Viva L’Italia Blu Ray Review

Rossellini favourite film comes to Blu Ray for the first time and we are underwhelmed. 100 years of the unified Italian state lead to the creation of this film. Celebrating the life of national unifying force and hero Garibaldi, who took the lead in fighting for Italy. Its 1860 and Italy is spilt into 5 states. When the Sicilian state quashes a rebellion against it, Giuseppe Garibaldi takes a military force known as the Expedition of the Thousand and fights back. He leads a military campaign to support the rebellion and ends up unifying the nation.

Rossellini adored this film. He had said this was his self proclaimed ‘favourite film’. Now, that might have been a mixture of political desire and personal obsession. However it underlines the reverence he felt toward his national emblem. Gone is the magnetic moments that rupture from harsh reality in his Neo Realism work. Now we have instead captured histrionics. We have no depth of feeling and artifice. Instead we have more measured performances that feel on occasion heavy. Gone is the real settings and how they were wonderfully captured. Now we have sharp and tailored cinematography that sufficiently constructs events but does not stand to be impassioned. You feel it is an experience in capturing history but not the emotional or environmental reality. Quantifying this is easy. Simply see how ROME,OPEN CITY reveals itself to the audience. None of that is here, mores the pity.

The disc from Arrow is excellent. The big things are the 2K restoration that has reinvigorated the film from its substandard DVD release. The alternative cut must be ignored. Its awfully dull and lacks definition, though the film is across both not one that excels expectation.

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS

 

  • Brand new 2K restoration from the original negative
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original Italian mono soundtracks with optional English subtitles
  • Garibaldi, an alternate shorter cut of the film originally prepared for the US market
  • Brand-new interview with Roberto Rossellini s assistant on the film, Ruggero Deodato, recorded exclusively for this release
  • “I Am Garibaldi”, a brand-new visual essay by Tag Gallagher, author of The Adventures of Roberto Rossellini: His Life and Films
  • Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips
  • FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector s booklet containing new writing on the film by filmmaker and critic Michael Pattison

 

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