Baaria is the
acclaimed 2009 theatrical effort from renowned
filmmaker Giuseppe Tornatore (Cinema Paradiso). Baaria
as Bagheria) is a small Sicilian town which is both the setting of the
well as one of the main subjects of the storyline. Filmmaker Tornatore
in Baaria and dreamed of one day approaching the idea of community
of his feature films in such a way as to address the feelings evoked
time settings. This semi-autobiographical and certainly compassionate
memory lane for Tornatore and brings viewers into his unique vision of
community growing, changing, and learning through moments of love,
and ultimately through the power of hope.
character is Peppino Torrenuova (Francesco Scianna), whom audiences
acquainted with through years of childhood, adulthood, and even old age
the youthful Peppino performed by the young child actors Giovanni
Davide Viviani). This is a character full of vibrancy and ambition who
changing environment with a passion for politics that paves the way for
many years of life. Peppino falls in love with the beautiful Mannina
Made), who was also someone who grew up in Baaria. Their relationship
many high points (the first dance, their eloping, and the birth of
while also facing struggles as Peppino faces difficulties in finding
while wanting to support his own political goals which sadly lead him
the family for great lengths of time.
that unfolds in Baaria focuses intently on these characters
and paints a portrait of changing times, politics, ideals, and even of
town. Yet perhaps the biggest goal of
the film is to give a simple "slice of life" view of moments in time
the passage of time can affect an individual's life. This element is
important to the narrative and is successfully established through some
styled scenes towards the end of the film which all fit into place
with an incredibly powerful scene at the end that suggests life is
challenging but with beauty, meaning, and hope it is possible
to find a deeper understanding of ourselves through our own reflections
has crafted an ambitious film that is unquestionably epic in scope.
upon a foundation of personal experiences and knowledge of cinematic
as love, friendship, hardships, and growth is a screenplay that covers
range of storytelling models with a delicate approach to
amidst the enveloping landscape of Baaria. The entire film is,
essence, a reflection upon the past. It works as both a story that
rich complexities of life and as something that simply aims to bring
a view of a course taken in life itself.
filled to the brim with great performances from
actors in early large roles and with famed actors sharing their talents
supporting characters in a unique and also fascinating way. The
by Enrico Lucidi is exquisite. It's such a lush looking film visually
Tornatore has brought forth an incredible vision of this Sicilian town
working with Lucidi. Film editing by Massimo Quaglia may be one of the
elements as certain cuts seem a bit too brief and occasionally to the
of the storytelling. Music is by the great Ennio Morricone, which is no
surprise considering the very collaborative nature of Tornatore and
working together. Morricone has once again delivered a great score in
with his vibrant filmmaker friend, and has crafted some stirring themes
are emotionally poetic and grand in structure.
be difficult to try to explain to new
audiences without referring to the fact that its biggest aim is to
a flow of time and how an individual can be affected by time. The story
unravels in many directions at once and things can sometimes seem less
with concerns over a specific aspect of storytelling than with the big
of portraying a life. While the film may
not manage to be in the exact same league as the classic Cinema
still manages to be emotionally engaging and incredibly well made from
beginning to end and fans of Giuseppe Tornatore will certainly want to
to uncover the magic it holds.
is presented on Blu-ray disc
with a 1:78:1
framed 1080p transfer. This is unfortunate
considering the fact that the original aspect ratio was 2.35:1 (a
difference from the scope presented on this release). This will
as a major disappointment to fans of Tornatore who understand how
cinematography is in relation to seeing the full vision of the
image quality also has poor black levels which can impact certain
scenes in a decidedly
uneven manner (especially for night sequences). Otherwise, colors are
strong and the overall image is both clean and smooth in its
included audio option for Baaria is a 5.1
surround sound DTS-HD
Master Audio Italian track that preserves the original language.
subtitles are provided. The audio was clean and with dialogue that is
understand and follow. A high number of scenes have strong directional
effects that are used well throughout the film. While bass doesn't have
the strong presence one might initially expect the film does have a
pleasing, and successful sound environment that adds much to the
the included extras for Baaria
presented in 480i Standard Definition with LPCM stereo
and with English subtitles.
prominent extra is a Director's Audio
Commentary (with English subtitles) that provides some insights
Tornatore's vision for the film along with relevant information in
the actual process undertaken in crafting Baaria. Fans of
the filmmaker might consider this essential
listening as the writer/director is easy to listen to and has an
passion for his craft that is entertaining and delightful.
the Scenes (29:34)
is a backstage look at the making of the
film. While there is some footage of filming Baaria the
majority of the feature is concerned with
showcasing interviews with Tornatore and various actors who worked on
production. It isn't the most informative extra as far as actually
demonstrating the creative process but those interview segments do
some insightful comments nonetheless.
is an inside look at the premiere event at
the Venice Film Festival and it showcases a Question & Answer
the director and lead actors answering questions regarding working on
This piece also highlights an interview with Ennio Morricone that is
worthwhile for those who appreciate his scores.
Conversation with Giuseppe Tornatore by Mario Sesti (25:51)
is an interview with the director in which he discusses the
importance of sound design and editing that should fascinate those
about his approach to these aspects of filmmaking.
offers a few brief scenes that were ultimately
cut from the film.
and Poster (:50) Galleries present images relevant
Trailer (2:00) is the last extra
included on this release.
director Giuseppe Tornatore crafting an
extremely large canvas of his ideas and thoughts on the town he was
born in and
on the importance of recognizing the time in life. The script is well
the direction confident, and the score sublime. Fans of the filmmaker
to experience this unique and memorable vision. Alas, Image's Blu-ray
features a transfer in the incorrect aspect ratio and that will surely
difficult to ignore for some viewers. Recommended.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.