Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 28th, 2017
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1991
Director: Marco Ferreri
Writer: Liliane Betti, Massimo Bucchi, Paolo Costella,
Cast: Sergio Castellitto, Francesca Dellera, Philippe Léotard, Farid Chopel, Petra Reinhardt, Gudrun Gundelach
BluRay released: September 12th, 2017
Approximate running times: 90 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Italian, Dolby Digital Stereo Italian, Dolby Digital Stereo Spanish
BluRay Release: Cult Epics
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $34.95
The Flesh was co-written and directed by Marco Ferreri whose other notable films include, The Ape Woman, Dillinger is Dead, La Grande Bouffe and Tales of Ordinary Madness. Key collaborators on The Flesh include, cinematographer Ennio Guarnieri (Camille 2000, The Visitor) and editor Ruggero Mastroianni (The 10th Victim, Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion).
At the heart of this film is a tale about desire and when left unchecked, how said desire can ultimately consume you. And like a muse who inspires an artist, Francesca is the spark that breathes life back into a life that Paolo has all but given up on.
At first there is a mutual desire between these two characters and over time they drift apart. With Francesca becoming bored by familiarity of their relationship, while Paolo becomes increasing more possessive and he has all but shut everyone else out of his life.
The two main characters are well defined and the two leads are excellent in their respective roles. Cast in the role of Paolo is Sergio Castellitto (The Star Maker, Padre Pio) and he delivers an utterly convincing portrayal of a man consumed by his carnal desires. And cast in the role of Francesca is Francesca Dellera (Capriccio) and she delivers a captivating performance that more than fulfills the role of object of desire.
From a production standpoint there is not an area where this film does not excel. And nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to the visuals. Standout moments visually include, a scene where Francesca drinks Paolo’s blood after an attempted suicide, a scene where Francesca and Paolo have sex in a dog house and this film’s ending that serves up very satisfying, albeit subversive conclusion to the events that have just unfolded.
The Flesh comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. This release marks this film’s home video debut in the U.S. and the HD transfer that was used for this release was sourced from a 35mm print, due to there being no other known available sources. It should be noted that there is source related damage and the majority of these instances are not intrusive. This film has had a few Region 2 DVD releases and when compared to these previous releases, the is easily the best this film has looked to date on home video.
This release comes with three audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in Italian, a Dolby Digital stereo mix in Italian and a Dolby Digital stereo mix in Spanish. Dialog comes through clearly and all three audio mixes are in good shape. Range wise these audio mixes are rather limited. With the strongest of these three audio mixes being the DTS-HD 5.1 mix in Italian. Included with this release are removable English subtitles.
Extras for this release include, a trailer for the film (2 minutes 1 second, in Italian with English subtitles), a lobby card image gallery, footage from the 1991 Cannes film festival (44 seconds), an archival Behind the Scenes featurette (5 minutes 14 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles) and archival interviews with director Marco Ferreri, actor Sergio Castellitto and actress Francesca Dellera (5 minutes 2 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles).
The extras consist of onset footage and comments from the three main contributors about their roles in the making of this film. Rounding out the extras is a slipcover that is limited to first 3000 copies. Also, included with this release is a DVD that has the same content included on the Blu-Ray included as part of this combo release. Overall The Flesh gets a strong release from Cult Epics.