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Carla's Song (Blu-ray)

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    mandymanslaughter
    Junior Member

  • Carla's Song



    Released by: Twilight Time
    Released on: May 12, 2015
    Director: Ken Loach
    Cast: Robert Carlyle, Oyanka Cabezas, Scott Glenn, Salvador Espinoza, Louise Goodall
    Year: 1996
    Purchase From Screen Archives

    The Movie:

    Carla's Song is a heartwarming film by Ken Loach that travels over continents and cultures, all in the name of exploration of true love. The film feels organic and genuine in its mission, leaving the viewer feeling emotionally raw along with the characters. Loach accomplishes a vivid depiction of two very separate worlds: European development in the late eighties time of excess, and suffering post-colonial Central America. Twilight Time put out this limited edition (to 3000 copies) Blu-ray release.

    The story opens with a bus driver, George Lennox (Robert Carlyle), in Scotland who seems content in his routine life. That routine is shaken up when he meets Carla (Oyanka Cabezas), a Nicaraguan exile who has taken flight to Glasgow. She enters his bus without paying, which gains the attention of a police officer. As he is harassing Carla, George comes to her aid. From there, the pair forms a special bond, complicated by Carla's elusiveness and refusal to answer George's questions.

    George soon learns that life in Scotland is anything but routine for Carla, who is extremely isolated and saddened by all that she left behind in Nicaragua. Haunting her are letters from those back home, a missing boyfriend, and scars on her back. George is determined to save her from her troubling past in order to, in turn, save their developing love. In order to do so, they must return to Central America and revisit her past.

    In Nicaragua, Carla and George encounter Carla's friend Bradley (Scott Glenn), a grumpy American who ironically there to provide aid at a time when the U.S. was supporting a war against the Nicaraguan people. Bradley perpetuates the mystery of where Carla's missing boyfriend is. George and Carla navigate the war torn country to find her family and find answers to what has been following her across the world. Once the answers have been found, George and Carla must face some new questions of what their future holds.

    While the story rings as truthful and poignant, the film ping pongs between filmmaking styles. At times it feels like a documentary, and at others it strikes as a constructed drama. The divide between life in Glasgow and the trip to Nicaragua feels as violent to the viewer as it does to George himself, with a complete change in tone and character development. There is some politicized anger that Loach seems to have injected into his direction, and the argument against colonialism is brazen in showing its aftereffects. Yet at the end of Carla's Song, the audience reconciles the entire film as being a story of love and loss, despite opposing film styles and political commentary.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Carla's Song on Blu-ray is presented in 1080p HD, 1.66:1 aspect ratio. The picture quality is well preserved in this transfer with very few flaws. There is a nice grain to the film, with a few burns and flickers throughout. Colors are muted and mostly in the brown and blue family, which is fitting for both settings of Scotland and Nicaragua. There are some moments of visual interest throughout the film, notably in Scotland when George and Carla take the bus to a picturesque mountainside and in Nicaragua, when the Contras attack a small village in the night.

    The audio in Carla's Song features a DTS Master Audio 2.0 mix in English with no subtitle option, although some subtitles are present in the film during Spanish speaking scenes. Dialogue is for the most part clear and supported in the mix; however, it is a bit hard to understand at times due to heavy accents. Carla's music and the music of Nicaragua provide some interesting dynamics to the mix, along with some gunfire and explosions. All in all, the mix has no audible flaws and matches the quality of the film.

    The Blu-ray release features an isolated music & effects track and audio commentary with director Ken Loach and screenwriter Paul Laverty. Also featured are the original theatrical trailer and deleted scenes. The trailer isn't the best quality but is a good introduction to what you will see on the film. The deleted scenes are some of the least redundant I've seen feature on a disc in awhile. There is the introduction of George's family, which was entirely cut from the film, and some other back-story moments that aren't necessarily missed in the movie but is an interesting addition.

    Bottom Line:

    Carla's Song is a wonderful tale of a love that reaches over borders and cultures. The film introduces some 90s feelings of criticism and political anger over America's interference with other country's civil wars. These feelings do not overshadow the central story of Carla and George, but they do complicate Loach's direction and style choice at times. Carla's Song may not be a must see, but would make a great addition to a collection and does not disappoint.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!




















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