The Truce (Tregua, La) (Palace Films Collection) (1997)
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Trailer-Facing Windows; I'm With Lucy
Trailer-Happy Texas; The Rage In Placid Lake
|Year Of Production||1997|
|Running Time||117:24 (Case: 125)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (64:24)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Francesco Rosi|
|RPI||?||Music||Luis Enríquez Bacalov|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The Truce begins in 1945 as military pressure from the allies and the Russians is forcing the Nazis to withdraw from Poland, abandoning their concentration camps and leaving the survivors to fend for themselves. Primo (John Turturro) is an Auschwitz survivor who is eager to return to his home in Turin, but finds the road back to Italy arduous and wrought with shady characters. Besides being an eternal optimist, Primo is a chemist by trade and finds his skills difficult to apply in his newfound predicament. Soon after being coldly liberated by the Russians he boards a train travelling in the wrong direction and meets a Greek on board (Rade Serbedzija), a realist and stirrer extraordinaire who sees the turn of events in World War II as the logical progression of history. Such a refreshing outlook! Exhausted and without any real plans, Primo agrees to carry the Greek's mysterious luggage in exchange for a share of the contents, whatever they may be. Primo's relationship with the Greek is short lived and the two part ways, just as Primo is rounded up into a Russian labour camp for refugees that have been liberated from the Nazis.
The film follows Primo from one obstacle to another as he tries every avenue possible to make it across the continent to his home in Italy. Primo is constantly haunted by violent memories of his time at Auschwitz and despite the awful circumstances of the story, there are many hilarious and genuinely uplifting moments as we join Primo on his journey. The casting of this film is equally magic; Turturro and Serbedzija are an outstanding on-screen pair that really give the viewer a sense of hope and fulfilment, however hopeless their situation.
Despite the film's alternate title, La Tregua, the film is mostly comprised of English dialogue. There are a few lines of dialogue in other languages that pass by untranslated, but you can rest assured that these don't hinder the flow of the story. As a whole, the film is very well made and can easily sit alongside similar films such as The Pianist and Life Is Beautiful. The direction by Francesco Rosi has an epic and distinctly European feel - in fact, I can imagine it would have been great to see in a theatre. I'm sorry to say that my main regret regarding this film is the transfer it has received to DVD.
Originally released in Region 4 by Fox in November of 2004, my original review of the film was surmised in the words "... an inspiring tale of survival, given a sub-par transfer to DVD". This new treatment from Madman is an exact replica of the earlier Fox release; the menus, transfer, extras and cover art are the same. I know I risk sounding like a cranky so-and-so here, but I like this film, and I was expecting a lot better from this re-release - not a cut-and-paste job from the old Fox disc, which was dodgy to begin with. In Madman's defence, I do appreciate that they have merely re-badged the release and have not tried to tout it as a superior edition to the Fox (which, incidentally, is still available in stores) and besides, they were probably given this material by Palace Films. That said, this disc gets a big, fat thumbs down from me. Buyers beware.
This transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. The image is slightly window boxed on all sides. Details regarding the film's original theatrical ratio are sketchy, however given the framing of this transfer I suspect it may have been exhibited at 1.85:1.
Unfortunately, resolution is limited. The level of clarity and fine detail is poor, with no film-like sharpness to be seen. Shadow detail is average and black levels rarely extend beyond a dark grey.
Most colours appear washed out and bland, however I would not be surprised if this were an artistic decision. The flames during the opening titles (0:52) exhibit no richness in colour and the remainder of the film is similarly void of any really bold colouring. Flashback sequences are presented in black and white.
Fast motion on screen leaves a trail of interleaving and is very distracting on a big screen. Thankfully the opposite is true for Aliasing.html" target="Aliasing"> aliasing, given the softness of the transfer.
Compression artefacts are mild, but visible. MPEG noise can be seen in the white background at 1:13, however there isn't any large-scale blocking to be seen. Film artefacts are common, ranging from mild telecine wobble in the film's opening to consistent specks of dust and dirt throughout. Despite the softness of the transfer, a wash of film grain is visible at times. Damage can sometimes be seen in the source, not extending beyond scratches and the like. At 9:25 a persistent scratch occupies the left of the frame for several seconds.
There are no selectable subtitle streams provided. There are pieces of dialogue in many different languages throughout the film, but most pass by untranslated. Some burned in subtitles appear at 30:40, translating a conversation in Latin.
This disc is dual layered, with the layer break placed during the feature at an unobtrusive scene transition at 64:24. It seems the position of the layer break was moved from the Fox disc's 59:58 for some reason.
For a title that's already been on Australian shelves for four years, you'd think they could have got this bit right. While the artwork of the cover slick remains the same, Madman have abridged the soundtrack details on the back to read "English, Russian, German, Polish, Italian, Latin Dolby Digital 5.1". How would you interpret this nugget of information? Six alternate language options in surround sound, perhaps? Think again!
Only one soundtrack is provided; a wafer thin English Dolby Digital 2.0 stream encoded at 224Kb/s. Surround processing did nothing to enhance the stereo soundtrack, making it overly tinny with an unrealistic presence in the rears.
The English dialogue is commonly delivered with an accent of some kind, but is always easy to discern above the rest of the soundtrack. The film's ADR is realistic and relatively consistent. Audio sync is free from any dire issues.
The thin audio bitrate doesn't do the score or effects any justice. Overall depth and realism in the soundtrack is limited, however there is plenty of directional panning evident which succeeds in giving a mildly spacious feel. The film opens with two explosions in the first thirty seconds, neither of which register the slightest flutter of spill to the subwoofer. The overall output of the audio is woeful; Turturro's footsteps in the snow during the opening scene are barely audible. I was forced to increase the playback volume way beyond my normal listening level in order to reach a satisfactory volume.
The film's orchestral score is credited to Luis Bacalov and flows perfectly with the film's emotional highs and lows. The film's theme features some beautiful pan flute work.
There is no subwoofer or surround activity present.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu pages are static, silent and 16x9 enhanced.
Presented with 16x9 enhancement, there are 17 stills to scroll through from the film and three taken during the production.
Filmographies are included for five of the main cast members and Director Francesco Rosi.
Trailers are included for the Palace films Facing Windows, I'm With Lucy, Happy Texas and Ben Lee in The Rage In Placid Lake.
Aside from alternate soundtracks and subtitle language options, there aren't any compelling differences between regions as far as I can tell.
The Truce is an excellent production that deserves a much better presentation on DVD. For me personally, cases such as this reaffirm the relevance of DVD reviewing, in a marketplace that never seems to learn from its mistakes.
The transfer is a direct copy of the original, albeit flawed, Fox release of 2004.
The extras were ordinary in 2004, and are even less so now given the distinct lack of effort that has been put into this re-issue.
|DVD||Denon DVD-3910, using HDMI output|
|Display||Sanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector, Screen Technics Cinemasnap 96" (16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Denon AVR-3806 (7.1 Channels)|
|Speakers||Orpheus Aurora III floor-standing Mains and Surrounds. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Center. Mirage 10 inch powered sub.|