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Four 1950's icons meet in the same hotel room and two of them discover more in common between them than they ever anticipated.
For more about Insignificance and the Insignificance Blu-ray release, see Insignificance Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on June 9, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Gary Busey, Tony Curtis, Theresa Russell, Will Sampson, Patrick Kilpatrick, Jude Ciccolella
Director: Nicolas Roeg
» See full cast & crew
Insignificance Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, June 9, 2011
Nominated for the prestigious Palme d'Or Award and winner of Technical Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, Nicolas Roeg's "Insignificance" (1985) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion. The supplemental features on the disc include the film's original theatrical trailer; making of featurette; new, exclusive video interview with director Nicolas Roeg and producer Jeremy Thomas; and new, exclusive video interview with editor Tony Lawson. The disc also arrives with a 24-page illustrated booklet. In English, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-A "locked".
A beautiful Actress (Theresa Russell, Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession, Whore), looking a lot like Marilyn Monroe, who has not been home in weeks, completes an important shoot. Soon after, she arrives at an expensive hotel and knocks at a man's door. The man, an aging Professor (Michael Emil, Someone to Love, Can She Bake a Cherry Pie?), who looks a lot like Albert Einstein, lets her in and they begin talking about perceptions, time and relativity.
The Actress does not know that before her a famous Senator (Tony Curtis, The Defiant Ones, The Boston Strangler), looking and acting a lot like Joe McCarthy, has been trying to get the Professor to testify before an important committee. He has warned the Professor that if he does not cooperate something terrible would happen to him.
The Actress has a theory, one that links and explains time and relativity. The Professor also has one. His is a work in progress, a summation of bigger, more complex ideas that can be interpreted in a variety of different ways. He understands her theory but does not understand her. The Actress is a mystery, a problem unlike any other problem he has faced during his lifetime.
When the Actress announces that she is going to share the Professor's bed, he decides to spend the night in the bathtub. She is puzzled because no man has ever rejected her. He is confused because no woman has ever been so eager to share his bed. They begin arguing.
Before they can agree what to do, her husband, the Ballplayer (Gary Busey, Under Siege, Breaking Point), looking a lot like Joe DiMaggio, appears and starts banging on the door. Convinced that the Professor is a shrink, he urges him to finish his session by referring to Floyd (Freud) so that he and the Actress can go home.
Based on Terry Johnson's famous play, Nicolas Roeg's Insignificance is a fascinating film about perceptions, grand speculations and obsessions. It is hilarious and daring, at times truly bizarre, but also rather sad film, because what it satirizes best are not its legendary characters but the world they shared and those who enthusiastically made them legends without actually knowing them.
The film's greatest strength is its effective demonstration that reality is a reflection of one's expectations of it. The main characters, for instance, have little in common but connect with each other because they see and hear what they wish or expect to see and hear. They all have secrets, dreams and visions, shaping their reality, which has little in common, if anything, with the reality they are in fact sharing.
The film has a brilliant finale that puts everything in perspective. The bizarre becomes logical because it points to something bigger and one begins to realize how insignificant the significant is. After all, if the Cuban Missile Crisis culminated in a nuclear disaster, Joe McCarthy's witch hunt, Joe DiMaggio's records, Marilyn Monroe's films, and Albert Einstein's theories would have been absolutely insignificant, yet other than historians and history buffs hardly anyone remembers it.
The cast is outstanding. While it is difficult to imagine how the legendary characters would have acted if they all met, Russell, Emil, Curtis and Busey are so convincing that it is certainly not beyond the realm of possibility that at least some of their lines could have been uttered by the people they play. Indeed, superb characterizations.
In 1985, Insignificance was nominated for the prestigious Palme d'Or Award and won the Technical Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival (Nicolas Roeg).
Insignificance Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Nicolas Roeg's Insignificance arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion.
The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray disc:
"Approved by director Nicolas Roeg and producer Jeremy Thomas, this new digital transfer was created on a Spirit 4K in 2K resolution from a 35mm interpositive, at Midnight Transfer, London. 2K color correction was done using Assimilate's Scratch system, and dirt and scratches were removed using the PFClean system, at Cinelmage, London. This corrected data was output to high-definition tape at On Sight, London. Additional instances of dirt, debris, and scratches were removed using MTI's DRS system.
Telecine supervisor: Maria Palazzola.
Telecine colorist: Fergus Hally/Cinelmage, London.
Additional telecine: Sue Gates/Modern Videofilm, Los Angeles."
Insignificance is one of a few Nicolas Roeg films that I currently do not own on SDVD and therefore cannot compare directly to Criterion's Blu-ray release. Nevertheless, there is no doubt in my mind that Criterion's presentation of the film is vastly superior to any previous SDVD releases - the image depth, clarity, and color reproduction are that impressive. Generally speaking, the film has a soft, at times (during the memory flashbacks) even hazy look. Fine object detail during the endless close-ups, however, is very good, while the darker scenes are never plagued by massive amounts of background noise. Heavy edge-enhancement does not affect the integrity of the presentation either. There are no signs of excessive noise corrections. Naturally, light grain, some of which is occasionally mixed with light noise, is present throughout the entire film. Finally, there are absolutely no stability issues whatsoever. It is quite obvious that debris, scratches, and damage marks have also been removed, as the film looks notably healthy. (Note: This is a Region-A "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Insignificance Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one audio track on this Blu-ray disc: English LPCM 1.0. For the record, Criterion have provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature.
The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray disc:
"Presented in its original monaural format, the soundtrack was remastered at 24-bit from the 35mm magnetic track at Sync Sound Audio, London. Additional restoration was done by Criterion, where clicks, thumps, hiss, and hum were manually removed using Pro Tools HD and crackle was attenuated using AudioCube's integrated workstation."
Insignificance is complimented by an exceptionally beautiful, dreamy soundtrack courtesy of Stanley Myers and Hans Zimmer, and it is truly a treat listening to it because the loseless audio track opens up the entire film quite well. Still, the dynamic amplitude is rather limited, but the dialog is always clear, clean, stable, and very easy to follow.
Insignificance Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Insignificance Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I don't think I could name a whole lot of films made during the 80s that are as stylish, entertaining and thought-provoking as Nicolas Roeg's Insignificance. The film raises some terrific questions, quite a few of which are still relevant today. As expected, Criterion's treatment of the film is very good. The Blu-ray release also contains two brand new video interviews - one with director Nicolas Roeg and producer Jeremy Thomas, the other with editor Tony Lawson. Both of them are outstanding. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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Insignificance Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Criterion Blu-ray in June: Aldrich, Ichikawa, Malle, Roeg, Siodma... - March 15, 2011
The Criterion Collection has announced that it will release six films on Blu-ray in June. On June 14, it will release Insignificance (Nicolas Roeg, 1985) and The Makioka Sisters (Kon Ichikawa, 1983). A week later, it will release Kiss Me Deadly (Robert Aldrich, ...
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