Overall | First Contact (1984) | Joe Leahy's Neighbours (1989) | Black Harvest (1992)

The Highlands Trilogy (1984)

The Highlands Trilogy (1984)

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Released 1-Sep-2005

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Overall Package

    In 1983 a documentary was released that not only documented one of the last encounters between civilised and primitive worlds, but it also began a family saga, more compelling than many works of fiction.

    When Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson decided to document the story of the Leahy brothers, they set the grounding for three extraordinary documentaries. This trilogy of films would become known as The Highlands Trilogy.

    In the early 1930s, the Leahy brothers' incredible journey into the uncharted interior of Papua New Guinea and their contact with a primitive civilisation formed the basis for the first of these documentaries, First Contact. The two films that followed in the trilogy were Joe Leahy's Neighbours in 1989 and Black Harvest in 1992. Between the three, they would earn some thirty major awards. This included the amazing achievement of each film winning the Grand Prix at the Festival Cinéma du Réel in Paris and AFI Award for Best Documentary.

    Joe Leahy's Neighbours and Black Harvest continued the Leahy story through another generation. Michael Leahy's mixed-race son, Joe Leahy and his family own and operate a coffee plantation on land purchased in controversial circumstances from the Ganiga tribe. The plantation provides employment and likely prosperity for the Ganiga through a joint venture called Kaugum Plantation. But the stability of their business arrangement is precariously perched on a razor's edge. Deep seated tribal suspicions and rivalries relentlessly simmer away, until containment is no longer possible.

    The day before their last documentary, Facing the Music, premiered at the Sydney Film Festival, Robin Anderson was diagnosed with a rare and deadly form of cancer. After a nine month battle with the disease, Robin tragically passed away on 8th March 2002. On this day the Australian film industry lost one of its most talented documentary filmmakers and a partnership in life and filmmaking was forever broken. Robin is survived by her husband, Bob Connolly and two daughters, Katherine and Joanna.

    The partnership of Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson produced five superb documentaries between the years 1983 and 2001. Each of these films is timeless and will captivate audiences for decades to come.

    First Contact, Joe Leahy's Neighbours and Black Harvest are nicely presented here in The Highlands Trilogy boxed set - enjoy.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Other Reviews
impulsegamer.com - Andrew B

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Overall | First Contact (1984) | Joe Leahy's Neighbours (1989) | Black Harvest (1992)

First Contact (1984)

First Contact (1984)

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Released 1-Sep-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Featurette-Sunday Review
Interviews-Crew
Featurette-7.30 Report
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1984
Running Time 51:57 (Case: 92)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Robin Anderson
Bob Connolly
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Daniel Leahy
James Leahy
Michael Leahy
Ron Carpenter
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI Box Music Ron Carpenter


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    The filmmaking partnership of Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson made five feature documentaries between the years 1983 and 2001. These films, First Contact (1983), Joe Leahy's Neighbours (1989), Black Harvest (1992), Rats In The Ranks (1996) and Facing The Music (2001) each won numerous awards and received high critical and commercial praise. This body of work has cemented their reputation as arguably the best documentary filmmakers Australia has produced. Their contribution to the industry was acknowledged by the AFI in 1992 when Connolly and Anderson became worthy recipients of the prestigious Byron Kennedy Award.

    Bob Connolly commenced an extensive career with the ABC in 1964. Over his many years with the national broadcaster he worked as a reporter, foreign correspondent and documentary filmmaker. When he left the ABC in the late seventies, he had an invaluable grounding in documentary filmmaking.

    Robin Anderson came from a more academic background, earning degrees in Economics and Sociology. During her time at Columbia University in New York, she developed a keen interest in filmmaking. On returning to Australia in 1978, Robin joined the ABC as a researcher and subsequently met her partner in life and love, Bob Connolly . Robin managed to convince Bob that his many years of service at the ABC was causing him to become institutionalised. Bob and Robin soon decided to leave the ABC to pursue a dream of producing independent documentaries.

    The unlikely inspiration for First Contact came from a dinner with an ABC colleague, Tim Bowden. Tim discussed a project that he was working on for radio, an oral history of Australia's involvement in Papua New Guinea. A particular collection of interviews fascinated Bob and Robin and they were eager to investigate these in more detail. The story of the Leahy brothers and their incredible journey into the uncharted interior of New Guinea became the basis for Connolly and Anderson's first significant work, First Contact .

