Friday, May 27, 2011

[DVD] Old Places (老地方 / Lao Di Fang) (2010)

One of the best local documentaries of last year where directors Royston Tan, Eva Tang and Victric Thng brought us all on a nostalgic trip down Singapore's forgotten landscapes and environments that once stood, but some no longer. The telecast on television was so popular that there was a repeat, plus some one-off screenings now and then, but here's a reason why there's no excuse for missing all the screenings thus far.

The DVD has already been released by Objectifs Films. But take note that there are only 1000 copies produced, so if you are keen to get your hands on one and check out what the buzz is all about, you can head on down to Kinokuniya, Books Actually, or Objectifs where the DVDs are on sale.

My review of Old Places can be found here.

The Region Free DVD (PAL Format) is unfortunately presented in letterbox format, where I thought an anamorphic widescreen one should do the visuals a lot more justice. Still, the transfer is pristine, and at least it's not a 4:3 transfer since it was made with television broadcast in mind. For those looking for DVD extras like commentaries and the likes, I'm afraid this is but a barebones edition - for one I would have loved to hear the filmmakers talk about their behind the scenes work, but for that you may have to make do with this.

The menus is kept simple with a small preview window showcasing clips from the chapter selected. You can either click on the Play All function to watch the film in its entirety, or click on the chapter (6 in total) you wish to watch, which will bring up its clips into the preview window, and then clicking on the chapter again will make that jump to the respective point. These 6 chapters are logically split to follow that of the television broadcast where a pause is necessary for commercials, and I thought it was quite a cumbersome process with the double clicks required to access the chapter; would have preferred like a conventional DVD menu design would have with 6 preview windows for each chapter, if that was indeed necessary since it's likely anyone watching this will want to do so in its entirety.

Film is in English and a mix of other languages, with English subtitles available for the non-English segments.

Packaging is done in very old school style sans keepcase, with the DVD disc and 9 thick cardboard postcards - when attached together spell out "老地方/Old Places" against a backdrop of selected stills from the film - wrapped inside a cardboard envelope, with the very iconic Singapore Post mailbox adorning its cover, like what you see in the picture right at the top of this post.

There is a sequel in the works, and for those of you with ideas, do drop the filmmakers a message at the Old Places Facebook Group!

Related Links
- Facebook Group
- My review of the film
- DVD Launch at Kinokuniya

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