Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Blu Bilitis

Fingers crossed, folks; the search for a definitive Bilitis may finally be over. On the second of October, German DVD company Alive are scheduled to release Bilitis on blu-ray. It would take a lot of nerve to issue the lousy sourced-from-VHS transfers we've been living with up 'till now onto blu-ray, and Alive is a pretty credible company, so it feels safe to assume this is going to be a proper restoration taken from a 35mm print, if not an original camera negative... though of course there's no knowing that for sure at this stage.

There's no artwork yet (hey, October is a long way away still), but their official website promises us 1080p and, intriguingly, a "Making Of" feature. All of this is very promising news, but I can't help but notice that the only language option they list is "Deutsch DTS-HD 2.0" audio.  Now, it's certainly possible that, since the release is still so far off, additional specs are pending for this release. But while fans may be divided on whether the French or English is the preferable audio track, I think we can all agree just having the German dub would be really disappointing. Furthermore, since there's no mention of any subtitles, we non-German speakers may be well left out in the cold completely with this release.

Still, there's a lot to hope for here. It would seem easy enough for this company to throw on the other audio and subtitle tracks, even if they don't bother to remaster them into nice, lossless tracks, to bring in our international collector dollars. And, even if they don't... once a high quality master has been struck, there's a good chance another company in a different region will license it to release the film on blu to their market. Hopefully an English-speaking one.

So there's nothing for it but to wait and see at the moment. In the meantime, pre-orders are already up at Amazon.de.

3 comments:

Daniel Barrero Ondarroa said...

Amazon.de has updated the upcoming Bilitis preoder with the covers for both the DVD and Bluray versions. For what it's advertised on the covers it seems that a digital restoration has been done to the film, which is good news, although we still don't know if an english or french track is going to be included.

Daniel Barrero Ondarroa said...

Very goods news about the Bilitis BluRay!!
Information has been updated on this release and there has been some modifications. First of all a French DTS-HD 2.0 is included as well as german subtitles. Sadly it seems we are losing the english version but having the french one is a great relief.
Second, the "making of" feature has been removed and instead of this, we are given a reversible cover. The trailer gallery continues to be there, but I assume this will offer trailers of other releases but not the Bilitis one, since there are not existing trailers for this film.
And the most important one, Amazon.de, shows for the first time exclusive screenshots of the BluRay version of Bilitis. And, yes! it has been properly restored and remastered and the results are marvelous. I haven't seen this theatrically but I really doubt a better work could have been done with this restoration. Even the original aspect ratio of 1.66:1 is kept. Cinematographic grain is present and no sign of DNR is apparently shown. This is just a first appreciation and we will have to wait to see it in motion for more reliable conclusions.
I still can't believe my eyes and I feel extremely happy about this. It has been a very long wait after so many awful DVD releases...
I would like to thank to everyone in the german team who has carried out this amazing work.
I really thought I would never see this.

John W McKelvey said...

Very promising! Now that the restoration's done, worst case scenario, it can be used for another company's release or even fan made dubs. I've actually just contacted Alive today about the prospect of English audio and/or subtitles, though, so fingers crossed!

And I'm not too fussed about that 'making of;' since I never figured they'd really be making anything original anyway. At best I thought maybe they were licensing that Breillat interview from the Pathfinder disc, or a little featurette on their own restoration (though either of those would be most welcome).

But a restored Bilitis with the French audio is already very exciting.