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Excellent blu-ray release (but with one caveat)
on 14 December 2014
This review is of the new Artificial Eye blu-ray release, although I should point out that I rate the film itself as an astonishing piece of work and an unreserved five stars. This is one of the very rare cases where a blu-ray could be said to look *too* good. Breaking The Waves was originally shot on film, transferred to video and then back to film, which gave a characteristic low-res, washed-out effect. From what I can see, the HD transfer here has been taken directly from the source film - although some of the indoor scenes are very grainy, the transfer is sharp with a natural film look, and the tell-tale pre-HD video conversion artifacts are completely absent. The colours are still muted, which I assume has been achieved via digital grading. The transfer is also free from dirt and scratches which were present in the original Pathe DVD release. Whether Artificial Eye should have retained the intermediate video stage is debatable - the degradation of picture quality would certainly have been far more pronounced in HD. Personally I prefer the "straight" transfer used here. For a comparison, the deleted scenes appear to have been taken from a print with the original video conversion, as does the Pathe DVD. The HD transfer is 1080p 24fps, and features a DTS-MA 5.1 audio track. The blu-ray has some interesting extras including the aforementioned deleted scenes, commentaries and an Emily Watson screen test.