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Steam-The Turkish Bath (Il Bagno Turko Hamam) 
Written by: on February 18th, 2012

Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1997
Director: Ferzan Ozpetek
Writers: Ferzan Ozpetek, Stefano Tummolini
Cast: Alessandro Gassman, Francesca d’Aloja, Carlo Cecchi, Halil Ergün, Serif Sezer, Mehmet Günsür, Basak Köklükaya, Alberto Molinari, Zozo Toledo, Ludovica Modugno

DVD released: January 17th, 2012
Approximate running time: 98 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Italian
Subtitles: English
DVD Release: Raro Video
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.98

Synopsis: A young man inherits a Turkish bath from his estranged  aunt, who he has not seen since left Italy and moved to Turkey.

Steam-The Turkish Bath was co-written and directed by Ferzan Ozpetek (Facing Windows), who began his career as a assistant director, with La scorta being his notable credit as a assistant director.

At the heart of this film is a protagonist, who has been living in denial and has all but accepted the life he is living (not the one he would rather be living). He is given chance to get away for while, when he is left a Turkish bath. And while his original intentions are to sell the property off and get back to life he is trying to escape from. This is not as easy of a proposition as it would appear to be, since the longer he stays in Istanbul, the closer he gets to the life he wants to live.

Though the film’s main protagonist struggles with his evolving homosexuality. His journey of self discovery is much deeper then someone trying to come to terms with their sexuality. Another main theme that the film centers around is family and one’s heritage.

From a production stand point, there is not a single area in which this film is lacking or in most instance where it does not excel. The film’s atmospheric visuals reinforce the message of the story at hand, the film’s pacing let’s moments resonate for maximum effect and the performance from the entire cast are nothing short of excellent, especially Alessandro Gassman (Transporter 2, Quiet Chaos) in the role of the film’s protagonist Francesco.

Far too often films overstate the obvious and don’t let the message that they are trying to tell subtly settle into the viewers mind. Fortunately every now and then comes along a film like Steam-The Turkish Bath, a film that takes the art of subtlety to extremes.

The DVD:

Raro Video presents Steam-The Turkish Bath in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. Colors and flesh tones look accurate, edge enhancement is kept to minimum and there are no problems with compression.

This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital stereo mix in Italian and removable English subtitles have been included for this release. Range wise things are rather limited, with that being said, dialog is always clear and everything sound balanced.

Extras for this release include a ‘Behind the Scenes’ segments that includes comments from actor Alessandro Gassman (8 minutes 27 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Italian with English subtitles), two interviews, the first one with screenwriter / director Ferzan Ozpetek (13 minutes 23 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Italian with English subtitles) and the second interview with producer Marco Risi (11 minutes 9 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Italian with English subtitles). Topics discussed in the two interviews include, the origins of the film, how it got financed and its anemic budget, the cast, the critical reaction to the film at Cannes and abroad. Rounding out the extras for this release DVD-Rom content – a fully illustrated PDF file with a essay’s about Ferzan Ozpetek and Steam-The Turkish Bath, critical reviews for the film, a bio and filmography for Ferzan Ozpetek. Also included with this release is slip cover that has different image, then the one used for the front cover art on the DVD. Overall Steam-The Turkish Bath gets a strong release from Raro Video.

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