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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.78:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English - Hearing Impaired
  Extras
  • Theatrical trailer

For Love or Country

Roadshow Entertainment/Roadshow Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 115 mins . M . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Arturo Sandoval is a very talented trumpet player and composer. He is classically trained, but loves the jazz of Afro-American greats such as Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. Unfortunately for Arturo he lives in Cuba, a Cuba where the only music performed is the music approved by the Castro regime. Arturo is successful, he has toured the world performing with the Cuban Orchestra of Modern Music, but it is always the music of the state. He is bored and disillusioned and like some of his fellow band members, he wants to be free to play any and all music.

Arturo is about to leave on a new tour, during which he plans to defect, but as fate would have it the day before leaving, he meets and falls in love with a beautiful woman named Marianela. Their attraction is strong and despite her assertion that Arturo should not see her again, he seeks her out upon his return. Their relationship grows and the two are soon married and have a child together.

Arturo continues to play with the state orchestra for a time, but when he can stand it no longer he leaves with the intention of forming his own band. In order to play the music that he loves Arturo must disguise it and so he creates a new sound that melds traditional Cuban sounds with the sounds and beats of jazz and classical music. His new band is named Irakere and it is immediately a hit. This success brings with it the attention of the state and he is soon forbidden to perform, with pressure being brought to bear on him to comply with the wishes of the government.

During this time, Dizzy Gillespie arrives in Cuba and is taken to see Arturo in action. He is impressed with his ability and the two strike up a close friendship. It is through Gillespie that Arturo is given the opportunity to escape from Cuba and to play his music throughout the world. His escape will not be easy, he has a family to consider and the repercussions of his actions could be grave for those that he leaves behind.

  Video
Contract

A nice looking 16x9 enhanced transfer that overall features a good level of sharpness and reveals plenty of fine detail. There are some lapses in focus but these look to be source material related rather than transfer related issues. This transfer features a natural palette of well balanced colours that seem faithful to the time in which the story is set. The blacks in this transfer are nice and strong and shadow detail is pretty good. Skins tones look good, although I did spot some minor posterization in some scenes. It gives the light shadow on cheek bones a slightly digital appearance.

The print that was used for this transfer isn't what I'd call clean. Film artefacts appear throughout the movie and are obvious in a couple of scenes, although I didn't find them distracting. There are a few examples of aliasing but all are minor and likely to be overlooked during normal viewing. If you look very closely (and I mean VERY closely) you can see some macro blocking in very dark parts of the screen, but as I stated earlier, these transfer issues are pretty hard to spot under normal viewing conditions.

This transfer makes use of some historical footage as well as simulated footage taken with an early black and white video camera. Obviously there is film grain and noise in the image during these periods, as you would expect. There is also some visible film grain in the main footage as well.

There is no layer change as the entire movie has been stored on a DVD5 disc.

  Audio
Contract

Given that this drama focuses on the music of Arturo Sandoval, it is fortunate that the audio transfer is of such high quality. What we get is a maximum bit rate Dolby Digital 5.1 track that is always clear and has a nice open and generally immersive soundscape.

The rear speakers are used in a patchy manner. During the many concert scenes they are well used to add reverb or echo giving a nice live sound to the music. In other scenes they carry ambient sounds, but at a level that is generally too low to be truly effective.

The subwoofer is also used in the support of the music and is well integrated into the overall soundscape.

  Extras
Contract

Theatrical Trailer

Your standard two odd minute trailer that looks and sounds fine. What more can I say?

  Overall  
Contract

A nice "docu-drama" with a nicely balanced script, good production values and a solid cast. The DVD features good audio and video transfers.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=1074
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      And I quote...
    "A solid 'based on the life of' drama about a man's struggle to balance artistic freedom with the safety of his wife and family in Castro's Cuba."
    - Michael Chappell
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Loewe Xenix 5006DD
    • DVD Rom:
          Pioneer 105(s)
    • MPEG Card:
          RealMagic Hollywood Plus
    • TV:
          Grundig MW82-50/8 IDTV 16:9
    • Receiver:
          Denon AVR-2801
    • Speakers:
          Tannoy Mercury M4
    • Centre Speaker:
          Tannoy Mercury MC
    • Surrounds:
          Tannoy Mercury M1
    • Subwoofer:
          Aaron SUB-120
    • Audio Cables:
          Monster Lightspeed 100
    • Video Cables:
          ConCord SCART
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