Carla's Song (Blu-ray) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - United Kingdom - Powerhouse Films
Review written by and copyright: Rick Curzon (10th April 2021).
The Film

The first collaboration between director Ken Loach and screenwriter Paul Laverty – a relationship which now extends to fifteen feature films and shorts, including My Name Is Joe and I, Daniel Blake – Carla’s Song tells the story of George (Robert Carlyle, Trainspotting), a Glaswegian bus driver, and Carla (Oyanka Cabezas), a Nicaraguan refugee. Set in 1987, the film follows the pair as they meet, fall in love, and travel to Nicaragua in search of Carla’s former lover, a possible victim of the civil war.

Video

Ken Loach and his cinematographer Barry Ackroyd favour a naturalistic but fairly rich colour palette that's not afraid of of solid primaries when required but isn't going to rival Flash Gordon any time soon. Flesh tones are warm with no bleed and black levels are great delivering a true black look with decent amounts of shadow detail and no unintended crush; contrast is supportive.

I saw no signs of digital manipulation in the master but the image isn't one of massive punch and depth but one of subtler charms; grainy but soft, delivering a fairly filmic appearance but one rooted in the '90s. It has that halfway look between the gritty yet grainy '80s and the flatter, brighter look of the early 2000s. The encode is about as good as can be so Channel 4's HD master looks as good as it can shy of a 4K overhaul.

1080/24p / AVC MPEG-4 / BD50 / 1.66:1 / 110:39

Audio

English / Spanish LPCM 2.0 Surround
Subtitles: English HoH, English for Spanish dialogue

Although LPCM, this soundtrack is encoded for surrounds when played through my amp set to straight / direct / AFD Auto (Auto Format Direct). Given the nature of this heavily dramatic character drama we have an active, immersive soundfield displaying ambiance and score. Crowd and club / pub scenes offer the most surround activity early on and later the scenes in war-torn Nicaragua offer plenty of material for the rear channels and the subwoofer. Dialogue is always clear - provided one can navigate the Glaswegian accent in some scenes! Subtitles for the hearing impaired are essentials.

Extras

Audio commentary with director Ken Loach and screenwriter Paul Laverty (2005)

Comprehensive, trivia filled 2005 commentary; Loach and Laverty are a chatty couple of old mates; lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo.

"An Extraordinary Thing: Producer Sally Hibbin on Carla's Song" 2021 interview (18:05)
"Background to the Art: Art Director Fegus Clegg on Carla's Song" 2021 interview (13:42)
"Tuning in to Nicaragua: Composer George Fenton on Carla's Song" 2021 interview (9:57)
"Sounds of Music: Sound Recordist Ray Beckett on Carla's Song" 2021 interview (9:43)
"Keeping Up Appearances: Script Supervisor Susanna Lenton on Carla's Song" 2021 interview (9:31)
"Two Worlds Collide: Editor Jonathan Morris on Carla's Song" 2021 interview (8:24)


Six excellent featurettes totalling 69:22 which collectively form a nice retrospective documentary. 1080/24p 1.78:1 with lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound.

Deleted Scenes (11:41)

Some of the material deleted from the 125 minute theatrical cut in 1080/24p 1.66:1 with lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound.

Theatrical Trailer (2:02)

Vintage promo in 1080/24p 1.66:1 with lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound.

Carla's Song Image Gallery: Original Promotional Material (46 images)

Solid HD gallery.

36-page liner notes booklet by Michael Pattison, Paul Laverty on Carla’s Song, an account of screening the film in Nicaragua, Ken Loach on recutting the film, an overview of contemporary critical responses and film credits

Typically excellent and chunky booklet that offers the usual superb contextual added value.

Packaging

Standard clear BD Keepcase.

Overall

Powerhouse Films have taken a decent if older off the shelf master and presented it on it's best behaviour with a top notch encode. Extras are extensive and comprehensive offering massive amounts of contextual added value. String image and sound quality so highly recommended for those so inclined.

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

 


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