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After the fall of Napoleon, the Restoration begins. Fulvio (Marcello Mastroianni, La dolce vita), an aristocrat who has dedicated his life to the revolution has become disillusioned and his cowardice keeps him from joining his comrades. As he struggles to manage his evasion and lies he gets swept up in a suicidal uprising in Southern Italy. Stunningly photographed with lush period detail and featuring the Taviani brothers' trademark magic realism and absurdist irony, Allonsanfàn has Mastroianni on top form as the reluctant insurgent and one of Ennio Morricone’s finest scores. Radiance Films is proud to present this essential film on Blu-ray for the first time in the world.

Picture 9/10

Radiance Films presents Vittorio and Paolo Taviani’s Allonsanfàn on Blu-ray in its original aspect ratio of 1.66:1 on a dual-layer disc. The 1080p/24hz high-definition presentation is sourced from a new 2K restoration performed by Surf Film.

To my knowledge, the film has never received a home video release in North America, marking this Blu-ray as its debut. And what a debut it is! The restoration work has been exhaustive, clearing out just about all signs of print damage (outside of a few specs here and there), while the encode itself does a sensational job outputting the finer details right down to face stubble. I was especially thrilled by how well the film’s very fine grain is rendered, which always maintains a natural and clean-looking consistency, even in darker scenes.

If it falters in one area, it is those same darker sequences that do present some black crush, which gets particularly brutal in a couple of places. Black levels are otherwise solid, and colors can be pretty vibrant when given a chance. Reds look great, but the film also features sharp greens and yellows, including tints and filters over the image (this is touched on in the included commentary).

Slight issues aside, this looks wonderful, and it’s a stunning way to see the film for the first time.

Audio 6/10

The film’s Italian soundtrack (presented in dual-channel PCM mono) feels to be a bit limited by its materials but gets the job done. Ennio Morricone’s score is narrow in range but is at least clean and clear, while dialogue has that flat, “dubbed” sound. Yet the track is clean and clear, free of heavy distortion and damage.

Extras 8/10

I assume Radiance figures the film will have limited appeal, and as such, the title is only receiving a limited single-run with only a couple of supplements. Happily, both supplements are substantial ones, especially the comprehensive audio commentary recorded by critic Michael Brooke. Brooke packs in a lot of material, covering the film from every possible angle, from its production to its release and illusive nature since, at least in North America. The backstory to the film proves interesting, with Brooke bringing up early incarnations (it would have been an entirely different film if Gian Maria Volente starred as the brothers initially planned). He also offers some historical context by covering the period depicted in the movie, making sure to point out it is inaccurate “by design” while also bringing up the political climate at the time of the film’s release. This all leads to a discussion of the film’s themes and characters, particularly the film’s “contemptible” protagonist. And to that, he talks a little about Mastroianni in the role, purposely avoiding simply listing his background, giving us, the audience, credit we already know who he is, and instead sticking to explaining why his casting is perfect. He then offers some background on the directors and their previous films and how their style translates here, down to how color is used.

He seems determined to cover everything he can in the allotted time, which may explain why it can feel like he’s speed-running through here and there, barely catching his breath. Yet it’s a hell of a track that thoroughly explores the film.

It would have been perfectly okay if nothing else was included, yet Radiance still digs up an archival audio discussion from 1966 between Gideon Bachmann and directors Paolo Taviani, Florestano Vancini, Nelo Rosi, Anna Gobi, and a sixth individual listed in the subtitles as Unknown. Presented raw, the 57-minute segment is a little frustrating in presentation, simply offering audio over a black screen with subtitles translating the Italian. I’m not sure how else it could have been presented (maybe pictures of who is talking at any given time?), but it’s thankfully a fascinating and very in-depth discussion. There is some initial confusion around the first question Bachmann asks (which I think was whether there was a concerted effort by Italian directors to address social and political issues), but this does lead to the group talking about social messages in their films and their duties as filmmakers, the group bringing up their work and the work of their peers not present (including Pier Paolo Pasolini’s The Hawks and the Sparrows). Still, economics also plays into it, as they still need people to want to see their films.

The conversation expands into other areas, including how Italian cinema has evolved and how filmmakers have tackled social issues and ideologies. There is also a rather amusing section when the group starts getting into the effects of television, which leads to a discussion around the idea that there may be a day when audiences will be able to watch any film they want at home through a “private cinema machine,” which the unknown participant dismisses as “science fiction” (though to be fair, it’s more that it’s out of the realm of their discussion). Again, the presentation is about as bland as can be, but thankfully, the content should keep one's interest.

The edition then closes with the film’s original trailer and a 27-page booklet. The booklet first presents an essay on the movie by Robert Lumley, followed by the reprint of a 1975 interview with the brothers conducted by Andrée Tournés.

It may not look like much on paper, but the content is about as comprehensive as one could hope.


The illusive film receives an incredible new Blu-ray edition featuring a sharp digital presentation and a small batch of terrific supplements—a wonderfully assembled package.


Year: 1974
Time: 115 min.
Series: Radiance Films
Edition #: 44
Licensor: Surf Film S.r.l.
Release Date: February 26 2024
MSRP: £17.99
1 Disc | BD-50
1.85:1 ratio
Italian 2.0 DTS-HD MA Mono
Subtitles: English
Regions A/B
 Audio commentary by critic Michael Brooke   Archival interview with the Taviani brothers by critic Gideon Bachmann in which they discuss filmmaking approaches, the role of the director, the future of cinema and more (57 mins)   Original trailer   Limited edition booklet featuring new writing by Italian cinema expert Robert Lumley and a newly translated contemporary interview with the Taviani brothers