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Fata Morgana (Mondo Macabro) Blu-ray Review

    Ian Jane

  • Fata Morgana (Mondo Macabro) Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Mondo Macabro
    Released on: July 9th, 2023.
    Director: Vicente Aranda
    Cast: Teresa Gimpera, Marianne Benet, Marcos Martí, Antonio Ferrandis
    Year: 1965
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    Fata Morgana – Movie Review:

    Also known as Left-Handed Fate, Vicente Aranda’s Fata Morgana, released in 1965, opens with some visuals that are taken straight out of a comic book, setting the tone for the pop art infused, genre bending thriller to come.

    Early in the film, a professor (Antonio Ferrandis) who is an expert on serial killers practices for an upcoming lecture he’s to deliver, emphasizing his prediction that soon a woman will be murdered in the city of Barcelona, noting that there are two types of people in the world – those born as killers, and those born as victims. He claims that, when given photographs of various murders, he’ll be able to use what he gleans from these photos to predict who will be the next to die.

    Enter a beautiful young woman named Gim (Teresa Gimpera), a high class fashion model by trade, who winds up working in a strangely barren Barcelona herself. While looking for her boyfriend, Alvara (Alberto Dalbés), she winds up on the receiving end of some harassment by a group of local men. This culminates in someone driving a giant truck with darkly tinted windows, obscuring the driver, following her for a stint. Whoever is driving the truck also has a speaker mounted to it through which an artificial and mechanical voice warns those within ear shot to get out of Barcelona as quickly as possible.

    When Gim arrives at Alvaro’s home and learns that his ex-girlfriend, Miriam (Marianne Benet), is staying there ever since getting back from a trip to London, she finds out that while she was there she had ties to a horrible event that took place there. Miriam, possibly losing her mind, while poking around in what Alvaro refers to as his “art chamber,” she comes across a knife disguised as a metallic, silver fish. While this is going on, some teenagers cut Gim’s image out of a billboard in town and begin carrying it around the city with them, not speaking to anyone about what they’re up to while Gim’s very existence winds up being called into question.

    A true mind-bender of a film, Fata Morgana work in elements of science fiction, surrealism, arthouse style, and thriller movie tropes with fantastic visuals and some pretty fun performances. Set to a killer jazz soundtrack, it’s paced well and consistently intriguing, even if sometimes you mind find yourself wondering just what exactly is going on here. But then, that’s half the fun. Teresa Gimpera looks great here, she’s a fine choice to play a fashion model as she has the right look for it. Her performance is strong, she really puts herself into the role, while supporting work from both Alberto Dalbés and especially Marianne Benet rounds things out nicely as far as the cast is concerned.

    Fata Morgana – Blu-ray Review:

    Fata Morgana arrives on Blu-ray from Mondo Macabro in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer taken from a new 2K restoration from the original negative framed at 1.78.1 widescreen on a region 50GB disc. This is, by any standard, a very nice looking presentation. Aside from a few white specks here and there, the image is spotless, though there isn’t any noticeable noise reduction and natural film grain is properly preserved. Depth and detail are very nice and colors look excellent. Black levels and skin tones are on point and the transfer shows no problems with any noise reduction or compression issues.

    The only audio option on the disc is a 16-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track in Spanish with optional subtitles provided in English only. Audio quality is just fine, with the track demonstrating properly balanced levels and clean clear dialogue. The score sounds good and there are no issues to note with any hiss or distortion.

    Extras start off with an audio commentary by Eurocult expert Rachael Nisbet where she goes into quite a bit of detail about Vicente Aranda’s life and career while exploring the quality of the work that he does on this picture. She also provides biographical information for pretty much all of the key cast and crew members, dissects some of the themes the movie deals in, discusses the comic book opening sequence, offers thoughts on the cinematography and use of music in the film and lots more.

    Up next is an interview with actress Teresa Gimpera that runs just over twenty-four minutes. In this piece, she talks about how she got her start as an actress, some of the early work that she did in the film industry, landing the role in this film, what it was like working with Vicente Aranda as well as her co-stars and how she feels about the movie overall. A nineteen minute interview with Angel Sala, director of the Sitges Film Festival, goes over the state of Spanish cinema, particularly genre cinema, when this film was made, some of Vicente Aranda’s contemporaries like Jess Franco, how Spanish genre films evolved over time and some of the themes and ideas that Fata Morgana toys with. Both of these are interesting and insightful.

    Finishing up the extras on the disc is a minute-long alternate opening sequence, menus and chapter selection options.

    Fata Morgana - The Final Word:

    Fata Morgana is a seriously entertaining thriller viewed through a comic book inspired pop art lens. Mondo Macabro’s Blu-ray release looks and sounds really nice and it contains a few decent extra features as well. Recommended!

    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized Fata Morgana Blu-ray screen caps!

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