    In 1926 gold was discovered in Papua New Guinea and many companies soon opened up large scale dredging operations. But within a few years much of the production began to wind down, due to the growing scarcity in gold turnover. Many workers returned to Australia and faced the despair of the depression, while some stayed on to continue their search for the precious metal - the Leahy brothers were one such group.

    Michael, Daniel and James Leahy decided to take their search for gold further inland and journeyed into the unexplored Western Highlands. The mountain range of the interior was so massive and rugged it was believed to be uninhabited. But within these peaks were huge fertile valleys and in these valleys lived one million people, none of whom had ever had contact with an outside civilisation. This fact in itself had all the facets for a compelling documentary, but there was a revelation to this tale that brought with it a priceless historical consequence.

    The Leahy brothers documented their contact with these natives both on film and in an extensive collection of still photographs. Robin Anderson could hardly believe her eyes when Michael Leahy's son, Richard presented her with the cans of brittle film, containing moving images of one of the last genuine contacts between the so called civilised world and primitive cultures.

    First Contact is an enthralling visual document of the Leahy brother's experiences in the Western Highlands of New Guinea during the early 1930s. The film also features some extraordinary interviews with some of the highland natives that witnessed the coming of the white man. This is precious dialogue that accompanies the vision. It is filled with delightful humour, as well as a fascinating perception into the gamut of emotions experienced by these highlanders in the presence of these strange white men. Daniel and James Leahy also provide great insight into their own personal experiences, including how they dealt with the constant danger of being overrun and killed by the natives at any given time. Unfortunately, Michael Leahy died two years before the making of this documentary.

    First Contact won a swag of prestigious awards including the AFI Award for Best Documentary and the Grand Prix at the Festival Cinéma du Réel in Paris. It also received an Academy Award nomination in 1984 for Best Documentary.

    First Contact is presented as the first part in The Highlands Trilogy boxed set.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer for First Contact is acceptable considering the limited quality of the source material.

    The documentary is presented fullscreen in an aspect ratio of 1.29:1, not 16x9 enhanced.

    With the amount of archival footage used in the documentary and the limitations of the source material, the levels of sharpness are reasonable. Having said that, the film does display a degree of softness which is not substantial enough to be problematic. Blacks exhibited some occasional noise and shadow detail was moderate.

    Colours were soft and muted, which is consistent with the source material. There were no adverse issues with colour balance.

    There were no MPEG artefacts in this transfer. There were no significant film-to-video artefacts. The occasional presence of minor film grain was the most obvious issue. Film artefacts were mainly contained to the archival footage, and were surprisingly minimal.

    The English subtitles are in bold yellow and are burnt into the print. There are no optional subtitles available on this DVD.

    This is a single sided, dual layer disc. The layer change has been placed outside of the feature, so there is no disruption.

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

Audio

    The audio transfer is very basic, but quite good.

    There is one audio track on this DVD; English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s).

    Dialogue quality is clear and concise throughout the film. I had no problems hearing and comprehending any of the narration or interviews.

    Audio sync appeared to be spot on accurate.

    The original music score by Ron Carpenter provides subtle enhancement to the story without becoming overbearing and obvious.

    The surround channels and subwoofer were not required.

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

Extras

    The selection of extras is very relevant and interesting.

Menu

    The menu is of a basic design, silent, static and is 16x9 enhanced.

Featurette - Sunday Review (11:13)

     This review of First Contact on the Nine Network's Sunday program obviously dates back to the initial release of the film in 1984. The review is introduced by host Jim Waley and reviewed by resident film reviewer Peter Thompson. The review has footage from the documentary incorporated, as well as some dialogue with Bob Connolly.

Interview - Bob Connolly (26:31)

    A seemingly recent interview with Bob Connolly about First Contact which offers great insight into the film. Bob discusses all aspects of the production from original concept through to completion and the many obstacles that he and Robin Anderson encountered along the way.

Featurette - 7:30 Report (10:54)

    Along the lines of the Sunday review, this segment from the ABC program The 7:30 Report clearly dates back to the film's initial release. Here, Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson are interviewed about First Contact and discuss points about the film. Footage from the documentary is also presented between the dialogue.

R4 vs R1

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

    At the time of this review, there is no R1 version of First Contact.

Summary

    In his summary of First Contact, Bob Connolly modestly claims that First Contact is more a great story than a great piece of filmmaking. While his first point is certainly true, Bob's modesty disguises the fact that First Contact is indeed an astonishing piece of documentary filmmaking. First Contact also heralded a filmmaking partnership that would produce five of the best documentaries ever made in this country.

