Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 27th, 2014
Theatrical Release Dates: Italy, 1978
Director: Alberto Cavallone
Writer: Alberto Cavallone
Cast: Danielle Dugas, Claude Maran, Joseph Dickson, Dirce Funari
DVD released: May 27th, 2014
Approximate running time: 84 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Italian
DVD Release: Raro Video USA
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.98
Synopsis: A rape victim falls in love with a sadomasochist photographer.
When it comes to filmmakers Alberto Cavallone is a weird anomaly, his films are difficult to see and yet he is widely known, at least when it comes to fans of 1970’s exploitation cinema. Also he is the type of filmmaker that either you love his films or you loathe them. His films are filled with proactive imagery, taboo subject matter and there is no way anyone could ever confuse his way of storytelling as traditional.
The plot for Blue Movie centers around two traumatized individuals, one is a young woman who was recently raped and the other being a young man whose time at war is still haunting him. Fate would bring these two characters together and while the young man tries to help this woman recover, along the way he takes photographs of models. Only these are not your run of the mill photo sessions as each new session he further explores his sadomasochist side. While the young woman further struggles to gain her sanity as she continues to have hallucinations.
Though this film is titled Blue Movie, a more appropriately title might have been ‘Silent Movie’ since it is this films stark imagery and eclectic score which drives the narrative. The score features several well known classical pieces like Jacques Offenbach – Orpheus in the Underworld (Can-Can) and Johann Sebastian Bach – Toccata and Fugue in D minor. Also the film features real footage taken from actual events like footage from wartime and a monk who burned himself alive. This melting pot of voyeuristic cinematography capturing events as they happen and the use of footage from real atrocities creates a truly unique, albeit bizarre viewing experience.
As mentioned before this film is more a visual experience and to this end its suits that performances in this film. None of the actors leave any strong impression and at best they can be best described as mere pieces on the directors’ chess board. Ultimately Blue Movie is not an easy film to digest and anyone looking for conventional story telling should look elsewhere.
Raro Video presents Blue Movie in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Colors tend to fluctuate, black levels are average at best and details generally look crisp, though there are several instances where the image lacks clarity. Also there is noticeable edge enhancement that varies in degree throughout. Overall for a film that was shot on 16mm and has been near impossible to see, this is most likely the best this film may ever look on home video.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital Mono mix in Italian and removable English subtitles have also been included with this release. Obviously range wise things are limited and there is minimal background noise that crops up throughout. With that being said dialog is always clear enough to follow and everything sounds balanced.
Extras for this release include six deleted scenes, ‘Alternative Beginning’, ‘Play of Light’, ‘Violence in the Woods’, ‘Crumbs’, ‘Interracial Exchange’ and ‘Golden Rain’. There were two version of this film prepared and these deleted scenes represent more graphic versions of moments that remained in the film. Also some of these moments are longer in their deleted version. These deleted moments were sourced from super 8mm elements. Other extras include the informative documentary titled ‘Blue Extreme’ (43 minutes 45 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Italian with English subtitles) which includes comments from actors Claude Maran and Giovanni Brusadori, cinematographer Massimo Centini, David Pulici (Nocturno Cinema), filmmaker Pierlatino Guidotti and Alberto Cavallone’s son. This is a informative documentary that not only gives perspective from those who worked on Blue Movie, but also those who knew Alberto Cavallone and his legacy as a filmmaker. Rounding out the extras is a slip cover that has alternative cover then what is used for the DVD covert art inside the keep case and a twelve page booklet that has essay about the film and a text piece about the version included with this release. Overall Blue Movie gets a strong release from Raro Video.