Amarcord (1973)

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Released 2-Jun-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1973
Running Time 118:30
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (53:22) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Federico Fellini
Studio
Distributor
Franco Cristaldi
Warner Vision
Starring Pupella Maggio
Armando Brancia
Magali NoŽl
Ciccio Ingrassia
Nando Orfei
Luigi Rossi
Bruno Zanin
Gianfilippo Carcano
Josiane Tanzilli
Maria Antonietta Beluzzi
Giuseppe Ianigro
Ferruccio Brembilla
Antonino Faa Di Bruno
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $12.95 Music Nino Rota


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/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
French
Italian
German
Spanish
Arabic
Dutch
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

††† Just like life, this is a story of many stories, some of which intersect and overlap, and few of which are highly dramatic. But life was never like this except in the movies. These are Fellini's reminiscences of his early life in Rimini in the 1930s, a town full of strange and weird characters as only Fellini could depict. It's hard to tell where the fantasy ends and the reality begins. The title of the film is supposed to mean "I remember" in the local dialect. However, some writers have compellingly suggested that it is an amalgam of three words: amo (love), amaro (bitter) and ricordi (to remember). In other words, bittersweet memories, which seems to fit the film very well.

††† The story ostensibly tells of Titta (Bruno Zannin) and his family. His father Aurelio speaks his mind about his hatred of the fascists, something which gets him into trouble during the film, and he often also clashes with his wife Miranda. But the story is just a series of vignettes, interspersed with characters talking directly to camera. While it does not seem to be enough to sustain a narrative, there is a feeling at the end of the film of having reached some objective and leaving the town of Rimini behind forever, at least physically if not emotionally.

††† There are several running themes that are depicted in several ways through the film. The harsh institutionalised discipline of the church-run school is neatly counterpointed with the official terror of the visiting fascists, and I think Fellini is pointing out that Fascism is not so different from the practices of the Church that he criticised in many of his films. The major theme of the film is growing up, which is shown through the lusting of the boys after women. There's La Volpina the town slut, La Gradisca (Magali NoŽl) who is the unattainable vision of an idealised womanhood, and then there's the buxom tobacconist with whom Titta has a memorable encounter near the end of the film. The boys spend much of their time staring at the backsides of the women in the market, while Aurelio's mentally disturbed brother Teo has a memorable scene at the top of a tree which shows his own frustrations.

††† This is a funny and warm reminiscence of Fellini's home town and is very entertaining. It would win the Foreign Language Film Academy Award for 1974, and is one of the best films of the master's later career.

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Transfer Quality

Video

††† The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. The original aspect ratio was 1.85:1.

††† This is an adequate transfer and no more. The image is reasonably sharp but lacks something in the way of finer detail. The transfer is a little on the dull side, with a lack of vibrancy in colours except for reds, which are a little too saturated for my taste. There is a brownish tinge to some of the early sequences. Blacks tends towards brown or have a faint patina of white over them. Contrast levels are acceptable, but shadow detail is slightly below average.

††† There is some minor aliasing at times, but this is not distracting. Edge enhancement is visible throughout, and this gets a bit irritating at times, especially during the daytime scenes when it is more visible against the sky. Speaking of which, the sky in the early part of the film has a mottled appearance.

††† There is a bit more grain visible than I would have liked, but worse still are the omnipresent film artefacts. Throughout the running time there are flecks and dirt, mostly small though there are some larger spots of damage on a regular basis. The sheer frequency of the flecking is annoying. It is clear that the source material has not been restored.

††† There is some telecine wobble during the opening credits. There also is a thin black vertical line at the extreme right of the frame throughout the film. I did not notice this on my TV (due to overscan) but it is visible on a computer monitor.

††† Optional English subtitles are provided, although I should say that they are optional American subtitles. There are numerous instances of the use of American colloquialisms and spellings, which tend to be distracting. The subtitles are generally well placed and almost all of the dialogue is translated as far as I can tell.

††† The disc is RSDL-formatted with the layer change placed at 53:22, well positioned at a fade to black and not disruptive.

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

Audio

††† There are several language tracks provided, including an English dub, but I listened to the default Italian soundtrack, which is also dubbed. It is Dolby Digital 1.0, reflecting the audio mix of the original film.

††† Despite an occasional stridency in the higher frequencies, the audio has been well transferred. Dialogue is always clear. The mono recording does reduce the dynamic range and there is not a great deal of life and presence in the audio, but it sounds to me no different than films of the same era that I have seen in the cinema. There is some faint hiss but no other noticeable flaws.

††† The dubbing is very good, and while the lip sync is not perfect, there are less problems than usual with it. A brief sample of the English dub indicates that it is better than normal as well.

††† The music score is by regular Fellini collaborator Nino Rota, and features one of his most memorable themes, which is heard in various forms throughout the film. Some may recognise some of the music from its use as the theme for SBS's The Movie Show, while the main theme was also used by SBS to introduce the one of the weekly movie presentations some years back.

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

Extras

Theatrical Trailer (4:15)

††† A long trailer that gives away a lot of the best bits of the film. This is the US release trailer complete with Roger Corman Presents... It is in worse condition than the feature, but at least it is 16x9 enhanced.

R4 vs R1

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

††† The comparison with the overseas competition is not straightforward.

††† The Region 1 equivalent was one of the earliest DVD releases from the Criterion Collection (spine number 4). In comparison to the Region 1, the Region 4 misses out on

††† In comparison to the Region 4, the Region 1 misses out on

††† The major plus of the Criterion is the restoration, which apparently removes most of the print damage and dirt and leaves the film looking a lot better than the Region 2 equivalent, with greater levels of detail.

††† There are several varieties of the Region 2. All sound as though they have the same transfer as the Region 4 and the same extras. However, the French edition is a 2-disc set with the following extras:

††† The extras on this set all feature English subtitles.

††† Choosing between these three depends on your equipment and whether you like to have extras. If you only have a 4x3 display and are not interested in extras, the Region 1 would be the winner. If you have a 16x9 display and are not interested in extras, you would probably prefer the Region 4 (even though the Region 1 seems to have 16x9-friendly subtitles). If you really want extras, there's the French option. If you want the best of this film, you would probably want to invest in both the Region 1 and the French Region 2, which would be quite expensive. I'm unable to make a definitive recommendation until such time as a restored and 16x9 enhanced edition becomes available.

Summary

††† One of Fellini's best, not shown to its best advantage here.

††† The video quality is not as good as one would like.

††† The audio quality is good.

††† Just a trailer as an extra.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Saturday, January 29, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

Other Reviews NONE
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Amarcord R1 and R4 -