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Stunning new blu-ray from Masters of Cinema
on 6 October 2012
I've just finished watching the film for the first time in twenty odd years and if anything it's better than I remember. It looks wonderfully filmy on this excellent new HD transfer from MoC. The imagery is quite stunning, although the hand-held widescreen camerawork may come as a surprise to those not familiar with Pasolini's production techniques. There's plenty of good filmic texture and I'd love to see it on a much larger screen.
So, a very worth while package form MoC. The booklet is packed with essays and interviews with the director but there's only a trailer extra on disc [which has been the case with their recent Pasolini DVD releases].
I've neither read nor seen the play, but we all have a sense of the general gist. However, Pasolini applies his own twist to the narrative by book-ending it with modern-day sequences. The birth of the child in the 1920's being an accepted allusion to Pasolini's own birth. I find the modern sequences both cinematically astonishing and very moving, but not everyone would agree judging by some of the old reviews. One calls it a B movie, what an idiot. Neither is the film ponderous.
With the book-ending device Pasolini is able to draw together the beginning and the end, closing the circle, which has been visibly describe by the panning shots of the tree tops as observed by the baby at the beginning. A fascinating personal approach to the story, with extraordinary costumes and North African landscapes, makes this a classic of auteur 60's cinema.