Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 30th, 2015
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1967
Director: Carlo Lizzani
Writers: Lucio Battistrada, Andrew Baxter, Adriano Bolzoni, Franco Bucceri, Armando Crispino, Arnold Elias, Denis Greene, Renato Izzo, Frank Mills, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Edward Williams
Cast: Lou Castel, Mark Damon, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Barbara Frey, Mirella Maravidi, Franco Citti, Lorenza Guerrieri, Ferruccio Viotti
BluRay released: November 16th, 2015 (UK) / November 17th, 2015 (USA)
Approximate running times: 107 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 15 (UK), NR (USA)
Sound: LPCM Mono English, LPCM Mono Italian
Subtitles: English SDH, English (Italian Language)
BluRay Release: Arrow Video USA
Region Coding: Region A,B / Region 1,2 NTSC
Retail Price: $39.95 (USA) / £17.99 (UK)
Requiescant was directed by Carlo Lizzani whose other notable films include, Wake Up and Die, The Hills Run Red, The Violent Four, Last Days of Mussolini and San Babila ore 20: un delitto inutile. Key collaborators on Requiescant include, cinematographer Sandro Mancori (Sabata, Web of the Spider), composer Riz Ortolani (Mondo cane, Cannibal Holocaust) and screenwriter Pier Paolo Pasolini (Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom).
Though not as visually operatic as the majority of its contemporaries, this film takes a grounded in reality approach. This is a film where the characters and their actions tell the story, while visuals are primary limited to framing said story. And though this film narrative is rooted in the tried and true theme of vengeance. There are other themes likes racism and classism which are just as important to the evolution of the story at hand.
Content wise, this is a film where the more dramatic moments outweigh the action oriented moments. This ultimately leads to a slower pacing that allows for more reflection. And when it comes to back-story this another area where this film often excels. With this film’s standout sequence being the moment when this film’s protagonist Requiescant has returned to the place where his family were massacred. And in a flash the moments from that come back to him as the screen is soaked in blood red.
And when it comes to action there is no scene filled with more tension then the shootout completion between Requiescant and George Ferguson. The rules are simple each man must take a drink before they shoot and their target is a Mexican girl who is being forced to hold a Candelabra.
From a performance stand point the entire cast are all very good in their respective roles, with Lou Castel (Fists in the Pocket, A Bullet for the General) in the role of Requiescant. He delivers a pitch perfect performance that is in direct contrast with what one would expect from Spaghetti western protagonist. Another strength of his performance is how he evolves his character from a peaceful young man with no experience handling a gun into someone who so deadly with a gun that they never miss their target
Another performance of note is Mark Damon (House of Usher, Black Sabbath) in the role of a sadistic racist aristocrat named George Ferguson who is responsible for the massacre a beginning of the film. He delivers and utterly convincing performance that is devoid of any sympathy. Other notable cast members include Mirella Maravidi in the role of Ferguson’s, Ferruccio Viotti in the role of Ferguson’s right hand man Dean Light and filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini in the role of Father Juan, his character serves the role of Requiescant’s protector.
Requiescant comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. For this release a brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative was used for the source of this transfer. Colors look vibrant, black and shadow detail look consistently strong and detail look crisp. Also grain looks natural and there are no issues with compression or DNR.
This release comes with two audio options, a LPCM mono mix in English and a LPCM mono mix in Italian. Both audio mixes are in very good shape as dialog is always clear, everything sounds balanced and robust when it needs too. English SDH subtitles for the English language track and English subtitles for the Italian language track.
Extras for this release include, a trailer for the film (2 minutes 59 seconds) and two interviews – the first interview with actor Lou Castel (13 minutes 38 seconds, in French with English subtitles) and the second interview with director Carlo Lizzani (27 minutes 43 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles).
Topics discussed in the interview with Lou Castel include, his process in deciding what roles he would take as an actor, the political tone of Requiescant and how the original screenplay was written by a communist, working with Carlo Lizzani and how he gave him as an actor a lot of freedom to create, Pier Paolo Pasolini and his involvement in the making of this film, a few of this films key moments in depth and his thoughts about the film.
Topics discussed in the interview with Carlo Lizzani include, Neorealism and its decline, how censorship in Italy didn’t allow certain subjects to be made into films and how western genre allowed Italian filmmakers to take on forbidden subject matter, what message he was trying to get across by making Requiescant, Casting – Lou Castel and Mark Damon, collaborating with Pier Paolo Pasolini, Riz Ortolani and the films score, locations, his thoughts on the film and its legacy.
Rounding out the extras is a reversible cover art option and a booklet with cast & crew information, a new writing on the film by Pasquale Iannone and information about the transfer. 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 Requiescant gets a solid release from Arrow Video.