Francis Coppola’s Tetro (2009/Lionsgate Blu-ray + DVD)
B/B- Sound: B/B- Extras: B- Film: B-
Coppola’s comeback with personal films continues with Tetro, a semi-autobiographical feature that once again has him in
the territory of dealing with family.
Released in 2009, it was not seen as much as it should have been and now
is on Blu-ray and DVD from Lionsgate.
His third major black and white feature since establishing himself as an
auteur, it is his first monochrome movie since 1983’s Rumble Fish, but he decides to use the approach for a personal
screenplay and not a literary adaptation.
Gallo is the title character, though he also has another name, but he does not
want to use it or be called it. He wants
to forget, but his younger brother Bennie (Alden Ehrenreich, practically
channeling a young Leonardo DiCaprio) visits and becomes the return of the
repressed. This forces Tetro to deal
with his personal pain, his problematic relationship with his musically,
artistically successful father (Klaus Maria Brandauer) and his future. Tetro’s girlfriend Miranda (Maribel Verdu)
gets caught in the midst of it all.
longings of energy in the face of aging in Youth
Without Youth (reviewed elsewhere on this site), this is much different
work with a higher energy level and pace that will remind many of Coppola’s
earlier works. You can see how he
handles family in a uniquely natural way, in part because he is an autuer, but
there is also a sense he is repeating himself a bit even if it is in minor
ways. The cast is great, the look of the
feature just fine down to the locations, clothes & sets and that makes it
three solid features in 12 years for the master filmmaker.
little new ground is broken, very personal thoughts and feelings are expressed
and sometimes boldly so when you think about the man who made this. When it comes to Italian families, Coppola
tends to be less gritty than Martin Scorsese (though I am not suggesting some
absurd dichotomy like Northern Italy/Southern Italy or Los Angeles/New York),
but also takes place in more serene space that somehow finds sound in
quietness. That too is all over Tetro, which is another reason you
should see it.
digital High Definition image offers various aspect ratios, but what is amazing
here is how good this 1080p/24 High Definition shoot looks. The color footage is 1.85 X 1 and looks
somewhat like HD, but the black and white that makes up the majority of what
you see is amazing, especially when compared to the black and white film of Good Night & Good Luck (commercial
black & white film with no silver content) or the black & white scenes
in the HD-shot The Mist that did not
quite pull off the real black & white look Coppola and Director of
Photography Mihai Malaimare Jr. (from Youth
Without Youth) pull off here; superior to both productions. This looks like real black and white film
with silver and the Video Black is amazing throughout. Not easy to pull off, it is a landmark in
such HD production, but only a genius like Coppola with his superior experience
with all kinds of film could have pulled it off. The anamorphically enhanced DVD also looks
good for the format, but cannot match the Blu-ray in its richness.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on the Blu-ray has the usual great
sound design we always get from any Coppola film, made even better by Walter
Murch, who also edited the image. Osvaldo Goliljov also offers another effective
score. The result is a pure cinematic
experience and note the use of silence as effective as any of the advanced
sound design giving us one of the smartest sound mixes of the year and any
serious film fan and/or home theater fan needs to get this Blu-ray just for the
DTS. The Dolby Digital 5.1 on the DVD is
also not bad, but cannot compete against the DTS on the Blu-ray despite its
articulation, it is just too limited.
both format versions include full end credits, six featurettes (Osvaldo Goliljov: Music Born From The Film,
Mihai Malaimare Jr.: The Cinematography,
The Ballet, The Rehearsal Process, La
Colifata: Siempre Fui Loco, Fausta: A
Drama In Verse) and another great feature length audio commentary track by
Coppola, this time joined by Ehrenreich.
- Nicholas Sheffo