Productions
Antonio Dixon
Peter Wells

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Whatever the sport, whatever the country, you are almost certain to find a derby, and whenever you talk of a derby you are talking about something so much more than just a game. But if you need the ultimate demonstration of the passion of the derby, then you need to look at just one game: the beautiful game, the world game, the real football. In even the least football minded nations on earth, the local derby takes on a whole different face in comparison to the rest of the football played that season. When you get to the more football mad nations on Earth, the local derby moves beyond mere sport and takes on the last vestiges of the feudal system. So whilst Melbournites might find the local South Melbourne v Melbourne Knights derby the height of the soccer season, it pales into insignificance when compared with say Manchester United v Manchester City or Arsenal v Chelsea. But even those great club derbies and rivalries do not rank amongst the most passionate in the world. For genuine passion in football, you really need that Latin influence - and usually a truly great stadium.

    So, the Height Of Passion delves into four of the greatest derbies the world of football has to offer. Not only does it look into the derbies themselves but it looks into the history of the derbies and the great players that have taken part in the derbies. So we get to look in Spain at Barcelona v Real Madrid, which features two of the greatest club teams of the world and two of the greatest stadia of the world: the Camp Nou and the Bernebeu respectively. In the modern game, it probably does not get any better than this with the plethora of supreme talent that these two clubs parade nowadays in La Liga, the self styled best league in the world. After the passion of Spain, we move to the passion of Italy where the city of Milan plays home to two of the great teams of Italy: A C Milan and Internazionale (better known as Inter Milan) and their battles at the famed San Siro. We all know how passionate Italians are - but even their passion for love barely compares to their passion for football.

    But even the passion of two of Europe's greatest domestic footballing nations does not come close to the almost tribalistic passion of South America. The two great footballing nations of Argentina and Brazil provide two of the greatest derbies of all time. Argentina, and more particularly Buenos Aires, provides one of the most passionate derbies anywhere in any sport: Boca Juniors v River Plate. But even the passion that divides the city of Buenos Aires barely ranks against the passionate streak that divides the city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil: that passion takes the form of red and black and black and white. The red and black is Flamengo whilst the black and white is Vasco da Gama. There is little to compare anywhere in the world in any sport to the derby that gets played out at the famed Maracana Stadium between these two great clubs and long term rivals.

    Whilst one could quibble over the merits of the many derbies not included here, especially some of the great English efforts like Liverpool v Everton, in the final analysis the selections made here are about as good as you could possibly get: hence the reason the title is Height Of Passion. If you have ever watched one of these games on television, you will already know that those great rivalries in England do not compare to these four selected derbies.

    If you don't understand what all the fuss is about, you probably never will. For the real football fanatic however, this is a glorious recapping of four of the greatest football derbies in the world. Sit back and enjoy four truly great rivalries - and some of the stupendous goals that have graced these passionate encounters.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    Made for television, the presentation is Full Frame (1.33:1) and it is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is a little inconsistent with some portions suffering a little from grain. Overall, though, it reflects well given that it was designed for television broadcast. Reasonably sharp, with better than average detail. Shadow detail is just better than average, although to be fair it is hardly an important factor in the whole programme.

    The colours are pretty good throughout with decent solidity of tones and a reasonable vibrancy to them. The whole thing has a quite natural look to it. There is no hint of oversaturation at all and colour bleed is also a non-issue.

    There is a slightly consistent problem throughout the transfer with a loss of resolution in pan shots, but these might be inherent in the source material as I recall a similar problem in the television broadcast. The one thing that does ail the transfer throughout is aliasing. It is rife and runs from rather mild to rather impossible to ignore. The latter is evidenced by the aliasing in the stadium at 27:27 in the first episode, with another being in the car at 11:58 in episode three. The mild aliasing can be found everywhere and it would not be too hard to find in any of the episodes. There are no obvious film artefacts in the modern source material, although the archive material is rather well blessed with the problem.

    The DVDs making up this two disc set both appear to be Dual Layered efforts, with an episode mastered on each layer.

    The only subtitles on the DVDs are the forced English efforts whenever there is foreign language dialogue to translate.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There is just the one soundtrack on the DVDs being an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

    The soundtrack really does not have a lot to do, mainly carring the narration and interview material. It does this pretty well indeed and you can understand everything quite easily. There are no apparent audio sync issues with the transfer.

    The original music comes from Antonio Dixon and Peter Wells and is really just background stuff that plays a minimal part in the overall programme - although the opening theme music is quite good.

    Since all we really have here is dialogue, which has been well handled, there is really nothing much to say about the soundtrack. It is clean, clear and very functional.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    Not a bad little package assembled for this release, it has to be said (as I was not really expecting that much). All extras are presented in a Full Frame format that is not 16x9 enhanced, and with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound - unless otherwise noted.


    Quite nicely presented overall but lacking any enhancements.

Disc One:

Featurette - Profile Pele (2:51)

    Arguably the greatest footballer of all time, and undeniably the most famous, the great Pele gets this shortish profile of his career. He actually spent his entire career with Santos in Brazil (we will ignore the time he spent in America after his retirement, helping get the old North American Soccer League up and running), so his inclusion here has little to do with the main programming. Still, it is very hard to talk about the passion of football in South America without mentioning the man and this is an interesting, albeit brief, profile of his career. Like the main programme, this suffers a little from aliasing.

Featurette - Profile Maradona (5:29)

    Quite why the flawed genius of Maradona rates more time than Pele is hard to fathom, especially for those people well versed with his Hand Of God goal that crucified England in the World Cup in Mexico in 1986 and his problems with drugs. Still, he had more connection with the great derbies as he played for Boca Juniors. Also suffers a little from aliasing.

Featurette - Social Background: Latin America And Football (1:33)

    It is not just a sport in South America - it is almost a religion. It is still seen as the way out of the ghettos for the underprivileged masses of South America. This provides an interesting look at just what football means in South America.

Featurette - Passion And Culture: Montage Of Latin American Football (1:00)

    An obvious follow on to the previous effort, another brief but interesting synopsis of the importance of football to life in South America. It really is that basic.

Featurette - Tahuichi Football Academy In Bolivia (3:44)

    A very brief look at one of the most famous football academies in the whole world. The guy who runs this has been nominated for three Nobel Peace Prizes - that's how big a deal this place is in Bolivia. Perhaps emphasising again how football is a way out of the rut for people, it also shows that it isn't exactly hurting the improvement of Bolivian football in general.

Featurette - Candomble: Witchcraft And Football (2:22)

    They really take their football seriously in South America and even the spirits are invoked in order to ensure victory. It is not quite organised but it sure has its place (and an encouraged place at that) in the football of the region. Hard to believe in countries where witchcraft is not a practiced art but interesting too.

Featurette - El Cole: Condor Man - Fanatical Supporter of Columbia (3:58)

    Wherever you go you will find some fans who go just a little beyond the boundary of reasonableness in their support of their team. El Cole is one of those men, a man so important to Columbian football that they apparently hold telethons to raise the money for him to accompany his national team around the globe. He sees it as a God given task to do whatever he can to encourage the masses and bring glory to Columbia.

Disc Two:

Interview - Crew: Rod Hay (Director) (8:07)

    Wherein the director deals with a few questions with respect of the programme and the derbies in particular. Decent enough but hardly the most scintillating effort that I have ever seen. Technical quality is quite good.

Trailer - Football Books

    Well, hardly a trailer but rather two adverts for football books available from SBS - Sheilas, Wogs and Pooftahs by former Socceroo John Warren and the SBS Dictionary Of Soccer.

Trailer - Leunig Animated (0:47)

    Under the obligatory heading of Madman Propaganda, this trailer is the only effort on the disc that is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and it is not 16x9 enhanced. Excellent stuff, although I still remain unconvinced of the transition to animation from print.

Trailer - Calle 54 (1:15)

    Something evocative of Buena Vista Social Club by the looks of it, a decent enough trailer that indicates that perhaps I ought to check out the DVD release...

DVD Credits

R4 vs R1

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

    As far as I can find out, this has not been released in any other Region - at least not yet.


    If you are the slightest bit interested in the Beautiful Game, then this is well worth checking out - especially if you missed the show on SBS Television. Height Of Passion is about as good a look as I have ever seen about the whole thing surrounding the derby in football. Whilst the video transfer could perhaps have been better, this is well worth checking out.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Friday, September 26, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1600, using S-Video output
DisplaySony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-795
SpeakersEnergy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL

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