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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Looking for Alibrandi (1999)

Looking for Alibrandi (1999)

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Released 31-Oct-2000

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Menu Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Rain
Audio Commentary-K Woods (Dir), M Marchetta (Wri), R Kershaw (Prod)
Storyboards-and Working Script notes
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer
Music Video-Weir-Killing Heidi
Music Video-Teenager Of The Year-Lo-tel
Deleted Scenes-+/- comm
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 98:52
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (51:29) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Kate Woods

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Greta Scacchi
Anthony LaPaglia
Elena Cotta
Kerry Walker
Pia Miranda
Case Village Roadshow New Style
RPI $34.95 Music Alan John

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (320Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, at very start of credits

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

Plot Synopsis

    Looking for Alibrandi starts and finishes on "National Wog Day" as Josephine Alibrandi (Pia Miranda) calls it, with one year passing in between. For those who haven't seen the movie, this is the day where her extended Italian family comes together and makes a huge amount of tomato sauce! Josephine is our guide and narrator for this film and we see and experience life from her perspective.

    Josephine is 17, is about to start her H.S.C. with the boy of her dreams seemingly out of her reach and she has been raised by her mother, which is an important part of the story, but won't be elaborated on here.

    Pia Miranda's acting is just superb. She shows an amazing range of emotions that had me smiling, scurrying for cover and crying (well not actually crying, but certainly not feeling too good). Of course, her performance needs to be backed with other good acting performances to make a movie work, and it is. The cast seems to have been perfectly picked; Greta Scacchi as Christina Alibrandi (Josephine's mother), Anthony Lapaglia as Michael Andretti (Josephine's father), Elena Cotta as Josephine's over-bearing Nonna (grandmother). Now that we have gotten the Alibrandi bunch out of the way, onto the other stars; Kick Gurry as Jacob Coote, the boy that doesn't have a car!? (sorry, little inside joke there for those who have seen the movie) and Matthew Newton as John Barton, the boy of her dreams.

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

Transfer Quality


    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The picture is extremely clear and sharp at all times. No low-level noise, edge bleeding or excessive edge enhancement was noticed.

    Update 4th November 2000: There are three instances where the picture brightness changes. One is during the movie and the other two are during the end credits. The first brightness change is at 73:31 and it is very noticeable when you are looking for it. It occurs approximately 1 second after a scene change, so in this respect it is not that disruptive to the picture, and may even go by unnoticed, as it did with me the first couple of times. The other two occurrences are in the end credits at 96:17 and 96:27, where the whiteness of the credits changes abruptly. I'd like to thank Ben Hooft for bringing these glitches to my attention.

    The colour was exemplary - beautifully saturated, rich and vibrant. In the opening scene, however, the picture has a yellowish tinge and an oversaturated look about it which was deliberately done to create the appearance of home video footage.

    This transfer is basically free of grain, which makes the picture a joy to watch on a big screen. I did manage to spot two totally trivial and inconsequential instances, at 42:15 and 53:34, but you will need your magnifying glass or even your microscope to spot them.

    No MPEG artefacts were noticed and only one instance of moiré patterning was noticed at 18:18.

    I counted nine small unobtrusive film artefacts for the entire film. There may be a couple more I missed, but film artefacts are certainly not a problem overall.

    The layer change? What layer change? Yes, this is an RSDL disc, but the change was so superbly placed that I didn't see it, and it takes a great layer change to escape my notice. It is actually at 51:29 in Chapter 12. I had to use the layer display feature to find it, which is an invaluable tool when trying to locate these wonderfully transparent layer changes. Roadshow Home Entertainment have done it again - all other distributors take note, this is how layer changes should be.

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


    There are two audio tracks on this DVD; an English 448kb/s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and a 320kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded audio commentary. Again, I have to commend Roadshow Home Entertainment for using the superior 448kb/s audio stream, instead of the more usual 384kb/s stream.

