The Spectator (La Spettatrice) (2003)

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Released 15-Nov-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 97:58
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Paolo Franchi

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Barbora Bobulova
Andrea Renzi
Brigitte Catillon
Chiara Picchi
Matteo Mussoni
Case ?
RPI ? Music Carlo Crivelli

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.70:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    This film is the ninth of eleven films in the Italian Film Festival 2004 box set. The films are very different and the only real link between them is that they were all made in Italy in the last couple of years. This one shares the fifth disc of the collection with The Cruelest Day.

    The Spectator is another interesting film from this set, which once again takes a very different approach to a relationship drama than you would ever see from Hollywood. This film is set in Turin and Rome and focuses on the title character, Valeria (Barbora Bobulova), who is a beautiful young simultaneous translator who is painfully shy and somewhat depressed and lonely. She becomes obsessed with a man who lives opposite her, Dr Massimo Alfieri (Andrea Ranzi), whom she can see in his apartment from her apartment. One day his dog dies and she helps him without ever really making herself known to him. He is a drug company pharmacologist who decides to move to Rome to take up a lower paid but more rewarding job and to be with Flavia (Brigitte Catillon), a criminal law professor. In a flurry, Valeria decides that she also need to move to Rome to follow Dr Alfieri, despite the fact that he does not know she exists. It is here that she turns into a bit of a stalker, following him to where he works and staging an accident with Flavia in order to meet her. Eventually she makes friends with Flavia, thereby finding a way into Dr Alfieri's life.

    Based on the plot description above, this sounds like a set up for a stalker thriller with lots of creepy music and scary scenes followed by violence, however, this film is nothing like that at all. Despite her obvious stalker tendencies, Valeria is not dangerous - she just thinks she is in love with someone she really doesn't know. The film is a relationship drama which has lots of human emotion and feeling and tells an interesting story with a very different ending. The film is very nicely shot and the acting is high quality.

    Certainly one of the more interesting films in this set and unconventional when compared to American films.

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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is pretty good but not without issue.

    The feature is presented in a 1.71:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is close to the original aspect ratio of 1.66:1.

    The picture was quite sharp and clear, with no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was quite good.

    The colour was quite good although there was some mild bleeding from light colours.

    There was some minor aliasing to be seen, such as at 44:21 on a screen and 72:30 on a shirt. Edge enhancement was also regular but not overly intrusive. Camera pans seemed more blurry than usual in this film and there were also occasional film artefacts such as at 60:50. Additionally, there were two spots of pixelization which were not resolved by a thorough clean of the disc. These occurred at 2:08 and 18:12 and were accompanied by an audio dropout.

    There are burned-in subtitles in English which are generally clear and easy to read, although there are still some issues with them. Firstly they are slightly cut off at the bottom of the picture with the lower halves of y's and g's missing. Also, some of the subtitles flash by too quickly and others include literal translation with grammar and/or spelling issues. Lastly, as with some other films in this set, when English or another language is spoken (other than Italian), two sets of subtitles appear, one in English and one in Italian. This really should have been two proper subtitle streams.


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


    The audio quality is reasonable.

    This DVD contains an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s.

    Dialogue seemed clear and there was no problem with audio sync that my very limited knowledge of Italian allowed me to detect. As mentioned above audio dropouts occurred at 2:08 and 18:12 accompanying pixelization.

    The music by Carlo Crivelli is one of the highlights of this production consisting of angular modern classical music and jazz songs.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use




    The menu allows only for the selection of which movie to play.

R4 vs R1

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

    I cannot find any evidence of this film having been released in any other region.


    An interesting and quite different relationship drama from Italy.

    The video quality is pretty good but not without issue.

    The audio quality is reasonable.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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