Friday, November 25, 2011

The Korean release of The Devils

The Korean DVD version of The Devils arrived in the mail today. It has the same box art as the Spanish and the proposed art that leaked from Warner Brothers awhile ago. There are, as is typical with Korean releases, no extras of any sort. The option of Spanish subtitles suggests that this is sourced from the Spanish version of the DVD (there are no English subs, only Spanish and Korean). The sound is quite a bit clearer than I've heard it before, but some of the dialogue is whispered urgently with much background noise, so English subtitles would, in fact, make this a more attractive purchase. The image quality and the colours are quite good, compared to the previous options, though some of the church interior scenes have an odd effect I hadn't noticed before, where there's a sort of rainbow mottling of skin tones, for instance during Grandier's trial, when he is led back in with a shaved head; these colours may be meant to represent the way sunlight falls on skin when refracted through stained glass - something the inferior image quality of previous versions would not have allowed me to notice - but since no stained glass is readily apparent in Derek Jarman's terrific sets, I can't quite settle my mind that this isn't some odd defect. And speaking of defects, all the stuff we can presume would be missing is missing - the Rape of Christ and the charred tibia masturbation, most obviously, though I believe there are trims to Jeanne's other masturbation and self-flagellation scene, and if there is supposed to be extended footage of the breaking of Grandier's legs - it's not there, either. We presume the BFI presentation will be neutered in exactly the same way; and since it will be PAL and region-coded, the Korean DVD (NTSC, region-free) may still be your best option in North America, unless and until the American arm of Warner Brothers grows a pair of yarbles and decides to release the unexpurgated version of this film. I wouldn't hold my breath.

1 comment:

Allan MacInnis said...

Important: at the behest of a correspondent, I checked the runtime and apparently the Korean version of The Devils IS a censored US cut of the film, no doubt the same as the Spanish DVD. At NTSC, it plays to 1:43:20, as opposed to the 1:51 of the PAL-formatted BFI release. Annoyed that I hadn't realized I was watching a censored version of the film!

The information on the back of the box is incoherent (the film is described as "4:3 Latterbox," the audio as "2.0 surround") but it IS widescreen; however the Spanish PAL release was NOT enhanced for widescreen TVs, so apparently this one isn't, either. Someone buy me a widescreen TV and I'll test it...

Video Watchdog's Tim Lucas on the Spanish cut of The Devils here. Presumably all this applies: