Vengo (2000)

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Released 12-Jun-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Musical Main Menu Audio & Animation
Theatrical Trailer
Deleted Scenes-5
Music Video
Trailer-Baaba Maal; Calle 54; The Circle; The Closet
Trailer-Divided We Fall; La Spagnola; Lumumba; Monsoon Wedding
Trailer-No Man's Land
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 85:02
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (63:04) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Tony Gatlif
Studio
Distributor
Princes Films
Madman Entertainment
Starring Antonio Canales
Orestes Villasan Rodriguez
Antonio Perez Dechent
Bobote
Juan Luis Corrientes
Fernando Guerrero Rebollo
Francisco Chavero Rios
Case Click
RPI $34.95 Music Tony Gatlif


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Auto Pan & Scan Encoded Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish dts 5.1 (1536Kb/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 Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Vengo is a Spanish word meaning 'I come' or 'to come' or something close to that anyway. If the title means what I believe it does in relation to the film then it is a very clever but somewhat dark choice. Filmed on the Andalusian plains in Spain, it is a story about two Gypsy families in the middle of a blood feud.

    There are three aspects to this film. Firstly, the music, which is of course Spanish. Guitars are played in the Spanish style, as is the singing. The second aspect is the flamenco dancing; beautiful to watch and very erotic/sensual. The music and the dancing play an important role in the film as well as showing us a culture that is not often seen in Australia. The film will focus on the music or dancing to the exclusion of all else for anything up to ten minutes - this does not detract from the film but would never be seen in a film from our culture. The artists performing the music are internationally recognised stars in their field.

    The final aspect is the story itself, a thread woven through the music and culture that is portrayed. There are two Gypsy families, and the feud between them arises from blood. The Caravacas are after revenge because one of their number has been killed. These families may be living in the 21st century but they are steeped in thousands of years of tradition. The other family, the focus of our story, is headed up by Caco. It is his brother that murdered the other man and is now in hiding far away. Caco is a deeply troubled man, a man with a deep sorrow on his soul. We learn that he has lost his only daughter, his only child. He transfers the affection that he felt for his lost daughter to his nephew, a young retarded man. The Caravacas are out for revenge and as they cannot locate the man they want, they focus instead on his son, Caco's nephew. Caco, as head of the family, must find a solution to this problem before it is too late.

    While many may understand the decision that Caco finally reaches there is one group that will find that this story touches a chord deep within them. Death at anytime is a sorrowful thing, but the death of a child is something thankfully few will fully understand. A parent's bond with a child is a deep and varied thing; you see the child and all your hopes for their future. You plan and dream of times that you will spend with the child - the learning, watching them grow up, the laughter, the love. A bright star in the future, when this is cut short, when you hold a dead child in your arms, the world becomes a very dark place. Although the child will live forever in your heart, part of you dies with the child. Caco's situation is compounded by the fact that his daughter was his only child.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented at its original 2.35:1 ratio and is 16x9 enhanced. There are two bad edits in the film, one at 47:34, the other at the end where they have looped the car driving at night footage.

    Unfortunately the image is not very sharp and the depth of field is also very shallow at times, and though this might be intentional it is not helped by a large portion of the screen being assigned as 'background' by the MPEG encoder and thus losing further resolution. The blacks are quite good as is the shadow detail. There is a very small amount of background noise present.

    Colours are very muted throughout the film although the skin tones are accurate.

    The foreground of the transfer is free of MPEG artefacts though there are some minor problems in the background such as the tree in the background at 24:11. There is also some minor aliasing visible in some scenes, the clearest example being on the violin strings at 2:24. The film master is in very good condition with almost no flecks or marks. There is some minor grain but this is well and truly in the background.

    The English subtitles are essential as this film is in Spanish - they are turned on by default. Single lines appear in the black area below the 2.35:1 active area; multiple lines appear over the film. I cannot attest to their accuracy but they are easy to read.

    There is a layer change as this is a dual layered disc, but on my system it is invisible.

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

Audio

    There is a surprise on this disc; a DTS 5.1 soundtrack. There is also a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Both are in Spanish. I found the Dolby Digital soundtrack a little flat when compared to the DTS track, particularly in the musical sections. I listened to the DTS track right through and sampled the Dolby Digital.

    Dialogue quality is hard to judge when you do not speak the language, it seemed to be good. The voices were not drowned out at any stage.

    Audio sync is good for the majority of the film but there were a couple of scenes that seemed to have a slight problem that I could not exactly pin down.

    The music is fascinating. It is Spanish. music with an Arabic influence at times. It is a real treat to step outside your normal culture and see and hear another culture, another way of life. The music is an integral part of their culture and as such becomes an integral part of the film.

    The surrounds are used for ambience. It is not just fake generated echo, but appears to be a real separate soundtrack. While they do little other than add ambience (there are no split effects), it does help to draw you into the film.

    The subwoofer had very little to do in this film.

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

Extras

Menu

    A simple but interesting animated menu with a close up of a guitar in the background. The menu is accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack and the loop runs for 66 second. The scene selection menu has only a text heading for each selection - there are no pictures.

Theatrical Trailer (2:00)

    Presented at 2.35:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, the trailer appears to have come from the French cinema. There are burnt in subtitles that I think are in French and a placard at the end saying 4th October Release also in French. It is in reasonable condition and is a good representation of the film.

Deleted Scenes (12:56)

    Presented at 2.35:1 letterboxed, these have frame numbers and other information in the black bars above and below. There are a total of five scenes to select from but they follow on from one another from your selection point. The running time is common for all, giving a total running time of 12:56. They are accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack that is in Spanish. Unfortunately, there are no subtitles. This makes it hard to judge why they were deleted or just where they belong in the film. They are not in great condition and are quite blurred.

Music Video (3:34)

    Presented at 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. One of the stars of the music from the film singing in Spanish with 2.35:1 and 1.33:1 inserts from the film.

Madman Trailers

    or as they call it, Propaganda. There are nine trailers for other films released by Madman:

R4 vs R1

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

    There does not appear to be a Region 1 version of this disc at this time, nor a release in any other English speaking country.

Summary

    The pacing of Vengo, the music and the culture are all out of the norm for regular Australian viewers. That aside, this is a brilliantly acted film with a story that will show you something outside your everyday boundaries. It was the winner of a Best Music Written for a Film (Meilleure musique) award at the César Awards, France; winner of a Special Prize of the Jury at the Istanbul International Film Festival and was nominated for Outstanding Foreign Film at the American Latino Media Arts Awards.

    The video is not as sharp as it should be.

    The DTS audio is sharp and clear.

    Some of the extras are difficult to understand in Spanish.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Terry McCracken (read my bio)
Sunday, October 13, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDSkyworth 1050p progressive scan, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252q CRT Projector, Screen Technics matte white screen 16:9 (223cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.
AmplificationSony STR-DB1070
SpeakersB&W DM305 (mains); CC3 (centre); S100 (surrounds); custom Adire Audio Tempest with Redgum plate amp (subwoofer)

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