THE VALLEY blu-ray review

UK Region-free blu-ray

1080p Widescreen 2.39:1

French: LPCM Mono

Subtitles: English

IMDB

MOVIE: 8.5

VIDEO QUALITY: 9.5

AUDIO QUALITY: 9

ENGLISH SUBTITLES: 10

EXTRAS: 8

 

I love discovering these directors that started started as experimental, art-house film directors in the 1970s yet I had only really known them as mainstream film directors since I only watched their later films in the 1980s til now. I had always seen the newer films of directors like Nicholas Roeg (The Witches), Peter Weir (The Truman Show), and Barbet Schroeder (Barfly, Kiss of Death), but only recently I had no idea that they started with more art-house, underground films (Walkabout, Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Valley) until seeing their filmography online.

After reading many reviews online about The Valley, I was a bit discouraged from blind-buying it because this film has many mixed reviews. I had never seen it before but the trailer for this film looked very interesting. The involvement of Pink Floyd didn’t hurt as well. Knowing this film was from the 1970s, I expected a lot of psycho-babble (in the negative way). The only psycho-babble I’ve loved from an underground 1970s film is Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain. Fortunately, The Valley unfolds as a very straight-forward road trip movie with not so much psycho-babble. The small amount of psycho-babble in this film isn’t even annoying or obnoxious. As drugged up as the characters may be, they don’t seem that out of it. The Valley is basically about a small group of fun-loving, open-minded hippies seeking out a paradise somewhere in a hard-to-reach valley in Papua New Guinea. A conservative gorgeous woman from the city, played by Bulle Ogier, tags along. She starts out as a b*tch, but as their adventure gets closer, she evolves into a very open-minded regular gal. Bulle Ogier is not only amazing looking in this film, she’s totally likable even when she’s playing unlikable. She is the audience. She is playing the role perfectly of how an outsider would be by just joining some quest in the middle of nowhere. As a viewer, I really connected to her sense of curiousity and fears that she experiences on the way to the valley. I had seen her only as a middle-aged woman in French films from the 1990s, so it was great to see her in her gorgeous-looking prime.

The movie is totally entertaining from beginning to end. I usually don’t like road trip movies, but I do love nature/tribe people movies…and The Valley does not disappoint. The cinematography by Néstor Almendros (Days of Heaven) is beautiful and for anyone that fantasizes to leave the real world to go live with nature, this movie is like a fantasy film. And the audience gets to learn a bit something from these Papua New Guinea tribe people from the movie and the three short documentaries that are extras on the blu-ray.

Pink Floyd fans are known to be disappointed with The Valley because the movie is not filled with tons of Pink Floyd music. They basically score one awesome sounding song that plays at the beginning and the end of the film and it is a pretty memorable tune. It sort of reminds me of the music from an early John Carpenter movie.

I also enjoyed the male lead in the film, Michael Gothard, who I had only known as one of the villains in the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only. He does a good job playing a guide, lover, and guardian angel to Bulle Ogier’s character.

BFI Video has released an excellent quality blu-ray. The video of this blu-ray shows off amazing colors, it’s clear, crisp and totally clean. And it’s got a nice amount of grain that would normally be removed and DNRed if this was an old Hollywood film. So BFI did as perfect job as they could do on the remastering of the video. The French PCM mono is excellent as well – dialogue clear, and the sounds of nature and Pink Floyd score sounds great on this. When watching this blu-ray, you feel like you are actually there in Papua New Guinea.

The extras are pretty decent as well – there are three short full screen documentaries about the tribe’s pork preparation, make-up preparation, and tribal ceremony. All are very interesting and informative and looked great on blu-ray as well. There are 3 more of Barbet’s trailers in HD (More, The Valley, and Maîtresse). And there is a very informative booklet that comes with the package.

Great underrated movie and an almost perfect blu-ray/DVD (Pal) package. Highly recommended!

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