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A Bigger Splash [UK Release] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English LPCM 2.0 Mono (48kHz/16-bit)
  • Subtitles: English HOH
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Certification: 15
  • Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
  • Studio: BFI
  • Run Time: 105 Mins.
  • Blu-ray Release Date: January 23, 2012
  • RRP: £19.99

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B0068N16OW[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

From 1971 to 1973, filmmaker Jack Hazan gained unprecedented access to the inner circle of the already successful and widely known contemporary artist David Hockney. Rather than film a straightforward documentary about Hockney at the time, he opted for this docudrama in a “structured reality” that plays like a film from an alternate universe, but still allows a peek into the strange and creative world of this artistic genius.

Hockney at the time was going through a difficult period, having just ended a long-term relationship with fellow artist Peter Schlesinger, was facing the pressure of a big show in New York City, and the need to push through the creative wall and come up with something new and profound.

The film features appearances by a “cast” of “characters” from Hockney’s world, including fashion designer Celia Birtwell and her husband, fashion designer Ossie Clark. It uses a visual palette steeped in the art of Hockney to help to tell its “story” and to explore its subjects psyche.

Upon its release in England in 1974, A Bigger Splash caused a great deal of controversy for its unrestrained male nudity, male-on-male lovemaking, and exploration of homosexuality. It arrives again on Blu-ray, with far less shock appeal, coinciding with Hockney’s new 2012 exhibition at the Royal Academy.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Filmmaker Jack Hazan was personally involved in the restoration and transfer of this film to high definition, which was taken from a 35mm Color Reversal intermediate (CRI) element provided by Hazan himself. The overall appearance of the AVC encodement from the BFI is one that is rather heavily grained with some occasional moments of sparkles and specks with some minimal flicker. The grain looks natural for the most part, although in some spots it does look just a little rough. Colors don’t quite pop and contrast seems just a bit flat overall.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3/5]

The monaural soundtrack is provided in a LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit) track that is definitely limited by its source. There is very little dynamic range, obvious sibilant distortions, a lot of crackle in dialogue, very audible hiss from time to time, and even some loud pops that creep in.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

The supplements offer more looks into the life and works of Hockney as well as a typically informatice booklet from the BFI,

The supplements:

  • Love’s Presentation (1.33:1; 1080p/24; 00:24:56) – This short, in black and white, captures the creation of Hockney’s Cavafy Etchings.
  • Portrait of David Hockney (1.33:1; 1080p/24; 00:13:17) – This short follows Hockney relaxing at home and at work.
  • Original Trailer (1.85:1; 1080p/24)
  • Booklet: The booklet offers a lengthy essay on the film by John Wyver, a 1975 review by Phillip French originally featured in Sight and Sound, a bio on Jack Hazan, notes on the films, and  information on the transfers.
  • DVD – Standard DVD (PAL) is included in this dual format edition

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

An somewhat odd film with lots of merit that easily captures the wild and crazy pop art scene of the early 70s, A Bigger Splash itself stands as an art house gem that is exactly the sort of worthy film that BFI excels in bringing back into the public consciousness.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B0068N16OW[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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