Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 2nd, 2013
BluRay released: April 15th, 2013
Approximate running time: 92 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Rating: 15 (UK)
Sound: DTS-HD 7.1 Cantonese
BluRay Release: Third Window Films
Region Coding: Region B (UK)
Retail Price: £13.99
Though film’s within a film, is well traversed topic in the world of cinema. The way in which each one of these film’s explores said topic, determines if the end result is worth the celluloid it has been captured on.
First off, the thing that pulled me into Vulgaria was not so much the chaos that ensues as a film producer’s latest project spirals further and further rout of control. But the characters which populated the story at hand. Great story always rely on well defined characters and so why should it be any different with a film like Vulgaria.
At the heart of this crass expose into the ins and outs of filmmaking. Is a story about a protagonist, who against what most would considered insurmountable odds. He always somehow finds a way to come out on top. Another area in which this film often excels are the secondary characters, who are all just as colorful and dare I say vulgar as this film’s protagonist.
Also even though this film is obviously a satire. That is not to say that is does not do a superb job showcasing the various compromises that any given film is faced with in order to get completed. Case in point, how the protagonist makes a deal with an underworld crime boss. Only to find out that this crime bosses two main demands are hiring an sixty year old actress for a sexually suggestive role, that he had a crush on as a boy and a role that prominently features his beloved mule. This is just the tip of the ice berg of crass humor that permeates throughout. Another amusing bit involves pops rocks candy and a blow job.
Being that this is a film about a film, it should not come as a surprise that this film’s visuals are top notch. Pacing is never an issue as things move from one shocking moment to the next at a very brisk pace and performance wise the entire cast are superb in their respective roles. With this film being anchored by Chapman To’s in the role of this film’s protagonist, a film producer named To, Wai Cheung. Another performance of note is Ronald Cheng in the role of Brother Tyrannosaurus, the crime boss that has a bizarre relationship with his mule. Ultimately Vulgaria is one of handful of films that lives up to its name and then some.
Vulgaria comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. Colors and flesh tones look accurate, details look crisp, black and contrast levels look consistently great. There are no problems with compression and DNR is kept in check.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD 7.1 mix in Cantonese and removable English subtitles have been included with this release. Range wise, channel separation is very good and the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack are well represented. Dialog always comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced and robust when it needs too.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (2 minutes – anamorphic widescreen, in Chinese with English subtitles) and a ‘Making of’ segment (10 minutes 10 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Chinese with English subtitles). Topics covered include the origins of the film, the cast and production related topics. Rounding out the extras is a trailer for Takashi Miike’s, For Love’s Sake (1 minute 42 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Japanese with English subtitles). Overall Vulgaria gets a first rate audio / video presentation from Third Window Films.
Note: This film is also being released by Third Window Films on DVD.