Written by: Michael Den Boer on March 21st, 2010
Theatrical Release Dates: France, 1982 (The Emperor Of Peru), France 1983 (Car Cemetery)
Director: Fernando Arrabal
Writers: Fernando Arrabal, Roger Lemelin (The Emperor Of Peru), Fernando Arrabal (Car Cemetery)
Cast: Mickey Rooney, Anick, Jonathan Starr, Ky Huot Uk, Monique Mercure, Jean-Louis Roux, Guy Hoffman, Valda Dalton (The Emperor Of Peru), Alain Bashung, Juliet Berto, Micha Bayard, Roland Amstutz, Denis Manuel, Dominique Maurin, Boris Bergman, Sylvie Kuhn, Fanny Bastien, Richard Leduc, Didier Lesour, Serge Feuillard, Daisy Amias, Jacques Chailleux, Marc de Jonge, Dominique Pinon (Car Cemetery)
DVD Released: February 23rd, 2010
Approximate Running Time: 78 minutes (The Emperor Of Peru), 87 minutes (Car Cemetery)
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English, Dolby Digital Mono French (The Emperor Of Peru), Dolby Digital Mono French (Car Cemetery)
DVD Released: Cult Epics
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $79.95
The Emperor Of Peru:The plot revolves around a brother and sister, who are staying with their aunt and uncle. There world is forever changed when a Cambodian boy comes to stay with them until he is able to be placed with a family permanently. The trio quickly become friends and daily they venture off into the woods near their home. One day they meet a crippled man who used to be a railroad engineer. They get this man to help them restore and teach them how to drive an abandon train they discover in the woods. The trio plan to take the train to Cambodia, so Hoang their Cambodian friend can reunite with his mother.Throughout the film ‘the brother’ character, who’s name is Toby. He often day dreams and these are some of the most entertaining moments in the film. He becomes a racer driver, a performer in the circus and a super hero in space. This film’s stand out performance comes from Mickey Rooney (Breakfast at Tiffany’s), who is cast in the role of a retired railroad engineer who is crippled. There is a child like quality that he brings to the character that makes the character all the more endearing. Ultimately The Emperor of Peru is easily Fernando Arrabal’s gentlest film. In fact it is a film that is heavily geared towards children and the young at heart.
Car Cemetery: In a future dystopia society a Christ like figure prepares to perform a rock concert for the inhabitants of a junkyard city.
Everything including the miracles where Christ feeds hundreds despite not having enough food, a Judas like traitor, resurrecting the dead and Christ’s crucifixion (this time on a motorcycle) have been woven into this film’s plot. In lesser hands the mixing of a post apocalypse future and the story of Christ would not have been as powerful as they are in Car Cemetery. Once again Fernando Arrabal flawlessly dissects themes which are prominent throughout his filmography. Another area where this film excels is the performance from its lead actor Alain Bashung who gives a mesmerizing performance is in the role of Emanou, a Christ like savior who is seen as a threat to those in power in the futuristic society in this film. Ultimately Car Cemetery puts a unique and at times subversive spin on the story of Christ.
Cult Epics presents, Car Cemetery and The Emperor of Peru, in an anamorphic widescreen presentations that preserve their original aspect ratios. The source materials used for both transfers are in very good shape. Colors, flesh tones and black levels all fare well. Details generally look crisp throughout and edge enhancement in kept to a minimum. The transfer’s for both film’s have not been flagged for progressive playback. Even though both transfers are interlaced the image remains stable throughout with no excessive blurring / ghosting issues. It should be noted that the box art lists the running time for The Emperor of Peru at eight one minutes, even though it clocks in at about seventy eight minutes. The discrepancy in times lengths suggest that this transfer is most likely a PAL to NTSC conversion.
Car Cemetery comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in French and removable English subtitles. The Emperor of Peru comes with two audio options, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English and a Dolby Digital mono mix in French and removable English subtitles. The subtitles are easy to read and follow and error free. All the audio mixes are in great shape as they all sound clean, clear and balanced throughout.
Extras on the Car Cemetery DVD include trailers for Viva La Muerte, I Walk Like a Crazy Horse and Guernica Tree. The main extra content comes on a third DVD which includes a fifty eight minute documentary about Fernando Arrabal titled “Arrabal, Panik Cineast”, a sixty six minute documentary about Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges titled “Borges, a Life in Poetry” and Fernando Arrabal’s sixth feature film “Farewell, Babylon!” (54 minutes 22 seconds – 1.33:1 Full Frame – in French with English subtitles). “Arrabal, Panik Cineast” is an exceptional documentary that does a good job putting the cinema of Fernando Arrabal into perspective. “Borges, a Life in Poetry” is essentially a lengthy interview with Jorge Luis Borges that is inter-cut with clips from Fernando Arrabal’s films. “Farewell, Babylon!” is an interesting film which retreads themes and clips from his previous films. All of the extras come with English subtitles. Overall Cult Epics give Car Cemetery and The Emperor of Peru their strongest home video releases to date.