Heart Elsewhere, A (Il Cuore Altrove) (2003)

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Released 28-Sep-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Theatrical Trailer
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Trailer-Time Out, Who Knows, Monday Morning
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 102:53
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (72:34) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Pupi Avati

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Neri Marcoré
Giancarlo Giannini
Vanessa Incontrada
Nino D'Angelo
Cesare Cremonini
Case ?
RPI $36.95 Music Riz Ortolani

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 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

    Il Cuore Altrove is a quaint little Italian film about unrequited love. At least, that's the way it came across to me; quaint and enjoyable enough, but nothing truly memorable. It was obviously much more successful than just a quaint little production in its home country and in Europe however, judging by the number of major award nominations it collected. The film won the 2003 David for Best Director for veteran Italian director Pupi Avati, and collected 6 other nominations including Best Actor (for Neri Marcore). The film even won a nomination at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival for Pupi Avati for Golden Palm, so clearly there are many other critics out there who got a lot more out of this film experience than I did.

    The film is set in the sleepy 1930s village of Bologna, a traditional peaceful Italian village of a bygone era. The story is the story of 35 year-old Nello Balocchi (Neri Marcore), who has left his father Cesare's (Giancarlo Giannini) employ in Rome as a rich and successful tailor - tailor to the Pope himself in fact - to pursue his passion as a schoolteacher in Bologna. Nello is a wholly likable man, very softly spoken, very polite and very well mannered. He is perhaps just a little too nice to the point of being completely naive in life experiences. He therefore has some trouble settling in with the rather boisterous but likeable and down-to-earth folk of Bologna.

    In particular, Nello is completely inexperienced with the fairer sex and has an unrealistically idealised notion of the goddess and soul mate that he will one day eventually meet and spend the rest of his life with. After several unsuccessful introductions from his well-experienced room-mate Domenico (Nino D'Angelo) - including a particularly funny introduction at a Nun's dance to Domenico's fiancée's obnoxious blind sister! - Nello's world is rocked by the chance meeting with Angela Gardini (first-time actress Vanessa Incontrada). Angela is also convalescing at the Nun's school for the blind, after a recent freak accident left her sightless.

    Angela is of course impossibly beautiful, intelligent and all of the things that Nello is seeking in his goddess and soul mate. The only problem is, she is conniving and, at first, not really interested in Nello at all, more blatantly using him to her own ends than showing him any real affections - something that is plainly clear to us and should also have been plainly obvious to Nello too, had he had even the least experience with women and had he not been so completely besotted by her beauty. It turns out that Angela is far from over her previous relationship with ex-fiancée Guido and is using Nello to try to make Guido jealous and so win him back. Thus begins our quaint tale of unrequited love. Eventually Nello does make an impact on Angela's affections with his boyhood charms and honest intentions, and so, unfortunately, our plot becomes rather predictable from here.

    There is no denying that both the acting and the direction in this film are very strong, as is the success in recreating the feel of the sleepy Italian village of yesteryear. The film is also sumptuously shot, with warm autumn yellows and browns. This film certainly has a very warm look and feel to it and was clearly made with a lot of love by those involved; it's just that the plot is somewhat predictable in my view. Still, it's a nice enough little meandering story and a DVD possibly worth a rent for a relaxing lazy Sunday.

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Transfer Quality


    The DVD is blessed with a beautiful video transfer.

    The transfer is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is relatively crisp and sharp, except in situations where the director has used diffused lighting for the actors and intends for it not to be sharp. There is only a small amount of film grain evident. Shadow detail is quite satisfactory and there is no low level noise to worry about.

    Colours are well rendered, with a warm palette of yellows and browns and the odd splash of greens in the countryside, all represented faithfully. Skin tones are fine. Black levels are sufficiently deep.

    No MPEG artefacts are noted. Film-to-video artefacts are restricted to some very minor and unobtrusive instances of aliasing (as in on the edges of pianos or bed-heads) and also some minor telecine wobble noted at various times throughout the transfer (very minor). The best part is that there are virtually no film artefacts at all, with the print being modern and remarkably clean.

    Selectable English subtitles are provided and these are well-placed and easy to read. As I don't speak Italian, I cannot comment on their accuracy. One minor complaint, however, with the subtitles is their timing, as I found in one or two instances where the subtitles were lagging a bit behind the spoken action, particularly in cases of quick-fire conversation. Other than these one or two instances however, the timing of the subtitles was generally OK.

    The disc is RSDL formatted, with the layer change occurring at 72:34. One wonders why the layer change was placed here, being distractingly so late in the feature and furthermore right after a particularly crucial scene. Nor was the layer change well executed, placed not right in the gap between the scene cuts, but instead a beat too late.

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


    The DVD is also blessed with a perfectly serviceable Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track (at 224 Kb/s).

    Dialogue quality is perfectly fine and comes across well, even through lead actor Neri Marcore's preponderance to mumble, in accordance with his character's uncertainty. Audio sync is a little problematic, wandering and a bit out in parts, but for the most part it is within an acceptable tolerance.

    The music is provided by veteran Italian composer Riz Ortolani. This guy has been composing film scores since 1954 (!) and obviously knows what he is doing, as the score for this film is quite haunting; simple and subtle, but very effective in evoking the mood of the quiet 1930s village and the uncertain and unrequited emotions of our main character. The DVD audio transfer handles the score very well across the range, with no clicks, pops or drop-outs to detract.

    This is not a surround audio track, although with Dolby Pro-Logic engaged there is a very small amount of redirected music and ambience to be had.

    The subwoofer is not called upon to any degree.  

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    This disc comes with some basic extras that help to make it a nice package.


    The menus are very basic with static images, but are nicely themed and are presented at 1.78:1 16x9 enhanced and with audio underscore.

Featurette: "Behind The Scenes" (13:59)

    A nice little making-of featurette, including interview bites with writer/director Pupi Avati and some interesting behind-the-scenes peeks during principal photography. Not the meatiest (or longest) of featurettes, but it does help to provide at least some insight into the director's passion behind the project. Presented in 1.33:1 full frame and of very good quality.

Theatrical Trailer (1:19)

    Presented in 2.35:1 but not 16x9 enhanced, this trailer is of good quality. Always a welcome inclusion as an extra, in order to see how the film was originally marketed.

Filmographies - Cast and Crew (8 screens)

    For Neri Marcore, Giancarlo Giannini, Vanessa Incontrada and Pupi Avati. These are very basic filmographies lists only - no biography information.

Photo gallery (28 shots)

    A mixture of publicity shots and stills from the film, all of good quality and all presented at 1.78:1 16x9 enhanced.

"More from The World Cinema Collection"

    Trailers for 3 completely unrelated DVDs in this series. I do not count this as an extra.

R4 vs R1

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

    This title does not appear to have been released yet in either Region 2 (UK) or Region 1. It is available in Region 2 (Italy), although it is unclear from the only review I can see posted (written in Italian) whether or not this version includes either English subtitles or the same extras. Stick with Region 4.


    Il Cuore Altrove is a film with its heart definitely in the right place, being stylistically executed and well-acted. It is a nice little tale of unrequited love, just with a plot that turns out to be somewhat predictable.

    The DVD comes with an excellent video transfer, perfectly serviceable stereo audio and a nice little package of extras.

    Worth a rent on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Sean Abberton (read my bio)
Monday, June 21, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 2109, using Component output
DisplayToshiba 117cm widescreen rear projection TV. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderYamaha RXV-1000. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationElektra Theatre 150 Watts x 6 channel Power Amplifier
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora III mains, Orpheus Centaurus 1.0 centre, Velodyne CT150 sub and B&W DM303 rears

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