Urban Cinefile
"Playing M (in Bond) and then playing Queen Victoria was just like my whole career"  -Judi Dench on the variety of her film roles
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Monday June 15, 2020 

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Letters to the Editor are welcome; they can be on any relevant subject (relevant meaning relevant to this zine) and preferably no more than 350 words. Please include your name and city where you live. The Editor has the right to edit. Wed like to hear your movie related stories, anecdotes and of course your opinions. Drop us a line to editor@urbancinefile.com.au


I have just discovered your site. Fantastic and all Australian; you guys and girls have done a brilliant job. I especially like the in depth reviews from a variety of critics, and the ease in which I can get around the site. Very well done, and keep up the good work.
Nigel Hilditch

Ed: Thanks. (We publish these congratulatory letters from time to time in a fit of net-vanity; please excuse. . . )


I am trying to find out about the availability of the soundtrack to Deepa Mehta's film, Earth. (1999/2000?) Any suggestions?.....Thanking you,
John Campbell

Ed replies: Presently, there does not appear to be an Australian distributor for this soundtrack. I would suggest trying the World and Indian music stores in your area. As you obviously enjoyed the music from the film, you may also want to try to get your hands on a CD by the composer, AR Rahman. His music is distributed by Sony specifically Coumbia Records. Good luck!

I read in an article recently that less than 1% of Australian homes have wide screen (or 16:9 ratio) screens. Why is it that I cannot seem to hire or buy DVDs in other than wide screen formats and consequently have to put up with losing a third of the screen?

Michael Kavanagh, Melbourne

Ed: We asked the specialists at DVD usergroup.com.au to answer this for the benefit of Michael and others who would like to know. Thanks to Cassie Cale for the detail:

As you have correctly pointed out nearly all DVDs released are in Widescreen version and there are not many discs that are produced that have both Pan & Scan and Widescreen versions on them. The reasoning for
this is that to have 2 separate versions of the movie on a disc takes up a large amount of space and means that there are less of the Special Features included, which is what the majority of DVD users are interested in.

You mentioned that you are losing 1/3 of the screen when you are watching the Widescreen versions, however the Widescreen version is actually giving you the full viewing experience that was intended for the cinema release. Widescreen means you are seeing the movie exactly as the Director of the movie intended it to be seen.

When we see movies in a Pan & Scan version, we are actually losing up to 1/3 of the movie as it is cut off to fit to our screens.

Widescreen is the preferred format for DVDs and you will find that DVDs will continue to be released in this version.

We have provided you with a link to a very good article on another website which explains very well the difference between Widescreen and Pan & Scan and how they appear on your TV. The Link is:


However, there is another small thing which can help with regards to watching a Widescreen or Anamorphic Widescreen movie on your TV, to try and create a Pan and Scan effect. All DVD Players have a SET UP
function. Under VIDEO or PLAYBACK there should be 3 options: 4:3 PAN & SCAN, 4:3 LETTERBOX & 16:9.

With this you can 'cheat' a little. For example if you were watching a movie with an aspect ratio of 1:85:1, you could select the 16:9 setting on the DVD player and this would show the movie now filling the whole screen of your normal TV. It hasn't panned and scanned the picture, it has used the anamorphic widescreen image (provided that there is one).
When you look at the screen it is full but the image looks stretched vertically.

This can ONLY be done with a film that is recorded in ANAMORPHIC WIDESCREEN (or 16:9 enhanced). With this function you can cheat and create a pan & scan effect, but the downside is that the image looks
weird and on a 2:35:1 film you can only reduce the size of the letterboxing, not get rid of it completely!

We hope this is of some help and not too confusing for you!!

JANUARY 11, 2001

Obviously neither of your reviewers get this film at all. Yes, the camera work is slightly nauseating and the song interludes are, at first, distracting. But the impact this film had on myself and my fellow cinema goers was astounding. The musical numbers are ironic given the tragedy of the story, and become a welcome relief during some of the films
more harrowing moments. Bjork is brilliant. She takes a while to warm up, but by the end of the film she must stand as a favourite for an Oscar. I give it 9 out of 10.

Neil Ritchie

Where and when can I see Himalaya in Tasmania, Australia?
Andrew Beadell

Sandie Don, Dendy Films replies: Himalaya opens in Tasmania at the State Theatre in Hobart on January 25, 2001.

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