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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Official Story
The Official Story
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Review by Chuck Arrington | posted March 19, 2000 | E-mail the Author
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THE OFFICAL STORY Synopsis: Think Chile under the regime of Umberto Pinoche and the atrocities visited upon the Chilean people and you'll get a fairly close representation of the overall feel of this Argentinean film. After seeing a demonstration by Los Desaparecidos or the "disappeared ones", a wealthy teacher begins to question the origins of her adopted daughter. Her life is full of all the joys & carelessness a socialite would seem to enjoy however, this bothers her peace of mind. As she begins to investigate where her daughter may have come from, she is met with disapproval & disappointment in the way of closed doors locked files & an utter lack of information regarding her daughter's adoption. To make matters worse, it would appear that her husband's business is not above board. He may actually be involved in the very lucrative and highly illegal business ,of operating "baby mills". Faced with these horrors, she becomes evermore determined to find out where her daughter came from & what part her husband played in her daughter's delivery to her home. Even if it costs her all the wealth & privilege she's attained.

Audio: The audio for the feature is presented in both the original Spanish, and in mono. The subtitles are a part of the actual print of the movie and therefore cannot be turned off. When the film begins the subs appear. Like the previous Fox Lorber title, Martin Guerre, the audio platform as presented was pretty poorly rendered. The score and language tracks are so muddy that you really have to pay attention to the subs to figure out what's going on.

Video: The video like the audio is pretty awful. Actually, the video as presented in this feature is much worse than the Martin Guerre disc. If you can imagine trying to watch a UHF channel that's just out of your service range with all the noise and horrible video, then your close to just how awfully presented this film is. The menu screen is incredibly well done considering the rest of the feature. It's animated however, there is no audio playing over the menu. Again, an absolutely bad rendering hampers a pretty decent story. The transfer is far to dark throughout most of the film, there are a great deal of scratches, black markings & flecks and all of this goes to making the film marginally watchable. With transfers like this coming out of Fox Lorber, we'll be back to videotapes in no time.

Extras: There are production notes and award listings for the feature but that's it.

Overall: I am a great fan of International cinema and have expected a great deal more than these films have given. The Official Story is a film that if presented better, would be worth watching. It's really not that bad a title but, its poor rendering knocks it out of the box for any kind of extended viewing. The whole point of DVD is to get the best picture, additional information and rendering available. If this is the best they can do , then Fox Lorber shouldn't be in the business of making discs. Both of their titles (Martin Guerre & this one) were incredibly poorly mastered & transferred. Given the inexcusable way in which these films are being presented again I say, rent the VHS tape, you'll probably get a better picture.

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