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The Voice of the Moon
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.66:1 Widescreen
  • Italian PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 2 Discs
FEATURES
  • Towards the Moon with Fellini, a rarely seen hour-long documentary on the filmís production, featuring interviews with Fellini, Roberto Benigni and Paolo Villagio
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Peter Strain
  • FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collectorís booklet featuring new writing on the film by Pasquale Iannone

The Voice of the Moon

Dual-Format Edition
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Federico Fellini
1990 | 121 Minutes

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $39.95 | Series: Arrow Academy
MVD Visual

Release Date: October 31, 2017
Review Date: October 31, 2017

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SYNOPSIS

The swansong of the great Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini (La dolce vita, 8Ĺ), The Voice of the Moon emerged without fanfare: it played the Cannes Film Festival out of competition after its Italian premiere and failed to secure distribution in North America and the UK. This new restoration from the original negative seeks to right that wrong and provide the film with a second chance... Adapted from a novel by Ermano Cavazzoni, The Voice of the Moon concerns itself with Ivo Salvini (Roberto Benigni, Life Is Beautiful), recently released from a mental hospital and in love with Aldini (Nadia Ottaviani). As he attempts to win her heart, he wanders a strange, dreamlike landscape and encounters various oddball characters, including Gonnella (Paolo Villagio, Fantozzi), a paranoid old man prone to conspiracy theories. Concluding a career that had stretched back more than fifty years, The Voice of the Moon combines the nostalgia of Amarcord (the film is set in Emilia-Romagna countryside of the director's youth), the surreal satire of City of Women and the naÔf-adrift-in-a-brutal-world structure of La strada. Plenty for Fellini fans to get their teeth into.


PICTURE

Arrow Academy presents Federico Felliniís final film, The Voice of the Moon, on Blu-ray in a new dual-format edition, marking the 1990 filmís debut in North America. It is presented in the aspect ratio of 1.66:1 in 1080p/24hz on a dual-layer disc. The master is sourced from a new 2K restoration by Arrow, scanned from the 35mm original camera negative.

The film really isnít that old but since the film was met with a certain disdain at the time of its release I guess I half expected it to have been in piss-poor shape. If it was initially, though, there is certainly no evidence to support this: thanks to Arrowís usual attention to detail this looks wonderful, and that old clichť of ďit looks like it could have been filmed yesterdayĒ really holds true here. The first thing that struck was just how clean this was. I donít recall a single blemish ever appearing, not even a small spec. If one did appear I absolutely missed it, but it was probably because I was also just bowled over by how film-like and clean this image is. This digital presentation is a real marvel, quite stunning from beginning to end. Though there are a lot of dark scenes the film is still very colourful, laced with some nice blues and reds and so forth. They really pop and look wonderfully saturated. The black levels are also quite strong, and though some darker scenes may struggle a wee-bit in the shadow details, I didnít find crushing to be a concern.

In regards to the digital presentation itself I canít fault for anything. It retains a film-like texture and is free of noise and other anomalies, rendering grain well while also cleanly rendering the smokier and mistier moments.

Itís a real wonder of a restoration and encode. I did expect it to look good, even if I was unsure of how the materials have held up, this certainly exceeded my expectations by a long shot. It just looks really, really great.

9/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

The film comes with its original Italian mono track, presented in lossless PCM 2.0 mono here (the back of the box says 1.0 mono). Thereís some obvious dubbing going on and there can be a bit of a detachment at times because of it but in general I found dialogue to deliver decent fidelity and range, and the filmís music also comes off sounding fairly rich and deep. There also doesnít appear to be any background damage of any sort.

7/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Disappointingly there is really only one significant on-disc feature here, and thatís the making-of documentary Toward the Moon with Fellini, which looks to have been originally made for television, though by the looks of it based on some research I did it only saw the light of day over a decade ago. The 58-minute documentary is a bit Felliniesque itself, presenting the story of an American journalist played by Christina Engelhardt (and using that name) trying to get all the details on the latest Fellini film only to discover that most everybody she talks to doesnít really know what the film is about. Even more oddly this fact doesnít seem to deter them. Most of this is obviously scripted and set-up (to push home that the journalist is American she wears a Giants sports cap) but there is some genuine behind-the-scenes footage showing set construction and Fellini giving direction. As a making-of it covers all the bases you would expect but is fairly fun in its own right. This is also a fairly decent get for Arrow because, as I learned looking the segment up, it was made during filming of Voice of the Moon and intended as a promotional piece but was ultimately abandoned. Engelhardt actually put together a number of resources to get it completed and it was released briefly in the mid 2000ís, though by the looks of it it disappeared after that, so getting it on video should be a treat for admirers of Fellini.

Unfortunately thatís almost it. There is a decent gallery of Felliniana, showing various promotional pieces and even CD soundtrack art. The included booklet makes up a little bit in the lack of more scholarly material, featuring an essay on the film by Pasquale Iannone. In it Iannone covers its reception a little bit (addressing a few reviews) and talks about Roberto Benigniís career to that point. He also does offer a bit of a synopsis that does actually clarify the film a bit. Itís only limited to first pressings but Iíd say it would be worth picking up now for it if one was going to pick up the film anyway.

Again, wish there was a bit more considering it was Felliniís last film but I enjoyed what ended up on here.

5/10

CLOSING

Iím really quite stunned this marks the filmís debut in North America, which was due to a poor initial reception. As Iíve mentioned elsewhere Iím not overly fond of Felliniís films, really only liking a handful of them, but I was actually rather charmed by this one. Iím not sure why that is, though. The essay in the booklet suggests that the critical community at the time had grown tired of Felliniís vignette-like structure and flights of fancy but I'm guessing in my case it has all finally just worn me down.

Though not a stacked edition Iím still very pleased with Arrowís release. The included documentary is fairly fun but itís the stellar presentation that really sells this edition, marking a hell of a debut for the film.




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