Mediterraneo (1991)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 29-Aug-2003

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Trailer-Johnny Stecchino
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1991
Running Time 98:13
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Gabriele Salvatores
Studio
Distributor
Penta Films
Beyond Home Entertainment
Starring Diego Abatantuono
Claudio Bigagli
Guiseppe Cederna
Claudio Bisio
Luigi Alberti
Ugo Conti
Memo Dini
Vasco Mirandola
Luigi Montini
Irene Grazioli
Anaonio Catania
Vanna Barba
Case ?
RPI $23.95 Music Giancarlo Bigazzi
Marco Falagiani


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown 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

    Mediterraneo, from Italian director Gabriele Salvatores (Nirvana, Denti, Sud), was released internationally in 1991 and in fact won the 1992 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film.

    This film is basically about a unit of 8 Italian soldiers who find themselves posted on an Greek island in the Mediterranean Sea towards the end of World War 2. Their stated mission is to guard the island, observe shipping activity, and fight off any attempts at invasion by enemy forces. The soldiers don't appear to be the most brave nor the most cunning troops on the ground during the war. In fact, they don't seem terribly desperate be in the thick of combat action, perhaps understandably so as they could probably see the writing on the wall by then.

   The island that they find themselves on is a picture of perfection, with whitewashed buildings, shady trees, and the lovely blue waters of the Mediterranean washing ashore just metres from the buildings. The soldiers soon come into contact with the local folk, in particular some rather lovely ladies who turn out to be the village 'puta', or prostitutes.

    The soldiers, assisted by their increasing consumption of the local 'weed', together with their intoxication by the lovely womenfolk, realise that there are far better things than being in combat, and soon find themselves becoming a part of the idyllic landscape.

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

Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 which seems to be its original theatrical ratio. The transfer is 16x9 enhanced.

    While not the sharpest of transfers, given that it was a low-budget European release and made in 1991, the transfer that we are provided with is quite reasonable in terms of sharpness. There is good shadow detail, once again especially when considering the film's origins.

    There was no visible grain at any stage, despite many many scenes with bright blue skies splashed across the screen, and there was no low-level noise apparent.

    The colour was rich at all times without ever being oversaturated nor exhibiting any signs of colour bleed. The director and cinematographer (Italo Petruccione) have taken many opportunities to showcase the natural beauty of the area. Particular examples of lovely colour include the rich contrast between the deep blue of the sea and the brown hues of the rocky ground at 24:00, the deep orange sunset at 30:20, and the scene at 47:00.

    The only example of aliasing I noted was on the window shutters in the background around 8:43.

     Edge enhancement was used quite often throughout the film, but was never a major annoyance.

    There were a few marks which are probably on the master itself. These included visible reel change markings, such as at 19:00, 35:15 and 50:55. There were also numerous negative artefacts such as white spots and scratches, as well as positive artefacts such as hairs. At 69:45 there was a vertical line across the screen that appeared for a second and appeared to be inherent in the master, rather than a fault with the transfer.

    The subtitles, in English only, were burned into the print and didn't utilise a subtitle 'track'. The font could have been a little smaller and I think viewers who wish to view this film in Italian without subtitles would have appreciated them being on a switchable subtitle track. The subtitles were reasonably well synchronised with the onscreen action, though they are not the best I've seen.

    This was a single layered disc.

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

Audio

    There is only one soundtrack offered on this disc, Italian in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.

    The dialogue is in Italian, with occasional Greek and English use. It was clear and in sync at all times.

    The music, by Giancarlo Bigazzi and Marco Falagiani, was well themed to the on-screen action. It made extensive use of Greek themes and instruments, and generally provided a 'happy' feel whenever suitable, with more melancholy or dramatic tones as required. It was really unfortunate that this transfer was in mono, as the music would have sounded even better had it come through at least the front speakers, let alone the rear surrounds.

    As mentioned, this transfer was in mono, so all speakers except the centre speaker were able to sleep off their Christmas partying!

    The subwoofer piped up occasionally to support some effects as well as the music, though obviously not through a dedicated LFE signal.

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

Extras

    There was only one extra on this disc.

Trailer - Johnny Stecchino (1:47)

    Presented in 1.33:1 and in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo.

R4 vs R1

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

    This DVD appears to currently only be available in R4. I found some references to an R2 version that appears to have been deleted or cancelled before actual release.

Summary

   Mediterraneo is an essentially 'simple' film, both storywise and in production. In that typical Italian cinematic way it effectively combines comedy, romance, melodrama and sentimentality, with lovely music and wonderful scenery. Whether it combines these elements effectively is obviously in the eye of the beholder. It must have impressed the judging panel for the Academy Awards in 1992, as it won the Best Foreign Film Oscar for that year.

    Although I'm generally favourably disposed to gentle, minimalist films, especially from the Continent, I did find Mediterraneo a little disappointing. I thought it was dull and a little lacking in depth (both in regards to the characters and the story itself).

    The quality of the video transfer is quite acceptable, especially considering the age of the source material. However, the audio should have been in at least Stereo, if not 5.1.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Satish Rajah (don't read my bio!)
Sunday, January 11, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-344 Multi-Region, using Component output
DisplaySony KV-XA34M31 80cm. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2801
SpeakersMain: Mission 753; Centre: Mission m7c2; rear: Mission 77DS; Sub: JBL PB10

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Where to buy? -