    The dialogue was clear and easy to understand throughout the entire movie and was well-integrated into the sound stage.

    Audio sync was not a problem at all with this transfer, and was completely spot on.

    Alan John's musical score is wonderful and it enhances the movie.

    Good use was made of the surround speakers, which created an enveloping sound stage with good sound placement within it. As this is largely a dialogue-driven movie, the sound does predominantly come from the front sound stage, but with the continual subtle detail and the periodic louder effects and music coming from the surround channels, it stops the sound field from becoming front-heavy and dialogue-orientated.

    The subwoofer gets a light but noticeable work out. It is lightly used throughout the movie, with some heavier use found at 27:21 and 35:20, which really added to these scenes and the movie.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There is a comprehensive selection of extras present.


    All menus are 16x9 enhanced and are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The Main, Scene Selections, Special Features and Biographies menus all have different music, which is a 320kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, no less. You also get the Dolby Digital 5.1 Rain logo after you press play. The menu selections are; Play Movie, Scene Selections (20), Special Features and Sound & Subtitles.

    The Scene Selections menu has been beautifully laid out and also has a quick chapter access index. Roadshow Home Entertainment have done a truly wonderful job with this DVD - the quality and presentation is excellent and all the extras are presented in 16x9 enhanced mode.

Photo Gallery (39)

    This consists of cast and crew photographs which are of excellent quality.

Storyboards & Walking Script Excerpts (31)

    Sketches and notes for several scenes.

Biographies (7)

    This section contains Biographies and Filmographies for Pia Miranda, Greta Scacchi, Anthony Lapaglia, Kick Gurry, Matthew Newton, Kate Woods and Melina Marchetta.

Theatrical Trailer (2:07)

    The theatrical trailer is of pretty good quality, presented in a 16x9 enhanced aspect ratio of 1.78:1, with a 320kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. Unfortunately, it suffers from some grain and small but frequent film artefacts.

Audio Commentary-Kate Woods (Director), Melina Marchetta (Writer) & Robyn Kershaw (Producer)

    This commentary features Kate Woods (Director), Melina Marchetta (Writer) and Robyn Kershaw (Producer) in the centre channel speaking over the film's Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack. The commentary is interesting and informative, with only a few short gaps. Many aspects of the filmmaking process are covered, including casting, filming locations and decisions that were made during the making of the movie.

Music Video – ‘Weir’ by Killing Heidi (3:37)

    The Weir video clip is of great quality, presented in the 16x9 enhanced aspect ratio of 1.85:1, with a 320kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Music Video – ‘Teenager of the Year’ by Lo-Tel (4:24)

    The Teenager of the Year video clip is also of great quality, presented in the 16x9 enhanced aspect ratio of 1.85:1, with a 320kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Deleted Scene, with or without commentary (1 - 3:58 minutes)

    The deleted scene is of very poor quality, presented in the 16x9 enhanced aspect ratio of 1.78:1, with a 320kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. Before the deleted scene starts we are warned that the picture quality isn't going to be great because of what the source material was. The message reads “Please note that the following scenes are taken from the available low resolution film editing system”. I guess since this scene hit the cutting room floor, there was no film quality edited version available, which is disappointing, but it is better than not getting it at all.

R4 vs R1

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

    Since this movie is not available in R1, the superbly presented R4 disc is the version of choice.


    I really enjoyed Looking for Alibrandi. It is by far the best Australian film I have seen for quite some time. Presented on a superb DVD, it doesn't get much better than this.

    The picture quality is superb, and only just misses out on being of reference quality.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    There is a great selection of extras present.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Paul Williams (read Paul's biography)
Thursday, November 02, 2000
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-725, using Component output
DisplaySony Projector VPH-G70 (No Line Doubler), Technics Da-Lite matt screen with gain of 1.0 (229cm). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SV919THX
SpeakersFronts: Energy RVS-1 (3), Rears: Energy RVSS-1 (2), Subwoofer: Energy EPS-150 (1)

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