The Blu-ray Disc
Presented in 1080p high definition with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, Kino’s Blu-ray of Film Socialisme features a sharply rendered transfer, with bright, bold colors any time a high-quality HD camera was used. Naturally, the intentionally degraded image quality of certain shots pales in comparison to the beautiful digital photography on display here. Godard purposefully includes some digital shudders and apparent encoding errors in certain scenes, and Kino’s digital transfer of the highly varied technical approaches used here is above reproach.
Audio is presented in a crystal clear 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track that is especially impressive whenever the film’s thundering organ theme comes on. The default subtitles option is the aforementioned “Navajo English,” which is Godard’s preferred choice. Also included is a full English translation, but I’d say it’s a purer first-time experience to submit to Godard’s idiosyncratic version.
Most important is a written essay included in a four-page insert by New Yorker writer Richard Brody, who is always worth reading, especially on Godard. He explicates a number of the film’s political themes and talks briefly about its place in Godard’s career. Otherwise, the disc is pretty thin, presenting only a stills gallery and a number of trailers, including Film Socialisme’s, which ostensibly includes the entire film fast-forwarded rapidly enough to compress it down to just over a minute.
The Bottom Line
I’m very happy about Kino’s decision to release this decidedly uncommercial film on Blu-ray, and the excellent final product makes it clear it was worth it.