Joy Division (2007)

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Released 11-Jun-2008

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Introduction
Deleted Scenes-48 additional clips of interviews and outtakes.
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2007
Running Time 95:48 (Case: 74)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Grant Gee
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Richard Boon
Anton Corbijn
Kevin Cummins
Ian Curtis
Bob Dickinson
Lesley Gilbert
Iain Gray
Rob Gretton
Martin Hannett
Alan Hempsall
Annik Honore
Peter Hook
Richard H. Kirk
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $24.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/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 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

One of the shortcomings of Anton Corbijn's acclaimed debut film Control, was the importance of the city of Manchester in relation to the formation of Joy Division's sound was of little significance, as the narrative remained specific to the life of Joy Division front man Ian Curtis. In the mid 1970s this post-industrialist city gave birth to Joy Division, The Smiths and The Buzzcocks, and it is here in which Grant Gee's celebrated documentary Joy Division begins - at the now mythical event of the Sex Pistols gig on June 4 1976 at Lesser Free Trade Hall in Castlefield, (which was memorably recreated in Michael Winterbottom's 24 Hour Party People). In attendance were Howard Devoto and Pete Shelley of the The Buzzcocks who organised the event, Granada TV presenter and creator of Factory Records -the late Tony Wilson, and also Morrissey, Mick Hucknall, Mark E. Smith, Peter Hook and Bernard Sumner. And according to journalist David Nolan, author of I Swear I Was There - The Gig That Changed the World,† "The audience who were in there that night, looked at the band who were the Sex Pistols, who played their first Manchester gig and turned to each other and said, in that Mancunian way: ĎThatís rubbish! We could do so much better than that. And thatís exactly what they did." That very night, Hook and Sumner were inspired to form a band. Little did they know, Joy Division, a band which would be together for only four short years, would become according to John Bush of Allmusic "the first band in the post-punk movement ... emphasising not anger and energy but mood and expression, pointing ahead to the rise of melancholy alternative music in the '80s."

Like Grant Gee's excellent documentary Meeting People is Easy (1999) which followed Radiohead on their exhaustive world tour, after the phenomenal success of OK Computer, Gee allows his subjects to tell their story, in their own unique way. As such Joy Division, is the detailed history of the band, by those who were there, interviewees include Sumner, Hook, Stephen Morris, Wilson, graphic artist Peter Saville, Corbijn, photographer Kevin Cummins, Annik Honore, Shelley, Richard H. Kirk and Genesis P. Orridge. Those absent are represented via other means, Deborah Curtis is often referred to through quotes from her book Touching from a Distance - Ian Curtis and Joy Division, which inspired Control, Joy Division manager - the late Rob Gretton through his meticulous notebooks, Joy Division producer - the late Martin Hammett through audio interviews and the late Ian Curtis through his lyrics, which are often scrawled across the screen, as well as demo tapes, bootleg footage, vintage photographs and a number of television appearances. Ultimately Joy Division is an entertaining documentary and a great companion piece to Control. For the casual fan, this documentary is a a great introduction to the music and history of Joy Division, while for the die-hard fans there is much archival footage and rare demo material to savour. Detailed and enjoyable, Joy Division is about a specific moment in music history and the band who captured the sound of the city.

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Transfer Quality

Video

The transfer on this DVD in short is excellent. Presented in 1.78:1 16x9 widescreen, the image remains clear with excellent black levels. The transfer has been encoded over a dual-layer DVD at the average bit-rate of 8.68 Mb/s. The documentary film is composed of archival television footage and newly produced interviews with the participants presented against black backgrounds. Skin tones are realistic, with only the quality varying between the footage shot specifically for the production which remains sharp and defined, and the range of archival footage, which at times has visible film grain and various artefacts. However overall, the transfer is perfect. Also the names and locations unique to the production are burnt onto the print and presented in a clear white text. There are no subtitle options on this DVD.

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

Audio

The only soundtrack available is a 5.1 English Dolby Digital soundtrack. Again, this is a well produced and mixed soundtrack. The music is mixed slightly higher then the interviewee dialogue, achieving an enveloping sound experience. The quality of the musical sound varies, depending on the source; whether it is demo material, archival television performances or performances sourced from bootlegs.

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

Extras

Main Menu Introduction

Perhaps one of the best DVD menus I have seen in recent times. Based on Peter Saville's imagery for both Joy Division and New Order record sleeves, the atmospheric black and white menu features a short introduction, followed by the menu which offers direct access to the film, 20 scene selection and extra features (48 deleted scenes).

Deleted Scenes

There are 48 deleted scenes, approximately 75 minutes of excerpts. It is worth trawling through this extra footage as there are many odd stories to be found. Many are interview sequences which were dropped from the final cut (most likely for time), others include more archival footage. However the viewer must watch each scene individually. A Play All feature would have been handy.

Despite the back cover stating a theatrical trailer, there are no trailers to be found on this DVD.

R4 vs R1

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

This title was just released in the USA via the Weinstein Company.

The only differences are the optional English Closed Captioning and Spanish subtitles as well as the complete performance of Transmission recorded for the TV show Something Else in 1979, which features briefly in the documentary film.

Summary

Detailed and enjoyable, Joy Division is about a specific moment in music history and the band who captured the sound of the city. The DVD is well produced with some enlightening deleted footage.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Vanessa Appassamy (Biography)
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDOPPO DV-980H, using HDMI output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE 700. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationYamaha DSP-A595a - 5.1 DTS
Speakers(Front) DB Dynamics Polaris AC688F loudspeakers,(Centre) DB Dynamics Polaris Mk3 Model CC030,(Rear) Polaris Mk3 Model SSD425,(Subwoofer) Jensen JPS12

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