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The Sky Is Falling

cast: Isabella Rossellini, Jeroen Krabbé, Barbara Enrichi, Gianna Giachetti, and Luciano Virgilio

directors: Andrea and Antonio Frazzi

94 minutes (12) 2000 widescreen ratio 1.85:1
Eureka DVD Region 0 retail

RATING: 5/10
reviewed by Gary Couzens
1944. Orphaned due to a car accident, Penny (Veronica Niccolai), and her younger sister Baby (Lara Campoli), are sent to live with their aunt Katchen (Isabella Rossellini). Katchen lives in a villa in Tuscany with her husband Wilhelm (Jeroen Krabbé) an elegant, cultured German Jew. As the summer progresses, Penny sees a lot of life in the village and makes friends, but darkness is brewing.
   No one should say that the Holocaust has been done to death as subject matter - it's something that nobody should be allowed to forget or deny. But it's a subject that gets somewhat uninspired handling in this Italian-made film, based on a novel by Lorenza Mazzetti. It works better as a coming of age story, with natural performances from the two young girls in the central roles, but in the last half hour you can sense the gears shift awkwardly as we prepare for tragedy. There's nothing wrong as such with the acting of the adults, but somehow there's a vital spark missing, and the film isn't as moving as it should be as a result.
   Eureka, as a DVD label, specialise in silent films and early world cinema talkies such as Fritz Lang's M, and The Blue Angel. However, more modern films like this one have different demands, and one of them is anamorphic enhancement. The Sky Is Falling (aka: Il cielo cade) is presented in the original 1.85:1 but is not anamorphic, which results in a rather soft picture with shadow detail not as good as it might have been. Unfortunately the optional subtitles are placed so low in the frame that they are cut off if you zoom the picture, so owners of widescreen TVs will have to watch this film in 4:3 mode - complete with black bars, unless they are fluent in Italian. There are short exchanges of dialogue in German and English. The soundtrack is Dolby surround, but it's mostly monophonic apart from the music score and some ambient sounds, so won't test your system overmuch. Disc extras are sparse, consisting of a stills gallery and a weblink to Eureka's site.

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