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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.33:1 Standard
  • Bengali Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • Bengali PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 3 Discs
FEATURES
  • Introduction by Martin Scorsese
  • Interview with filmmaker Kumar Shahani

A River Called Titas

Dual-Format Edition
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Ritwik Ghatak
1973 | 156 Minutes | Licensor: World Cinema Project

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $124.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #687
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: December 10, 2013
Review Date: December 25, 2013

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SYNOPSIS

The Bengali filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak's stunningly beautiful, elegiac saga concerns the tumultuous lives of people in fishing villages along the banks of the Titas River in pre-Partition East Bengal. Focusing on the tragic intertwining fates of a series of fascinating characters-in particular, the indomitable widow Basanti-Ghatak tells the poignant story of an entire community's vanishing way of life. Made soon after Bangladesh became an independent nation, the elliptical, painterly A River Called Titas is a grand epic from a director who has had a devoted following for decades.

Discuss the film and Blu-ray here   


PICTURE

Ritwik Ghatakís A River Called Titas is the third film featured in Criterionís first World Cinema Project box set. The film is presented in this dual-format release in its original aspect ratio of approximately 1.37:1. The high-definition transfer is in 1080p/24hz and shares the same dual-layer Blu-ray disc as Dry Summer. The standard-definition version is delivered on its own dual-layer DVD. The image has not been window-boxed.

Titas provides one of the more problematic presentations. Though not nearly as tattered as the print used for Redes, the multiple sources used for this restoration (the original negative, a fine-grain master, a couple of positives) have all seen better days. Vertical scratches are fairly rampant throughout, along with other knicks and bits of debris. There are some shifts and jitter, and evidence of mold and other stains, as well a faded, worn look that occurs a lot through the latter half of the film. Grain is present and can get fairly heavy, though looks mostly natural (there are a few times in darker areas of the frame that look more like digital noise.)

The high-def transfer delivers the film as best it can. Sharpness can vary substantially throughout but it appears any issues of softness are in the source itself. Otherwise, at its best, the image delivers a substantial amount of detail and depth. As mentioned previously noise can be a bit of an issue in places, but I didnít detect any other artifacts.

The DVDís standard-definition transfer uses the same master but comes off noticeably noisier in comparison to the Blu-ray version. I also detected some halos around objects that I donít recall being visible in the Blu-rayís transfer.

There are some limitations in the source but in the end itís a solid presentation, with a transfer that adequately represents the source materials as best it can.

7/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

The mono track, presented in 1.0 lossless linear PCM on the Blu-ray and Dolby Digital 1.0 on the DVD, is also limited by the source materials. It sounds as though most dialogue may have been recorded over in post-production, and that lends a detached feel. The track is also tinny and hollow, with no fidelity or depth, and it also has a faint hiss.

5/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Like the other films in the box set, A River Called Titas first comes with an interview with Martin Scorsese where the director talks about Indian cinema, the film, and Ghatak for less than 3-minutes. Filmmaker Kumar Shahani then offers a 16-minute interview where he talks about Ghatakís brief career and work while offering a decent analysis of Titas. Not a wholly satisfying collection of features unfortunately, but there are some fine insights into the film found between both interviews.

4/10

CLOSING

Possibly the weakest disc(s) in the set, Titas still delivers as strong a transfer as it can, yet, like the other titles in the set, it still leaves a lot to be desired in supplemental material.


View packaging for this Blu-ray

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