The Vanquished (I Vinti)

Production Year: 1953
Release Date: 07/08/2014
Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
Studio: Raro Video

Raro has always had a nice eclectic lineup of colorful films, each releases (sometimes substantially) differing from the last. July's release of The Vanquished is no different, an early effort by italian director Michelangelo Antonioni, the film is an anthology of sorts following around a handful of characters that eventually commit murder.

The film is split up into three segments each taking place in a different country. The first is set in France and follows a group of middle class twenty-somethings who plan to and then succeed in killing a fellow friend. The second installment is the Italian segment and revolves around a small time crook who inadvertently commits homicide during a crime. The third and final short takes place in England and centers around a grisly discovery. While I've only seen a handful of Antonioni's offerings, it seems a central theme is present in a number of his films; How murder and corruption are becoming commonplace in a modern society.

While the on screen violence is minimal the director is still able to paint a very graphic picture, especially in the French segment; the ease the youths have in committing an atrocious act is alarming. While the film is sixty years old, that notion definitely has some true relevance today, in a society where a boy in his early 20's kills a handful of people because he doesn't have a girlfriend. I think it's safe to say that Michelangelo definitely had his finger on the pulse.

Unfortunately with this release the picture quality of the blu-ray has a been a thing of controversy. Before the film starts we are warned that the transfer was a combination of a few different surviving prints, so the quality will vary. Some spots of the film do look decent with strong detail, however some portions of the film look cloudy, crowded with print damage. It does make for a bit of an uneven viewing, though even with the patch-work transfer the film never succeeds in becoming "unwatchable."

The audio does fare a little bit better with a semi-solid 2.0 lossless track. The language present changes based upon the segments location (French, Italian, English) and the dialogue is always clear and never hindered by the score.

Interview with Turi Vasile (12:53 SD) - An interview with the producer of the film.

Interview with Franco Interlenghi (10:23 SD) - An interview with the actor that portrayed Claudio.

Italy (30:07 HD) - The uncut Italy segment that was screened at the Venice Film Festival.

Tentato Suicidio (22:47 HD) - A short film from the director.

As with most Raro releases The Vanquished includes a slipcase and a booklet. Raro is a very director-centric label, the slipcase has a profile shot and name on the spine. The booklet is eight pages and is handled by Stefania Parigi this time around.

Even though the transfer is plagued with a few issues, The Vanquished remains a release I would recommend to those who do not own it. Would I recommend the upgrade? Good question. As the print never succeeds in being a solid high definition presentation an upgrade is something I would not recommend. The film itself is enjoyable and Antonioni is always a very compitent story teller, it's an great little peice if international cinema.

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