Penny Slinger: Out of the Shadows (Blu-ray) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - United Kingdom - Anti-Worlds Releasing
Review written by and copyright: Rick Curzon (20th September 2020).
The Film

The incredible, untold story of the British artist Penny Slinger and the traumatic events that led to the creation of her masterpiece, the 1977 photo-romance, An Exorcism.

Coming of age against a backdrop of post-war austerity and the subsequent explosion of colour that characterised the 1960s counterculture, Slinger embraced her generationís quest for personal freedom and sexual liberation, and channelled these desires into her ground-breaking collages, sculptures, and films (including collaborations with Jane Arden and Peter Whitehead). So powerful was her vision that fifty years later her work is still influencing contemporary artists.

Video

Evocative documentary about the UK erotic artist Penny Slinger (born 1947).

Typical of documentaries this is a mashup of pre-existing footage in both black and white and colour, stills (again, monochrome and colour) and pristine, newly digitally shot talking heads interviews. Interviews have a naturalistic, slightly contrasty but warm palette with healthy flesh tones. Colours burst off the screen when Slinger's artwork is shown; clean, well defined and with no bleeding.

Black levels are inky and stygian with plenty of shadow detail and no signs of unintended crush. Contrast is layered on the new material allowing detail to shine through and the imagery certainly gives the encode a workout; it handled everything extremely well but we've come to expect only the best from Fidelity in Motion.

The vintage material varies in image quality with much of it seemingly deliberately degraded (35mm, 16mm, Super 8?) due to artistic intentions and also a little due to age. The film itself, that is to say the new material, has no signs of damage at all. The other vintage stuff obviously does to a degree. I can see no signs of digital tinkering and as has been said, the encode is peerless.

To sum up, a top notch image beautifully handled.

1080/24p / MPEG-4 AVC / 1.78:1 / 98:17

Audio

English LPCM 2.0 Stereo
Subtitles: English HoH

A decent but fairly basic stereo track that's not encoded for surround sound. I played the film through my Sony firstly through A.F.D. Auto which means you hear the sound as it's encoded on the disc; the sound field remained in the front with some mild separation left and right; mainly the score with dialogue in the centre. When I switched over to HD-D.C.S. (Set to studio) the sound field was opened up so that the score and ambient sounds were relegated to the surround channels with some steering left and right. It's a robust track that gets it's job done, which is namely to lend depth to the experience of watching this documentary; to create a mood. Even with the surround channels this is a very front-centric track. Not ambitious but moody and evocative.

Hard of hearing subtitles are very well done and comprehensive.

Extras

Audio commentary with director Richard Kovitch (2020)

Kovitch started "working" on this film circa 2012 when he saw an exhibition of Slinger's work and so thus does this track commence. It took approximately four years to shoot. This is a dense and fairly typical yaktrak albeit one which is more staid than the ones I usually hear on the mainstream films I cover. It's more from an artistic occasionally academic point of view; dealing with the director's inspirations and Slinger's career.

"Conversations in the Desert: An Audience with Penny Slinger" 2020 featurette (50:02)

Straightforward document of an onstage Q&A in which Slinger discusses many aspects of her life, her career etc.

"Return to Lilford Hall" 2020 short film (4:46)
"An Exorcism: A Private View" 2019 short film (20:15)


A couple of short films from Richard Kovitch; the first focusses on Lilford Hall; an important place both in Slinger's work and in Kovitch's film about her. The second film is a a record of Slinger's "An Exorcism". Image is crisp and excellent.

">BTWN x Performance< Lizzie Bougatsos + Kim Gordon x Penny Slinger >BTWN< Public Programming That Happens Between Regularly Scheduled Shows: Blum & Poe, Los Angeles August 8 2019 " 2019 featurette (33:49)

Interesting mix of live music set to Slinger's collages and art.

Theatrical Trailer (1:25)

Standard promo piece.

Live from Miskatonic Trailer (0:58)

Promo piece for Slinger's appearance at the Miskatonic Institute.

36-page liner notes booklet containing new writing on the film by Chris Campion, an interview with Penny Slinger by Richard Kovitch, analyses of Slingerís artworks by Alissa Clarke and Patricia Allmer, and film credits

Comprehensive hard copy companion to the film. As always with both Anti-Worlds and Powerhouse Films releases these booklets are fabulous.

Packaging

Standard clear Blu-ray case.

Overall

Top not h image and decent sound with a nice collection of contextual added value extras make for a lively package for those so inclined to buy.

The Film: B- Video: A+ Audio: B+ Extras: A Overall: A

 


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