Saving Face (2004)

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Released 21-Nov-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Audio Commentary-Alice Wu (Director)
Deleted Scenes-With Optional Commentary
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Featurette-Sundance Diary
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 93:18 (Case: 97)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (60:37) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Alice Wu
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Michelle Krusiec
Joan Chen
Lynn Chen
Jin Wang
Guang Lan Koh
Jessica Hecht
Ato Essandoh
David Shih
Brian Yang
Nathanel Geng
Mao Zhao
Louyong Wong
Clare Sum
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Anton Sanko


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Italian
Dutch
Arabic
Bulgarian
Croatian
Czech
Danish
Finnish
Greek
Hebrew
Hindi
Hungarian
Norwegian
Polish
Romanian
Slovenian
Swedish
Turkish
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
Italian Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

††† First time writer/director Alice Wu describes her film Saving Face as ďa Chinese-American lesbian romantic comedy of mannersĒ. While that might be a reasonable summary of some of the themes of the film, it does not do justice to the depth and heart of this impressive directorial debut.

††† Set around an Asian-American community living in New York, the story centres on successful young surgeon Wil played by Michelle Kruisec. As the film opens we see her mother, played by Joan Chen, unsuccessfully trying to set her daughter up with prospective young Asian men. Wilís affections, however, are for ballet dancer Vivan, played by Lynn Chen.

††† The tables are soon turned when Wilís single mother turns up pregnant on her doorstep and now Wil must help find a marriage partner for her mother in order to save her from the shame of being an unwed mother.

††† This is a film that deals with the demands of relationships, family, sexuality and cultural taboos. It tells its story with a fine balance of humour, drama and emotion. Supported by a fine cast who put in first rate performances, this is a film that is sure to please lovers of fine cinema.

††† Iíll leave the final words to the film's writer/director. She summarizes the main message of the film by saying that ďno matter who you are, you know, whether you are black or white or yellow or gay or straight or if youíre young or if youíre old I think that basically everyone just wants to love

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Transfer Quality

Video

††† The transfer provided is very good and is a pleasure to view.

††† The video is provided at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

††† Image sharpness is very good and the picture exhibits high levels of image detail. Shadow detail is quite good and the image is free of low level noise.

††† Colours are well saturated and accurate. It does seem clear, however, that the filmmakers have deliberately played around with the colour timing to give scenes either a fairly warm or† fairly cool colour palette. Although mostly effective I felt it was sometimes a little overdone and drew attention to itself.

††† There are no MPEG or compression artefacts to report. The only thing I observed was some very minor edge enhancement which I noticed in a few scenes. Notice for instance a slight halo effect around a girlís body at 32:42. The only other thing to report is a little bit of dirt on the print that shows up as small black specks, but these were never intrusive.

††† Subtitles are white and easy to read which is a good thing as about half of the dialogue is in Mandarin.

††† The film is presented on a dual layered disc with the layer change occurring at 60:37 which is a cut between scenes and is well placed.

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

Audio

††† The main soundtrack, which is Dolby Digital 5.1 encoded at 448 Kb/s, is very front oriented but still perfectly serviceable.

††† The dialogue was easy to understand and I didnít notice any obvious issues with audio sync.

††† Because of the low budget of the film, the filmmakers had to be creative in the way they sourced songs for the film and the results are extremely impressive. The original score by Anton Sanko is also very effective and makes terrific use of recurring motifs to underpin the development of the story.

††† The surrounds were really only used for some of the music. Otherwise it was very front centric.

††† The subwoofer really didnít get used much at all. I canít actually recall any significant use of the subwoofer.

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

Extras

††† A small collection of extras are provided here.

Menu

†††† The disc opens with the annoying anti-piracy advert which thankfully can be skipped. Menus are 16x9 enhanced but are just still images with no sound.

Commentary Ė Alice Wu (Director)

††† While Alice Wu seems to spend a bit too much time simply describing what is on screen she also discusses why she made certain decisions and also some of the more subtle messages in the film. She discusses a bit about the Asian culture which may help non-Asian viewers better appreciate some of the characters' motivations.

Deleted Scenes with optional commentary from director Alice Wu 4x3 (4:02)

††† This is series of five short deleted or extended scenes from the film. In the optional commentary Alice Wu discusses why she likes each of the scenes and their purpose. Only in one of the scenes, however, does she discuss why she removed it. These are all nice little scenes but none of them are of any particular consequence.

Behind the Scenes of Saving Face 4x3 (9:00)

††† While this is a fairly typically promotional featurette it rises a bit above standard thanks to the frank and interesting discussion by the cast and filmmakers. Well worth a watch.

Sundance Diary 4x3 (12:21)

††† The director and main cast went to the Sundance Film Festival to promote the film. This featurette shows them at some of the screenings and also discussing their experiences at the festival.

R4 vs R1

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

††† Apart from a few extra trailers on the R1 version there are no other differences between the R1 and R4. Iíd call it a draw.

Summary

††† Saving Face is an impressive debut for writer/director Alice Wu. It explores issues surrounding relationships, family, sexuality and cultural taboos and is very well done.

††† The video transfer is very good although the soundtrack is fairly front oriented.

††† A modest package of extras rounds out the package.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Michael Gauntlett (read my bio if you're bored.)
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-696AV-s, SACD & DVD-A, using HDMI output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE900E HD LCD Projector onto 90" 16x9 Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderLogitech 5500 THX. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationLogitech 5500 THX
SpeakersLogitech 5500 THX

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