Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 26th, 2005
Theatrical Release Dates: Italy, October 25th, 1968 (Partner), West Germany, June 1969 (His Day of Glory)
Directors: Bernardo Bertolucci (Partner), Edoardo Bruno (His Day of Glory)
Writers: Gianni Amico, Bernardo Bertolucci (Partner),
Cast: Pierre Clémenti, Tina Aumont, Stefania Sandrelli, Sergio Tofano (Partner), Pierre Clémenti, Philippe Leroy (His Day of Glory)
DVD Released: October 25th, 2005
Approximate Running Times: 108 minutes (Partner), 83 minutes (His Day of Glory)
Aspect Ratios: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen (Partner), 1.37:1 Full Frame (His Day of Glory)
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Italian
DVD Release: No Shame
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
“I accept all interpretations of my films. The only reality is before the camera. Each film I make is kind of a return to poetry for me, or at least an attempt to create a poem.” - Bernardo Bertolucci
Partner: Giacobbe (Pierre Clémenti) is tried of his lonely existence and at the exact moment he decides to commits suicide he conjures up his exact double. Giacobbe’s doppelganger demands a stronger commitment from him while Giacobbe is more preoccupied with Clara the daughter of his colleagues who he has fallen madly in love with. Can Giacobbe and his alter ego be able to co-exist or will his love for Clara force a wedge between the two that could cause irreparable damage?
Partner made more then thirty years before Fight Club explores an eerily similar theme about self identity. Partner was based on Fyodor Dostoyevsky novel The Double and the visual style of the film bears a strong resemblance to the French new wave filmmakers of the time most notably the cinema of Jean-Luc Godard. Bernardo Bertolucci direction in the film is some of his most acrobatic and inventive of his career as his constantly uses crane and dolly shots. The in camera special effects shots involving Giacobbe and his doppelganger hold up well. Pierre Clémenti performance as Giacobbe and his alter ego is an amazing Tour De Force as he teeters on the edge of insanity through out.
My two favorite moments in this film are one involving Giacobbe who is out on a date with Clara. They sit in a parked car and Giacobbe has his butler who is driving act like he is driving by making sounds with his mouth. In the back set Clara is being degraded by Giacobbe who is making her do disgusting things and he calls her names. I found this scene to be quite disturbing and after this scene I had lost any sympathy that I had for the Giacobbe character. Another stand out moment that starts out innocent enough involves a girl that Giacobbe has just meet playfully play in suds from the laundry detergent that are overflowing all over the floor. What starts out so sweet ends so bitterly! Ennio Morricone who wrote the score for Partner offers up a schizophrenic cacophony of sounds that perfectly capture Giacobbe’s moods. Overall Partner is the direct opposite of the style of films that most identify Bernardo Bertolucci with as he would move away from his more avant-garde experiments into more personal character driven pieces that often deal with sexuality.
His Day of Glory: A group of cops in riot gear drive around in their jeep looking for revolutionaries and when they find them they execute them on the spot. Richard, Claude and Marguerite are three friends who friendship will be tested when one of them turns into an informer who sells the other two out to save their skin.
His Day of Glory has a lose plot at best as it spends most of the film discussing talking about revolution and revolting against the establishment. The film opens with a scene from Partner that is about three minutes in length. The middle section of the film is lacks the liner structure the rest of the film has. Edoardo Bruno is a film critic who directed his one on film His Day of Glory with a lot style and vivid imagery. Despite the low budget nature of this film the director was able to convey so much with so little. Upon the films completion besides making an appearance in the 1969 Berlin International Film Festival the film would only receive a very limited theatrical run in Italy before disappearing for nearly forty years. There are many interesting themes are explored in this that ad to its appeal, still for most viewers will feel out of touch this film since it is heavily rooted in time and era that have long since left the popular culture landscape. Overall His Day of Glory makes a nice companion piece to Bernardo Bertolucci’s Partner.
No Shame presents Partner in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. This high definition transfer has been sourced from the original vault interpositive and it is available for the first time ever in the U.S. on DVD in its original aspect ratio and uncut. This progressive scan transfer has a vivid color palette and flesh tones look natural. Black levels are solid and the image remains sharp and stable through out. There are no problems with compression or artifacts and outside of an occasional spec of dirt this transfer is virtually immaculate.
Partner comes with one audio option this films original Italian language track which is presented in a Dolby Digital mono. Dialog is clear and never distorted. Ennio Morricone’s score perfectly blends in with the rest of the mix. There are no problems with any distortion and besides a few minor instances of hiss this audio mix sounds reasonable good considering its age and mono limitations. Removable English subtitles that are easy to read and follow have been included.
The second feature included with this release His Day of Glory is presented in full frame aspect ratio that preserves the directors intended 1.37:1 aspect ratio. The opening of the film contains a scene from Bernardo Bertolucci’s Partner and this is the only part of the film that is partially letterboxed. This release of His Day of Glory marks the films first ever home video release anywhere in the world. This opening segment from Partner is also the roughest looking footage in the film and after the films opening credits the image look more stable. There is noticeable print damage in the form of nicks and scratches through out. Despite some of its flaws this transfers is a lot cleaner then I thought it would be and the image though soft at times is retains a lot of detail. This transfer is progressive can. Overall considering just how rare His Day of Glory is I would say that No Shame has done a miraculous job restoring this film for this release. His Day of Glory comes with one audio option this films original Italian language track which is presented in a Dolby Digital mono. There is some noticeable background noise and hissing through out the film. Overall even though this audio mix isn’t as clean as what we have come to expect from No Shame it is serviceable as it gets the job done. Removable English subtitles that are easy to read and follow have been included.
Extras for Partner include a poster and still gallery that has music from the film playing in the background. There is also a collectable booklet that includes a bio for Bernardo Bertolucci, liner notes about “Love and Anger” and two other pieces titled “Italian cinema in the ‘60’s: The other new wave” and “It was the end of the world as we knew it and we felt fine” this last piece was written by “His Day of Glory’s” director Edoardo Bruno. Other extras include rare outtakes and Pierre Clémenti’s screen test. Rounding out the extras for are two featurette’s “To edit a Partner” a nineteen minute interview with the films editor Roberto Perpignani and “Dreams from the other side” which is an interview with Bernardo Bertolucci and it also includes behind the scenes footage from 1968. Both interviews give a nice overall about the film their working relationship on Partner and other projects. Extras for His Day of Glory include an extensive poster and still gallery that has music from the film playing in the background. Other extras include rehearsal footage and screen tests for Lou Castel and Laura Troschel. Rounding out the extras is a thirty five minute interview titled “Back to Glory” with director Edoardo Bruno who vividly remembers his only foray into the world of making films. No Shame with their Partner DVD release has assembled one of their most ambitious releases to date that contains two rarely seen film that are now available for the first time ever on DVD with a first rate audio/video presentation that is perfectly complemented by a wide array of insightful extras.