Lost Times (Utolso idok) (2009)

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Released 15-Apr-2011

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Gallery-Photo
More…-Soundtrack
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 89:06
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (54:59) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Áron Mátyássy
Studio
Distributor
Gryphon Entertainment Starring József Kádas
Teréz Vass
Mariann Szalay
Attila Géza László
Eszter Földes
Csaba Czene
József Varga
Mari Csomós
Zoltán Géczi
Zoltán Újvári
Andor Lukáts
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $24.95 Music Albert Márkos


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/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
Hungarian
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     It is June 1997 in a small, dead end village in eastern Hungary near the Ukrainian border. Ivan (Jozsef Kadas) is a part time mechanic who has cared for his autistic sister Eszter (Terez Vass) since their mother died almost two years ago. He augments his meagre earnings by smuggling fuel across the border and has dreams of making money when the new road being surveyed comes past the village. He has a physical relationship with café/bar owner Lena (Mariann Szalay) but develops a love for student Ilus (Eszter Foldes) that is reciprocated.

     Ivan’s world changes when Eszter is brutally raped in the woods; she suffers two broken ribs and a bruised face and is so traumatised that she is unable to speak to the police or her brother. The police, however, are more concerned with Ivan’s smuggling activities than in solving the rape, which puts some unwanted pressure on Ivan’s criminal contacts. With his sister not speaking and the police watching his movements, Ivan becomes even more remote and isolated when Ilus accepts a place in college and moves away from the village. When Ivan accidentally discovers evidence pointing to the identity of Eszter’s rapists, distrusting the police he elects to take matters into his own hands.

     Lost Times (Utolso idok) is a Hungarian film from writer / director Aron Matyassy that works on a number of levels. The sets, including many run down buildings that have clearly seen better days, evoke life in a village at the end of the line, but the film is not really a depiction of village life, as we see little of the village, or the people, other than the café / bar, Police Station or hospital. Instead the film centres firmly on the struggles of Ivan and Eszter, where it is well served as both Jozsef Kadas and Terez Vass give realistic, low key performances. The images of the Hungarian country side, courtesy of cinematographer Mate Herbai, are lushly imbued with a sun drenched golden yellow/brown glow that provides a counterpoint for the inner darkness of some of the characters, although I could have done without many of the jerky, queasy, handheld camera shots. Some of these, such as during the (unseen) rape of Eszter, are clearly intended to show her sense of disorientation and distress, and this is fair enough, but the jerkiness is pointless and overdone in other sequences. The film’s other plus, however, is the electronic jazz based score by Albert Markos with vocalist Veronika Harcsa, which is haunting and very effective.

     Lost Times is a powerful film that builds its plot and characters slowly and surely, leading to an inevitable conclusion. But while we certainly do see the resolution coming, the journey is a tense and interesting one, based on good acting, luscious visuals and a haunting score

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Lost Times is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, the original theatrical ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     This is generally a good looking print. Colours are lush but not garish, with the yellows and browns of the waving grasses and the greens of the trees dominating. Detail is clean and crisp and brightness and contrast consistent. Blacks are solid black, but in night scenes shadow detail varies; sometimes it is fine yet on other occasions it is difficult to see what is happening. Film grain is evident, especially in some interiors, and other than the very occasional dirt mark, I saw no artefacts.

     English subtitles are in a white font. While my Hungarian is non-existent, to my eye it looked as if some of the timing of the subtitles and dialogue was slightly off. I noticed no obvious spelling or grammatical errors.

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

Audio

     Audio is a choice between Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps and Hungarian Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 Kbps. There is also the film’s soundtrack available on the DVD; this is a LPCM 2.0 audio at 1536 Kbps.

     The 5.1 is a nice, enveloping audio track. Dialogue is clear and centred and the surrounds used constantly for wind, rain and countryside sounds, plus the music. I did not really notice any panning effects. The subwoofer is lightly used. The impressive score by Albert Markos is well represented in the surround mix. The 2.0 track is surround encoded. From the portion I sampled it sounded fine, although it appeared slightly more strident, with less separation.

     Lip synchronisation was fine.

     The layer change at 54:59 occurred at a scene change and resulted in a slight pause.

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

Extras

Soundtrack

     The film’s soundtrack by Albert Markos and Veronika Harcsa won Best Original Music at the 40th Hungarian Film Week Awards. This extra is not the isolated film music score but the soundtrack “album”. It comprises of 14 tracks, total running time 27:24, featuring the vocals of Veronika Harcsa, mainly in English, the Smarton Trio + 1 and violinist Agnes De Coll. It can be selected from the menu and plays accompanied by stills of the performers’ recording session. It is well worth a listen independently of the film as it contains some excellent tracks.

Photo Gallery

     Behind the scenes colour photographs advance automatically with the music score playing. Nicely done: total time for the slideshow is 2:07.

R4 vs R1

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

     I currently cannot find a record of a release of the film in another region.

Summary

     Lost Times is a powerful film that builds its plot and characters slowly and surely, based on good acting, luscious visuals and a haunting score

     The DVD comes with good video and audio. The score is a nice extra, and well worth a listen.

     Lost Times is available as a standalone DVD or is included in the three disc set Crime and Punishment, an interesting set of European cinema from Gryphon that also includes Dealer (2004) and A Somewhat Gentle Man (2010).

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42inch Hi-Def LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE
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