    The video and audio transfers are quite good.

    The selection of extras is highly recommended viewing.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

Other Reviews NONE
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Overall | First Contact (1984) | Joe Leahy's Neighbours (1989) | Black Harvest (1992)

Joe Leahy's Neighbours (1989)

Joe Leahy's Neighbours (1989)

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Released 1-Sep-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Featurette-Sunday Review
Interviews-Crew
Featurette-7.30 Report
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1989
Running Time 89:35 (Case: 120)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Bob Connolly
Studio
Distributor
Arundel Productions
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Robin Anderson
Bob Connolly
Robin Anderson
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI Box Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

    First Contact documented the story of the Leahy brothers and their journey into the unexplored Western Highlands of Papua New Guinea. The brother's search for gold led them to discover about one million natives living in the valleys, none of whom had ever encountered a white man before.

    Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson returned to the Highlands in late 1985 to investigate the impact the explorers and their western values had on the Highlanders. What they discovered and subsequently documented in that eighteen-month period was so much more than they could have ever bargained for.

    In First Contact, something that was not detailed in interviews with the surviving Leahy brothers was the fact that Michael Leahy had sired several mixed-race children to different native women. However, none of these children ever got to know Michael as a key father figure in their lives. One of these children, Joe Leahy, is the main protagonist in this documentary, Joe Leahy's Neighbours.

    Joe grew up with a strong work ethic and learnt the business of growing coffee by working on the labour line of a colonial plantation. He saved his money diligently and had a dream of one day owning his own plantation - when we meet Joe, he has achieved this goal.

    Joe Leahy and his family are quite wealthy and have many of the material luxuries that come with such wealth. Together with his family, Joe owns and operates a coffee plantation (Kilima Plantation) on land he purchased from Tumul, a Ganiga tribe elder, twelve years before. This purchase has always been a bone of contention amongst the many clans of the Ganigas and factional fighting begins over claiming the land back.

    While Joe has the support of the Ganiga tribal elders, many in the younger community have become suspicious of Joe's intentions and believe he is increasing his personal wealth at the expense of the tribal community. One of these men, Joseph Madang, sets up a bank account with the sole purpose of gathering sufficient funds from the community to buy back the land. He soon discovers that although the plan seems to be very straightforward in theory, it is a colossal task in reality.

    To complicate matters further, Joe is negotiating with another Ganiga clan leader, Popina Mai, to acquire even more tribal land to create a joint venture coffee plantation with the Ganiga (Kaugum Plantation). The promise of incredible personal and tribal wealth has lured Popina to believe he is doing the right thing by himself and his community. But when the group opposing the dealings with Joe Leahy discovers that this new deal is stacked heavily in Joe's favour, they demand immediate answers.

    Joe Leahy's Neighbours perfectly captures the conflict between Joe's modern business ideas and the traditional tribal values of sharing wealth and resources. Although Joe has no evil plans to exploit his neighbour's resources, he does use clever means to persuade the appropriate elders of the alleged benefits of his strategies. While the potential certainly exists for the Ganiga tribe to prosper from the dealings, Joe Leahy and his family hold the largest individual stake in the venture and therefore stand to make big personal profits. This is the main sticking point with tribal opposition to the alliance, even though the ultimate responsibility of the business loan rests with Joe Leahy .

    Joe's plan of a harmonious business partnership with the Ganiga rests on a constant knife-edge. His many years of hard work and dedication to the plantation could be easily obliterated in an instant.

    Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson have cleverly avoided making any superficial judgments of the people in the film and simply present the story to the audience as it unfolded. This is superb documentary filmmaking.

   Joe Leahy's Neighbours is presented as the second part of The Highlands Trilogy boxed set.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer for Joe Leahy's Neighbours is quite reasonable.

    The film is presented full screen in an aspect ratio of 1.29:1, not 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer generally exhibits a good degree of sharpness and appears to be faithful to the source material. Blacks and shadow detail was acceptable despite the occasional presence of grain.

    Colours appear well balanced and natural.

    No MPEG artefacts were evident in this transfer. There were no significant film-to-video artefacts to advise of and film artefacts were also negligible.

    English subtitles are burnt into the print and cannot be disabled. The subtitles are clearly visible in white, in front of a shaded background.

    This is a single sided, dual layer disc. The layer change has been placed outside of the feature, so there is no disruption.

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

Audio

    The audio transfer is minimal, but perfectly adequate.

    There is only one audio track on the DVD, English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s).

