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1900

Review by Chastity Campbell

Starring: Gerard Depardieu, Robert De Niro, Sterling Hayden, Dominique Sanda, Alida Valli, Stefania Sandrelli, Laura Betti, Stefani Casini, Francesca Bertini, Donald Sutherland, Burt Lancaster, Romolo Valli
Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
Studio: Paramount
Video: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo
Features: See Review
Length: 315 Minutes
Release Date: December 5, 2006

Film **

There are many dates throughout history that when prompted can be recalled quite easily.  Once you put in the time and effort it will require to watch 1900, I do believe that date will remain etched into your mind forever.

Academy Award winning director Bernardo Bertolucci was given carte blanche to create this epic film.  He had some of Hollywoodís best actors and actresses in addition to an overflowing moneybag.  Yet, sometimes even the biggest, brightest and best donít shine like they could have! 

1900 spans four decades and follows the lives of two Italian men, one born to wealth, the other to poverty.  In childhood they were equals, playing games, and chasing frogs.  As adults they stand on opposite sides of life defined by status, divided by class.

This movie is long, and the dialogue is sometimes hard to follow but it can be rewarding if you are willing to put the time and effort in.

When you are watching this film it will feel as though Bertolucci himself is sitting there directing your eyes across the screen so that you see all of the finite details he has imbedded. 

However, when it comes to the story itself, it is easy to get lost because of his propensity to allow each scene to drag on and on.  I almost felt as though he lost focus with each scene at a certain point and when he realized everything was off track we moved on to another part of the film.

Each character was well rounded (if not easily understood) and the acting was wonderful. Robert De Niro and Gerard Depardieu were young and feisty when this film was first released and you can definitely see their passion for acting come through here.

Donald Sutherland has gotten much better with age.  However, I have to give him credit he did a really good job of making me hate his character.  If an actor or actress can make me feel something, be it love or hate, then they are doing their job.

I will admit that I have never heard of quite a few of the actors and actresses that worked on this film.  However, everyone appears to have put all of their effort behind this film in the hopes that they could create an exciting and entertaining film.

There is no easy way to describe 1900 other than to say it is an epic that almost was everything it could have been.  I didnít dislike this film, but it didnít make me jump for joy either. 

When you have some free time (five hours worth) and you want to immerse yourself in Italian history and politics grab this 2-disc set and give it a spin! 

Video **

These DVDs were given an Anamorphic transfer, but it didnít overtly help the video quality. Each disc is presented in a 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format. 

Colors were dull and gray.  There didnít seem to have been a lot of effort put into the restoration of this film prior to plunking it onto DVD, which left quite a bit of dirt and graininess easily visible.

Audio **

This DVD is presented in two different formats.  The English version of this DVD is presented in a Dolby Digital Stereo mix.  The French and Italian versions of this film are presented in Dolby Digital Mono.

The levels bounce around quite a bit, and there is some audible distortion in scenes where large groups of people are present. 

Features *

The first extra that I would suggest you sink your teeth into is ď1900-The Story, The Cast.Ē  Director/Screenwriter Bernardo Bertolucci and Director of Photography Vittorio Storaro share how the filmís casting process worked.

The second epic extra is called ď1900-Creating An Epic.Ē  This little ditty shows you just how much fun tackling an epic film can be from the people behind the scenes.

Subtitles are available in English only, but Language options of French, English, and Italian are also available.

Summary:

The film is long, and the audio and video quality is only so-so.  But, if the weather outside is frightful, and you want to fill your night full, donít worry about rain or snow, let 1900 put on a show!  (Iíve been listening to way too many Christmas songs!)

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