Sebastiane: Remastered Edition [Blu-ray]
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The film takes some liberties with the historical/legendary Sebastian, who was never exiled to a remote outpost, and incredibly who was supposed not to have died from the arrows with which he was famously shot - how Emperor Diocletian ordered him killed, and how the film ends - but rather from a second execution when he was clubbed to death. Although the film works brilliantly on many levels - cinematic, psychological, spiritual, aesthetic, even political - what may strike you first is the vividness and authenticity of the ancient world it depicts. Despite an over-the-top prologue at the glitteringly decadent court of Diocletian, and its strategic use of famous Renaissance paintings of St. Sebastian (by Mantegna, Reni, etc.) in the final scene, this film feels like lived experience.
Shot on location in Sardinia, every well-worn costume and dusty prop seems genuine.Read more ›
This film is NOT for the easily offended. There are massive amounts of male nudity here, but it's shown as natural, which it is. Essential viewing for Jarman fans (or which I include myself).
As for the Blu Ray, however, there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that, even the highly-reputable Kino International wasn't able to completely restore this to breath-taking beauty. There are still a goodly number of flickers and grain and other signs of damage. My guess is that this is probably 90% due to the source material and the fact that the film was shot in only 16mm as opposed to the typical 35mm.
But the good news is that this is probably the best Sebastiane is ever going to look. There are considerable moments of glossy scenery and fine detail that makes 1080p fans swoon, and, just as importantly, there's the fact that it is released uncut in its original 1.66:1 format. The last time I watched the movie it was streamed online and the aspect ratio had been trimmed, unintentionally censoring many scenes.
Overall: as long as you purchase this with the knowledge that the picture quality won't compare to the many flawless restorations done by Kino, you shouldn't been disappointed. It is still 100x better than any previous release and I doubt the flaws are a matter of laziness on the restoration process, but unfortunately due to permanent damage. The movie itself is certainly a classic and would make a proud addition to your collection. The only other down-side is the fact that there are zero bonus features, which is very surprising given the historical importance of the film. If I thought another edition would be released in the next 10+ years I might recommend waiting, but since I highly doubt that, I say go for it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good example for Gay people... It is all about Love not fight...Published 11 months ago by Willie Mitchell
Aside from the opening sequence, this film serves as that rare example of movie featuring male nudity that rises above porn into art. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Clayton
What a bizarre piece of trash. Absolutely no plot or coherent dialogue. The soldiers training looked like a Monty Python skit. Cheesy production values. Read morePublished 12 months ago by MS
I watched it twice... about 6 months apart. I watched it again because there were certain elements of the film that I enjoyed. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Taylor