    Dialogue quality is excellent and presented no problems. Audio sync appeared to be very accurate.

    There is no music used in this documentary.

    There was no sound separation, despite the fact that the use of Pro-Logic spreads the audio over all speakers.

    The subwoofer was used sparingly and only came to life on three occasions.

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

Extras

    The selection of extras is relevant and very interesting.

Menu

     The menu is of a basic design, silent, static and is 16x9 enhanced.

Featurette - Sunday Review (9:24)

    This extra has been taken from the Nine Network's Sunday program. Six years on from his review of First ContactPeter Thompson this time reviews Joe Leahy's Neighbours. Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson are interviewed and footage from the documentary is also incorporated.

Interview - Bob Connolly (19:08)

    This recent interview with Bob Connolly takes a retrospective look at Joe Leahy's Neighbours. Although the interview is quite short, it makes essential viewing. Bob offers brilliant insight into how he and Robin lived for those eighteen months in the Highlands and how they patiently observed and captured the events in the film.

Featurette - 7:30 Report (5:14)

    This is a segment from the ABC program The 7:30 Report about Joe Leahy's Neighbours. It probably went to air around the time of the film's initial release in 1989. It features a brief interview with Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson as well as some footage from the film.

R4 vs R1

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

    At the time of this review, there is no R1 version available of Joe Leahy's Neighbours.

Summary

    Joe Leahy's Neighbours is a totally engrossing documentary that is as compelling today as it was when first released in 1989.The uneasy business alliance between Joe Leahy and his tribal neighbours makes for fascinating viewing; I defy anyone to walk away from the trilogy at this point.

    The video and audio transfers are both good.

    The selection of extras is highly recommended viewing.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | First Contact (1984) | Joe Leahy's Neighbours (1989) | Black Harvest (1992)

Black Harvest (1992)

Black Harvest (1992)

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Released 1-Sep-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Featurette-Sunday Review
Interviews-Crew
Featurette-7.30 Report
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1992
Running Time 90:06 (Case: 120)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Robin Anderson
Bob Connolly
Studio
Distributor
Arundel Productions
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI Box Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     In the 1983 documentary First Contact, we witnessed the story of the Leahy brothers and their journey into the unexplored Western Highlands of Papua New Guinea. The brother's search for gold led them to discover one million natives living in the valleys, none of whom had ever encountered a white man before.

    In Joe Leahy's Neighbours we followed a more contemporary story of the legacy of the Leahy's presence in these Highlands. Michael Leahy's mixed-race son Joe Leahy is a successful businessman, owning and operating the Kilima coffee plantation in the Highlands. He and the Ganiga tribe have a very delicate business relationship. Their joint venture into coffee production, Kaugum Plantation, promised substantial returns if coffee prices stayed high. However, many factions within the tribal community were suspicious of Joe and his long-term business plan.

    In late 1989 Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson returned to the Western Highlands of Papua New Guinea to document the progress of Kaugum Plantation. Only this time they had an additional crew member - their eighteen-month-old daughter, Katherine, travelled with them to Papua New Guinea for the filming of Black Harvest. Of the three documentaries in the trilogy, Black Harvest is easily the most confronting. The audience connects emotionally with the Ganiga tribe as they suffer many deaths and casualties from senseless tribal warfare. We also feel for Joe Leahy as his life's work, together with his vision for Ganiga prosperity, simply vanishes before his eyes.

    Joe Leahy's business venture with the Ganiga tribe had finally matured and the time had arrived to pick the first crop of coffee; reaping the rewards of years of hard work. Joe and tribal elder Popina Mai were expecting this harvest to vindicate the deal they made some years before and subsequently appease the sceptical members of the Ganiga.

    However, days before harvesting was due to commence, the Coffee Industry Board dramatically dropped the world price of coffee, setting in motion a chain of events that would not only splinter the business partnership, but also change the whole dynamic of the Highlands region.

    Logically with the low coffee prices, plantation workers would be paid much lower wages than initially planned. The workers were told that token wages would have to apply if the plantation had any chance of surviving this economic downturn. Reluctantly the workers commenced the harvest and began the job of picking the berries before they turned black and rotted.

    One morning, early into the harvest season, no workers presented themselves for the morning sign in. Joe was unaware that the Ganiga had assembled on a tribal boundary and were ready to fight in a conflict between two other tribes - a fight the Ganiga were not directly involved in. As is customary, an allied tribe of the Ganiga had requested help in a war with a rival tribe and the Ganiga felt duty bound to assist.

