Things Behind the Sun aspect ratio

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Tyler Ruggeri, Jul 2, 2002.

  1. Tyler Ruggeri

    Tyler Ruggeri Stunt Coordinator

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    I just got the Allison Anders film Things Behind the Sun free at this week's Blockbuster sale. I know the film was intended for theatrical distribution but couldn't find any (despite a good showing at Sundance) and later premiered on Showtime. The DVD is exclusive to Blockbuster from Showtime (like Laughter on the 23rd Floor and Sister Mary Explains It All). The DVD is fullscreen although I am pretty sure if it was intended to be distributed theatrically it would have been shot in 1.85:1 or 2.35:1. Does anyone know the correct aspect ratio (or even if it was shot open matte)?

    Tyler Ruggeri
     
  2. Jodee

    Jodee Screenwriter

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    Wow, I had no idea this was on DVD. I have been waiting for it (as well as Sugar Town which was Anders's last film before this.)

    I think I'm going to have to go to Blockbuster to find me a copy.

    I have only seen it "full frame" on Showtime. I seem to recall this was filmed in digital video so I have no idea what the intended ratio is.
     
  3. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    It was shot on video, so it's probably 1.33:1.
     
  4. Casey Neutron

    Casey Neutron Stunt Coordinator

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    When Ebert and Roeper reviewed this film they showed a clip of it in 2.35:1. I compared the clip to the 1.33:1 version shown on Showtime and it is clearly Super 35. There is a hair less picture information on the sides with the 1.33:1 version but more at the top and bottom. It would probably be best to see the film as intended, in 2.35:1, but at least with the full frame version you're not missing a whole lot.
     
  5. Jodee

    Jodee Screenwriter

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    Well, I went to two local Blockbusters, but no luck. Both had Things Behind the Sun for rent. The one store checked the computer and said they should have 1 new copy for sale and one pre-viewed. But the DVDs were not where they were supposed to be. The other store didn't have any according to their computer. [​IMG]
    I really need to find this DVD, this was one of my favorite films of 2001. I need to hear the songs from this movie again, especially considering there was no official soundtrack released.
     
  6. Tyler Ruggeri

    Tyler Ruggeri Stunt Coordinator

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    I looked up some info on the film and it was shot on one of Sony's high-end HD cameras. This would mean the likely ratio is 1.33:1, however it could easily be framed and matted to any aspect ratio the director desired. I'd still like some concrete info, but it is possible that it was matted to 2.35:1 after being shot in 1.33:1.

    Tyler Ruggeri
     
  7. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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  8. Jodee

    Jodee Screenwriter

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    If anyone can find this DVD in their local Blockbuster, I'd gladly reimburse costs & shipping.
    I just called about 10 stores in my area with no luck. [​IMG]
     
  9. Mark Edward Heuck

    Mark Edward Heuck Screenwriter

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    Okay, here's the (unfortunate) story on THINGS BEHIND THE SUN's aspect ratio.

    The film was shot on video using the new high-end Sony 24XPI cameras, which among other things, allow for anamorphic photography. Therefore, the proper ratio for viewing the film is indeed 2.35:1. (Other films that were shot in, for lack of a better word, "videoscope" are Brad Anderson's SESSION 9 and and the Polish brothers' JACKPOT.) It would have been Allison Anders' first film in the CinemaScope ratio.

    Unfortunately, the backers of the film were unable to find a theatrical distributor for the film, and thus it was sold directly to Showtime, and as such, Blockbuster for video. And of course, they are only offering the film in an MAR presentation. However, I managed to luck out and get a VHS "critic's review" copy which was matted to its proper OAR.

    So unless someone can wrangle the rights away or Viacom can be pressured (fat chance), we are out of luck if we ever want to see THINGS BEHIND THE SUN as Anders' intended it.
     
  10. Jodee

    Jodee Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the info Mark. (Loved you on Beat the Geeks, BTW).
    Would you have any info on why Anders's 1999 film "Sugar Town" was never released on DVD?
    I'm dying to hear "Gravy Stain Girl" again.[​IMG]
     
  11. Jodee

    Jodee Screenwriter

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    I am reviving this thread because I just saw that "Things Behind the Sun" is up for pre-order at DVD Empire with a release date of 4/8/2003.

    I'm hoping that since this an actual DVD release and not a Blockbuster rental-only exclusive, that we might actually get the widescreen version.

    Showtime is the releasing studio, and they were good about releasing Queer as Folk in widescreen.
     
  12. Mark Edward Heuck

    Mark Edward Heuck Screenwriter

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    Perhaps, and granted I don't have cable, but I suspect that Showtime released QUEER AS FOLK in widescreen because that is how it was telecast, just as THE SOPRANOS or selected episodes of ER are presented in a wide format.
    However, when Showtime broadcast THINGS BEHIND THE SUN on television, it was in the pan-scanned version that was made exclusive to Blockbuster. And as they are both under the same roof I see them more likely to just recycle the same master than go back and properly matte the film to 2.35:1.

    Oh, sorry to take so long on Jodee's earlier question, but SUGAR TOWN was also a movie that Blockbuster acquired the exclusive on for tape rental. I suspect one of two reasons why there has never been a DVD release of the film. One, because the former October/USA Films (now Focus Features) held onto those rights, much as they did with the Brendan Fraser film STILL BREATHING, which Blockbuster initially had an exclusive on as well. When that window was over, USA released the title themselves on DVD. Two, because at that time (1999), DVD still had not quite taken off, and thus Blockbuster did not make many deals to issue exclusive titles on DVD in the first place, unlike now.

    So, I would suggest you start sending requests to Universal, the parent company of Focus, and try to persuade them to issue SUGAR TOWN on DVD.
     

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