Living and the Dead (The) AKA Zivi i mrtvi
R2 - United Kingdom - Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Samuel Scott (25th October 2013).
The Film

***This is a technical review only. For reviews on the movie from various critics, we recommend visiting HERE.***

1943: A platoon of war weary Domobran soldiers prepares to defend a strategically valuable strip of land from outside forces wishing to invade the independent Croat state.

1993: A squadron of HVO soldiers from the Bosnian Croat Army battles to defend its homeland in the bloody Yugoslavian Civil War.

Fifty years apart these two armies are fighting to defend exactly the same land. Although fighting for two different causes they are walking the same well trodden path and share the same motivations and ideologies. As they move toward a haunting and symbolically important cemetery can either escape the inevitable bloody end and break a cycle stretching back hundreds of years?

The winner of 15 international film awards this powerful war film has a unique style seamlessly blending two parallel narratives toward one ultimately explosive finale.


Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment have released the critically acclaimed Croatian movie The Living and the Dead onto DVD in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The lighting is generally quite dark throughout the entire film and this does have an adverse affect on the transfer. Detail isn't particularly good, and shadow detail is practically non-existent. There was quite a bit of edge enhancement and aliasing throughout and the forced subtitles had a strange blur around them that also affected the general quality of the transfer at the bottom of the screen. Colours are okay, but lacks a sense of clarity among the various dark greens and blacks, and I did notice some crushing at times. Natural grain is present throughout the entirety of the feature, and is never overbearing. There are no scratches or signs of dirt present.

The feature runs 87:20.


There are two audio tracks available:
- Croatian Dolby Digital 5.1
- Croatian Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo

I opted for the 5.1 option for my viewing, and it was adequate, but ultimately uninspiring. Although there are effects fired through the rears, such as gunfire, footsteps, and even random dogs barking, it's the score that makes the most use of the surrounds. The channel separation is average at best, and sometimes an effect that should be via one speaker, makes an appearance in two, giving a false sense of direction. Still, dialogue is clear at all times and there are no signs of any sort of damage in the print such as scratches, dropouts or background hiss.

Subtitles are available in English, and they are forced.


Start-up Trailers:
- "31 North 62 East" (1:04)
- "Pontypool" (1:26)
- "Winter in Wartime" (1:51)


The Film: C+ Video: C- Audio: C+ Extras: E Overall: C


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