    Day after day the tribal fighting continued. With no personnel around to harvest the crop, the berries soon began rotting on the branches and the survival of the plantation reached a critical point. In desperation, Joe used a traditional tribal mourning ceremony to display the imminent death of the plantation to the fighting tribespeople. This plan subsequently backfired when great offence was taken to Joe's abuse of their tribal customs.

    The constant tribal warfare had forced Joe Leahy's family to leave their family home on the plantation and move into a motel in Port Moresby. With each passing day of war, the coffee plantation edged closer to irreversible ruin and Joe and his family discussed the possibility of migrating to Australia. Joe's now elderly uncle and only surviving Leahy brother, Daniel, lived a short distance from Joe and the two had developed a very close relationship over many years. Despite his many health ailments, Daniel helped with the necessary signatures on government paperwork to enable Joe and his family to take their first steps toward migration.

    The once ideal friendship between Joe Leahy and Popina Mai became irreconcilably damaged and Popina sought help from the bank to dissolve the partnership. The optimistic and trusting decision made by Joe to be the guarantor of their business loan began to take on frightening dimensions.

     While Joe and his family were in Brisbane visiting their daughter at boarding school, the violence in the Highlands further intensified. Scores of lives were tragically lost in the brutal fighting and Joe's dream of prosperity for himself and the Ganiga lay in total ruin.

    As was the case with the previous two films in the trilogy, Black Harvest was the deserving winner of many international awards. The film won the prestigious Grand Prix at the Festival Cinéma du Réel in Paris and the AFI Award for Best Documentary, an incredible achievement held by each film in the trilogy.

    Black Harvest is presented as the final instalment in The Highlands Trilogy boxed set.

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

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer for Black Harvest is quite acceptable.

    The film is presented full screen in an aspect ratio of 1.29:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    Generally the transfer exhibits a good level of sharpness and clarity, although varying degrees of film grain are evident throughout the film. Blacks and shadows were satisfactory.

    Colours appeared well balanced and natural.

    MPEG artefacts were not evident in this transfer. There were no significant film-to-video artefacts, although what appears to be a minor tracking error occurs at 57:04. Film artefacts were negligible.

    English subtitles are burnt into the print and cannot be disabled. The subtitles are clearly visible and legible in yellow.

    This is a single sided, dual layer disc. The layer change has been placed outside of the feature, so there is no disruption.

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

Audio

    The audio transfer is minimal, but quite acceptable.

    There is only one audio track available on this DVD, English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s).

    On the whole, dialogue quality was very good. A few passages of English dialogue were a little difficult to understand, but this was not an adverse issue with the audio transfer.

    Audio sync appeared to be very accurate.

    There is virtually no music used in this documentary. Some uncredited traditional music is heard over the closing credits.

    There was no sound separation, despite the fact that the use of Pro-Logic spreads the audio over all speakers.

    The subwoofer was not used.

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

Extras

    The selection of extras is relevant and interesting.

Menu

    The menu is of a basic design, silent, static and is 16x9 enhanced.

Featurette - Sunday Review (9:28)

    An excerpt from the Nine Network's Sunday program, circa 1992. This review of Black Harvest is introduced by host Jim Waley and reviewed by Peter Thompson. The review also incorporates interviews with Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson with footage from the film.

Interview - Bob Connolly (18:25)

    This fairly recent interview with Bob Connolly is quite informative about detailing the extreme difficulties in filming Black Harvest as opposed to the two previous films. Bob discusses the dangers of living in a tribal war zone and the problems he and Robin encountered in trying to remain impartial throughout the ordeal.

Featurette - 7:30 Report (7:46)

    An excerpt from around 1992, taken from the ABC program, The 7:30 Report. Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson talk to journalist Justin Murphy about Black Harvest. The segment also has footage from the film incorporated.

R4 vs R1

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

    At the time of this review, there is no R1 version available of Black Harvest.

Summary

    As previously mentioned, Black Harvest is the most confronting of the three films in the trilogy. The human tragedy that unfolded before Bob Connolly's camera is painful, yet totally compelling. The worthy retention of tribal customs and traditions by the Ganiga unfortunately came at a large human and economic cost. Joe Leahy's dream of bringing western ideology to the Ganiga was treated with similar caution as the previous generation sixty years ago, when the Leahy brothers first walked into the valley. It seems that the more things have changed, the more they have stayed the same.

    The video and audio transfers are both good.

    The selection of extras is highly recommended viewing.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Monday, June 12, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE