Silent Light (Stellet licht) (2007)

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Released 26-Aug-2009

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Art Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2007
Running Time 130:11
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (75:00) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Carlos Reygadas
Studio
Distributor
Kojo Pictures
Gryphon Entertainment
Starring Cornelio Wall
Maria Pankratz
Miriam Toews
Peter Wall
Jacobo Klassen
Elizabeth Fehr
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Johan (Cornelio Wall) is a Mennonite (think pacifist Christians who are a step more progressive than the Amish) in Northern Mexico, who farms and looks after his sizeable family. He is having an affair with another Mennonite lass, Esther (Miriam Toews). Being a good Christian, he tells his wife Marianne (Maria Pankratz) about how the devil is testing him with his love for another woman. She isn't happy, but can't do anything much about it because of her pacifist beliefs.

    That's just about the entire story, aside from a slight twist of weirdness towards its conclusion. Most flicks would struggle to pull half an hour's screen time from that story, but Silent Light successfully draws it for 130-odd minutes. How? To quote a classic Aussie flick, It's all about the vibe. Wrapping together stunning photography (the showpiece being 6 minute-plus sunrise and sunset shots) and bizarrely stoic acting (whereby every line is delivered by a character staring into the distance and talking their line out in a single shot, showing no emotion), the film rolls on at a languid pace to create a mesmerising effect. This is the sort of art-film that is guaranteed to do every stoner's head in when it pops up late one night on SBS. The sort of storytelling David Lynch would be proud of. Perhaps director Carlos Reygadas saw The Straight Story and regarded it as a challenge?

    Silent Light won the jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007 (shared with Persepolis), and it is easy to see why. It is the type of movie that you experience rather than watch and nearly every scene is a visual feast. That said, it isn't the sort of experience that would survive repeated viewing or appeal to anyone looking for a story (the story is certainly conventional enough for anyone to follow, but so sparse that anyone who doesn't know what they are getting themselves into will be quickly lost). Cinephiles will love this one, but regular folks beware.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The video on offer is stunning. It is clear and sharp. The colour is bold and displays a stunning depth in its palette. The video features excellent shadow detail and a rich depth to its dark colours.

    A handful of fine dust flecks are present on the print late in the film, but otherwise the image is clean. There is no sign of compression artefacts or other video nasties.

    The film features bold white English subtitles that offer a well timed and seemingly accurate translation of the original Spanish/German audio.

    This is a RSDL disc with a layer break occurring seamlessly in-between scenes at the 75:00 minute mark.

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

Audio

    The film features a single Spanish/German Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track.

    The audio is clear and clean, but very basic. It makes no use of the surrounds and only features a modest degree of bottom end low enough to reach the subwoofer. In many ways, this is rather unfortunate as an immersive audio mix would have really complemented the stunning visuals of the film.

    The dialogue is easily discernable and appears to be well synchronised to the video.

    The film features no score. In fact it features no music at all, save for a single tune heard on the radio that is used rather obviously to highlight the general absence of music otherwise.

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

Extras

    The disc opens with an anti-piracy clip that cannot be skipped and several trailers for other releases that can be skipped.

Trailer

    The lone extra here is a rather dull theatrical trailer for the film.

R4 vs R1

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

    There have been a two releases of Silent Light in Region 1 - a Canadian release that was widely imported to the US and very recently an official US release. Neither version featured any extras, like the Region 4 release, however the earlier Canadian release included French subtitles. Otherwise, the only difference between the versions is PAL/NTSC formatting.

Summary

    A bizarrely beautiful art film for cinephiles to love and everyone else to scratch their heads at.

    The video on offer is stunning. The audio is fine, aside from being a rather stark stereo mix. The extras are non-existent.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
Display Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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