Quiet Chaos (Caos Calmo) (2008)

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Released 4-Nov-2009

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2008
Running Time 105:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Antonello Grimaldi
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Nanni Moretti
Valeria Golino
Alessandro Gassman
Isabella Ferrari
Silvio Orlando
Blu Di Martino
Hippolyte Girardot
Roberto Nobile
Alba Rohrwacher
Manuela Morabito
Case ?
RPI $34.95 Music Paolo Buonvino


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English (Burned In) Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     In terms of accuracy Quiet Chaos(Caos Calmo), a recent Italian film from director Antonello Grimaldi, has a title that perfectly reflects the tone of the film. For the protagonist Pietro, played by actor/director Nanni Moretti, is in the eye of the storm, perfectly calm whilst the tempest rages about him.

     Pietro has reason to be anything but calm. He is a wealthy executive holidaying at the family beach house with his wife and young daughter Claudia (Blu Yoshimi). At the beach with his equally successful designer brother Carlo (Alessandro Gassman, Pietro sees two people in trouble offshore. He and his brother participate in a rescue, although the rescued aren't particularly grateful. Returning back to the beach house tragedy has struck and his wife lies died from a freak accident.

     Jump ahead some months and Pietro is coping surprisingly well. He is busy in his high profile job and his daughter seems to have accepted the loss. On her first day back at school after the tragedy Pietro gets a pang of guilt and spontaneously tells her that he will wait outside the school, all day, until she comes out. Then, surprising even himself, he keeps to his word.

     The following day he does the same, and then the next, until he becomes a fixture on the bench in the park, dining at a cafe there and generally occupying himself with his thoughts until the school day ends. Rather than becoming absorbed in his own grief, Pietro becomes a magnet for the troubles of others. At work there are merger talks afoot and his colleagues come to the park to tell him their deepest fears. These scenes resemble farce as Pietro comes to realize that the less he does the more useful he has become. His sister-in-law has her own problems with an unwanted pregnancy to a married man. Meanwhile the other denizens of the park - a Downs Syndrome boy and his mother, a beautiful young woman walking her dog and the nervous cafe owner - become entranced by the quiet presence in their midst. But will this vigil bring him to a deeper understanding of his grief and bring him closer to his daughter or will it eventually lead to the loss of his job?

     Director Antonello Grimaldi collaborated on the script for Quiet Chaos adapting the novel by Sandro Veronesi with, amongst others, Nanni Moretti.The latter has already plumbed the depths of grief in his own directed film The Son's Room. Where that film was an examination of the white hot intensity of loss this film is more a gentle, good humoured look at the human spirit. It benefits from this simplicity although the structure of the film is no naive work; it uses palindromes as a motif for a structure that often reflects itself like a Rorschach Test.

     Though it lacks anything much like a plot Quiet Chaos has a gentle but persuasive power to draw in the viewer, like the passers-by of the park bench. Moretti is a fine actor and he anchors this work with his dignified, thoughtful performance. Be warned that although the bulk of film could be watched with the family it contains a fairly graphic sex scene that, if the actress involved is to be believed, was un-simulated! There is also a surprising cameo from a well known director! Well worth a watch.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Ouch! The rear of the DVD case of this Madman Entertainment release states that this is a "Full Frame Original Ratio 4:3" release. That's incorrect for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the original aspect ratio of the film, according to IMDB, is 1.85:1. It is not a Full Frame transfer. Instead, this film has been transferred in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio except that it is letterboxed and not 16x9 enhanced. The DVD aspect ratio is 4:3. In 2010 a film that had some success on the festival circuit ought not to be released in this fashion.

     Apart from this obvious flaw the image quality is not too bad. The flesh tones are pretty accurate and there is little evidence of compression. The sharpness is understandably not what it should be and I noticed a few light artefacts. The colours are fine.

     There are subtitles in English which are burned into the print. This print was no doubt sourced from an Italian TV or airline movie as it also has Italian subtitles when the actors are speaking French. This can get a bit confusing when two sets of burned in subtitles appear on the screen. Fortunately this does not happen very often.

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

Audio

     The sound for Quiet Chaos is Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 running at 224Kb/s. This is perfectly acceptable for a film that consists mainly of dialogue. Still, a surround track would have been nice if only to get an idea of the sounds all around Pietro as he sits on the bench.

     The film appears to be in audio sync.

     The score, full of piano and strings, is by Paolo Buonvino and the director makes use of contemporary music at key scenes - witness Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk by Rufus Wainright, Your Ex-Lover Is Dead by Stars and Pyramid Song by Radiohead.

     An adequate soundtrack but nothing exceptional.

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

Extras

Theatrical Trailer

    This DVD contains only one extra, the theatrical trailer. It is a theatrical trailer.

R4 vs R1

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

     The UK Region 2 version of this film has significantly more extras (i.e. it actually has extras!). These are:

    It is also in the correct aspect ratio. If you love this film get someone to get it for you from the UK.

    My rudimentary French suggests that the Region 2 French version has a 5.1 surround track.

Summary

     Quiet Chaos is not a breast beating grief ridden spectacle but its charm lies in the oblique, thoughtful approach to the subject.

      The film is given short shrift on DVD by the poor aspect ratio choice. A surprising effort from the usually faithful Madman. I might have given this film a 4 overall but the lack of 16x9 enhancement brings it down a peg.

        There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Monday, September 06, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer SC-LX 81 7.1
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 7.1

Other Reviews NONE
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Um - NewcastleBoy (read my bio)