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The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum(1975)
Katharina, a young woman who meets a suspected terrorist at a party, falls in love, and agrees to hide him from the authorities.
For more about The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum and the The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum Blu-ray release, see the The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on December 28, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Directors: Volker Schlöndorff, Margarethe von Trotta
Writer: Heinrich Böll
Starring: Angela Winkler (I), Mario Adorf, Dieter Laser, Jürgen Prochnow
» See full cast & crew
The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, December 28, 2009
Winner of the OCIC Award at the San Sebastian International Film Festival, Volker Schlondorff's and Margarethe von Trotta's "The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum" (1975) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Optimum Home Entertainment. Amongst the supplemental features on the disc are: "Memories", a documentary focusing on the history of the film as well as the political climate in Germany at the time when the film was released; "The Delayed Antigone", an episode from Germany in Autumn, a cooperative effort between various German directors; photo gallery and more. With optional English, German, French and Japanese subtitles. Region A/B "locked".
Here's a film that shows what has become of modern America - a society whose fear of terrorism has given unrestricted power to people who are slowly but effectively pushing it away from the freedoms it cherishes; of course, doing so in the name of the very same freedoms they were brought to defend.
The story of the film revolves around a young woman, Katharina (Angela Winkler, Knife in the Head), who meets a man, Ludwig (Jurgen Prochnow, Das Boot), at a party of some sort. They end up in her apartment, make love and in the morning the man leaves. Shortly after, the woman is arrested.
A highly motivated special agent, Komissar Beizmenne (Mario Adorf, The Assassination of Matteotti), begins interrogating Katharina. He is convinced that just like her lover she is a terrorist, and it is only a matter of time before she admits it. The agent and his superiors do not have any records indicating that Katharina has ever been involved with any known terrorist organizations, but this does not prevent them from "profiling" her.
Meanwhile, an ambitious newspaper reporter, Werner Toetges (Dieter Laser, The Ogre), begins his own investigation. After visiting Katharina's home town, he is convinced that there are clues and signs about her terrorist past which the authorities have missed, and that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to show everyone how good his journalistic instincts are.
A co-worker of Katharina also comes up with her own version of why everyone missed the "terrorist" that reaches Komissar Beizmenne. He follows up on it and ends up in the hospital where Katharina's mother is admitted. She dies but her last words, completely misinterpreted, end up in a front-page article in one of the country's biggest newspapers. In the midst of the terrorist hysteria, Katharina slowly begins to realize that her life has changed forever.
Based on Heinrich Böll's novel "Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum", Volker Schlondorff and Margarethe von Trotta's The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum is a powerful film that recreates the destructive paranoia that engulfed Germany during the late 70s after the rise of various anarchist and terrorist organizations, and specifically the Baader-Meinhof Group. This was one of a few political films that openly criticized the country's sudden fascination with hunting down and prosecuting "potential terrorists".
The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum, however, is not a film about terrorism; rather it is a film about the devastating consequences of experiencing counterterrorism. It is also a film about the power of media and its ability to create the "reality" it reports.
In the late 70s, the effective union between government and media in Germany spurred an open confrontation between intellectuals, artists and writers, who realized that many of their country's democratic values were being effectively undermined, and government officials and media owners, who saw in them terrorist sympathizers. The confrontation created a dangerous political vacuum that, as shown in The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum, had a seriously damaging effect even on those who were not even remotely involved in it.
Despite its critical tone, however, The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum remains a remarkably quiet, intimate film. Katharina's emotional collapse, for example, is carefully observed but never used to deliver a preachy statement. It is perfectly clear to everyone what the pretext for her arrest is; what isn't is how Katharina would react to it and whether or not she would manage to recover.
Generally speaking, the supporting cast does a good job of recreating the absurdity of the political status quo that inspired the actions of their characters. The final act, in particular, is both powerful and very convincing.
The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.66:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Volker Schlöndorff and Margarethe von Trotta's The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Optimum Home Entertainment.
This is yet another quite strong addition to the Studio Canal Collection. Despite a few minor fluctuations, contrast levels are very good, clarity pleasing, and fine object detail satisfying. The film's grain structure is also fully intact; mild digital noise is noticeable during some of the indoor scenes, but overall the transfer has a clean, natural look. Furthermore, I noticed a few minor color pulsations at the very end of the film - during the funeral, and right before the speech - but the rest of the transfer looks solid. Edge-enhancement and macroblocking are not a serious issue of concern. Severe aliasing does not plague the transfer either. Finally, aside from a few very small flecks that I noticed popping up here and there, The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum also looks remarkably healthy. (Note: This Blu-ray disc has been coded for Regions A and B. Therefore, you must have a native Region A or B, or Region-Free player in order to be able to access its content. Also, the disc's main menu can be set in one of the following languages - English, German, French, or Japanese).
The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one audio track on this Blu-ray disc: German DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. For the record, Optimum Home Entertainment/Studio Canal have provided optional English, French, German and Japanese subtitles for the main feature.
The German DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track is very strong. It is clean, stable and with a pleasing range of dynamics. The dialog is crisp and very easy to follow, and Hans Werner Henze's intense music score well balanced with it. Additionally, I did not detect any pops, cracks, or clicks; a very mild hiss, however, is present throughout the entire film. Nevertheless, the German DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track services the film well, and I don't foresee anyone being even remotely disappointed by it.
The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Note: All of the supplemental features on this Blu-ray disc are encoded in 480/60i. Therefore, they are perfectly playable on Region-A PS3s and SAs.
Memories - a long and very informative documentary focusing on the message of the film as well as the political climate in Germany at the time when the film was shot. Directors Volker Schlöndorff and Margarethe von Trotta also recall some of the controversy surrounding their film after it was released. In German, with optional English, German, French and Japanese subtitles. (52 min).
The Delayed Antigone - "The Delayed Antigone" is an episode in the film Germany in Autumn (1978), which is a cooperative effort between various German directors, including Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Edgar Reitz, Alexander Kluge and Alf Brustellin. Volker Schlöndorff also directed the episode "Funerals in Stuttgart" together with Alexander Kluge. In German, with optional English, German, French and Japanese subtitles. (16 min).
Original Trailer - In German, with optional English, German, French and Japanese subtitles. (3 min, 1080p).
BD Live Functionality -
Booklet - a 20-page illustrated booklet containing an essay by Willi Winkler, author of the book "A history of the RAF" (2007).
The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Powerful and thought-provoking, Volker Schlondorff and Margarethe von Trotta's The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum has received a good treatment by Optimum Home Entertainment/Studio Canal. More importantly, the film, as well as all of the supplemental features, are perfectly playable on Region-A PS3 and SAs. Indeed, this is a great addition to the Studio Canal Collection. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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