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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.85:1 Widescreen
  • Spanish PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • New interview with filmmaker Andrťs di Tella about Martel and the film
  • Trailer

La Cienaga

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Lucrecia Martel
2001 | 102 Minutes | Licensor: Lisa Stantic Producciones S.A.

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $39.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #743
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Release Date: January 27, 2015
Review Date: January 25, 2015

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SYNOPSIS

The release of Lucrecia Martel's La Ciťnaga heralded the arrival of an astonishingly vital and original voice in Argentine cinema. With a radical take on narrative, disturbing yet beautiful cinematography, and a highly sophisticated use of on- and offscreen sound, Martel turns her tale of a decaying bourgeois family, whiling away the hours of one sweaty, sticky summer, into a cinematic marvel. This visceral take on class, nature, sexuality, and the ways political turmoil and social stagnation can manifest in human relationships is a drama of amazing tactility and one of the great contemporary film debuts.

Discuss the film and Blu-ray here   


PICTURE

Lucrecia Martelís La Ciťnaga receives a new Criterion Blu-ray, which presents the film with a new 1080p/24hz high-definition digital transfer in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on a dual-layer disc. The new master has been created from a 4K scan of the original film negative.

The film has been beautifully restored, looking lively and vibrant, somewhat surprising considering the gloom (both visually and figuratively) that hangs over the film. The greens and reds of the film pop out nicely, while all other colours are nicely rendered. Black levels are fairly deep and pleasantly balanced, with dark scenes delivering distinguishable shadow details. I also donít recall any print damage being present, not even a spec.

The digital transfer itself also looks pleasing. Detail levels are fairly extraordinary, textures looking particularly wonderful, and the fine details are clearly defined even in long shots. The filmís grain is nicely rendered, though can look a bit odd in areas of the screen at times: it can look a bit pixilated and unnatural here and there, but itís thankfully the exception rather than the rule, and honestly youíll probably only notice it if youíre actively looking for it.

Despite any slight issues itís still a wonderful looking presentation, sharp and attractively rendered.

8/10

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 sound design to the film is astounding, every little detail, from ice cubes clinking to a looming storm (that never comes or goes away), seeming to be captured and brought to the forefront, and the DTS-HD MA 2.0 surround track that delivers the filmís audio is just about perfect. Though the rear speakers work together the soundfield is still nicely spaced out with effects moving perfectly from the fronts to the rears and moving around the viewer. A lot of sound effects, even the smaller ones like those ice cubes, manage to surround the viewer and are delivered in a crystal clear manner.

Audio quality is superb, sounding crisp and clean, with fantastic fidelity, range, and volume levels. Itís a very lively sounding film and the trackís delivery of it is superb.

8/10

SUPPLEMENTS

We get a disappointingly small roster of material here, starting with an 18-minute interview/essay with/by director Lucretia Martel. Iíll admit to being somewhat lost as to what sheís trying to say or accomplish here. Itís a smattering of her thoughts on constructing a film, more how to immerse a viewer. Ultimately it comes down to sound, and here she talks about developing a sound design not entirely grounded in reality, but she does so in a very cryptic way, ironically using an image (that of a toy dog in water) to more or less convey her use of sound. The featureís best aspect may be when Martel talks about first getting into film, which began when she received a video camera from her father, and we even get to see clips from a film she made at a young age. I wasnít overly fond of the feature as a whole but thereís a few gems to be found in here.

A little better, adding some context to the film while also giving a general crash course on Argentinian cinema, is an interview with film scholar Andres di Tella. Di Tella gets more into the politics of the country over the span of decades, and how it played in influencing the filmmakers of Martelís generation, and then briefly touches on Argentinaís economic collapse during the late 90s/early 2000s. He also talks about Martelís work and offers some insights into this film, giving a decent scholarly slant to the release. It runs about 24-minutes.

The disc then closes with a theatrical trailer. An insert is also included, featuring an essay by David OubiŮa, who gets into more detail about the filmís style and use of sound, pointing out how the film actually uses a lot of horror film conventions to tell its story.

Though di Tellaís interview and the essay do a decent job examining the film and Martelís work, the release still feels sadly light.

4/10

CLOSING

The supplements leave a bit to be desired, but the audio and video presentations are both strong.


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