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Animalada (Animal) 
Written by: on June 9th, 2009

Theatrical Release Date: Argentina, 2001
Director: Sergio Bizzio
Writer: Sergio Bizzio
Cast: Carlos Roffé, Christina Banegas, Carolina Fal, Walter Quiroz, José María Monje

DVD released: July 28th, 2009
Approximate running time: 94 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo Spanish
Subtitles: English
DVD Release: Synapse Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95

The film’s tag line “a Man, a sheep, it’s complicated”, is a devious spoiler that bluntly reveals what is about to follow. From the first moments in which we get to know Alberto is it immediately obvious that he has become bored with his life. The story then takes a sharp detour when one day Alberto crosses paths with a sheep named Fanny who revitalizes him. With a new outlook on life Alberto is more vigorous than a man half his age. Wanting to preserve his new found happiness Alberto will let no one get between him and fanny. Of course as the story progresses those in Alberto’s life start nosing around which only further infuriates Alberto who goes to great lengths to keep his love for Fanny a secret. This film is at its best during the moments in which Alberto is confronted about his forbidden love. After each new confrontation he sinks deeper into the abyss of web of lies.

Animalada was written and directed by Sergio Bizzio (to date this is his only theatrical feature film as a director). Some of the film’s standout moments visually include a montage showcasing Alberto and Fanny’s love for each other and a scene where Alberto who is taking a shower uses that lather to form a sheep like fur on his body and a scene where Alberto sets up a mock wedding with Fanny. The film’s disturbingly original premise is approached in with tongue firmly in cheek. Is this film merely a story about a dangerous liaison between a man and a sheep or is this just window dressing for what is essentially a story about a man having an affair? Without a doubt the most towering performance in the film comes from Carlos Roffé in the role of Alberto. Ultimately Animalada is an exceptional film that fully exploits its lurid and inventive premise.

The DVD:

Synapse Films Animalada in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This transfer has been flagged for progressive playback. This is another exemplary transfer from Synapse films that has nicely saturated colors (yellow is a color that pops up often), flesh tones look healthy (especially the sheep’s fur), black levels / shadow detail fares well and details look generally crisp as the image remains stable throughout. There is some mild print damage (in the form of nicks /debris) and edge enhancement is minimal.

This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital stereo mix in Spanish and removable English subtitles that are easy to follow and error free have been included. The audio fares well, dialog is clear and everything sounds balanced. This is a more dialog driven film and this audio mix faithfully retains the essence of the soundtrack. There are no problems with distortion, background noise or any other audio defects.

Extras for this release are limited to a theatrical trailer for the film (2 minutes 30 seconds – in Spanish with English subtitles – letterboxed widescreen). The only area this release is lacking is in the extras department (it would have been interesting to hear what writer /director Sergio Bizzio’s inspirations for this film were? Overall what this release is lacking in extra content it more than makes up for with its solid audio / video presentation.

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