The Movie: Dutch actor Jeroen Krabbe's (IMMORTAL BELOVED) first feature film is a touching look at the connected lives of two Jewish families in early 1970s Belgium. Laura Fraser stars as Chaja, the 20 year-old daughter of two Holocaust survivors who eschews her faith and goes to Antwerp to study philosophy and live a bohemian life. However, when she takes a job as a nanny for the Kalmans, a Hasidic family, she begins a friendship with the devout Mrs. Kalman (Rossellini) and her four year-old son, Simcha that forces her to reevaluate the Jewish faith. An affecting and clear eyed look at Hasidic faith, which is so often glossed over and generalized in movies, LEFT LUGGAGE is a moving film, aided immeasurably by Ms. Rossellini's and Ms. Fraser's standout performances.
The Picture: The picture is a bit subdued, but this is probably how the film was meant to be viewed and other than that, showcases a good transfer. Good - not great. While there is no case of artifacting or pixelation, the picture is crisp and clear, but it's nothing spectacular. Also, the picture here has been reduced from an original aspect ratio of 1.66:1 to full frame (1.33:1). There's no noticeable compression, but I believe the transfer would have looked noticeably better with the original ratio kept in tact.
The Sound: The sound, presented in mono is sufficient for the film, but stereo would have been a nice addition. Also, it would have been nice to have subtitles for those hard of hearing, and those who have problems with thick accents. Also, there are some parts of the film which are in Hebrew, and subtitles are not provided at any point. The dialogue is clear, but the mono deliverance really holds the sound back from what it could be.
The Extras: The "extras" consist of a trailer. That's it. Nothing special, nothing to write home about. Just a trailer, and not even a great one at that.
Conclusion: In conclusion, the film suffers from a poorly concieved transfer as the film has been shrunk from an aspect ratio of 1.66:1 to 1.33:1. Coupled with the poor audio (mono only), this DVD is seriously lacking. But this is pretty much what we've come to expect from Fox Lorber. There are no subtitles for those hard of hearing and the only special feature is a trailer. The film itself is very good with spectacular performances from Isabella Rossellini and Laura Fraser, but without a good DVD transfer in both the video and audio segments, you should probably hold off on purchasing this DVD for a while. It's not likely that Fox Lorber will correct its mistakes, but one can only hope for the best. This format offers such great opportunities for the studios and distributors, it's a shame titles like this get such a poor treatment on DVD.