Moon Child Blu-ray Review
Written by Robert Gold
Blu-ray released by Cult Epics
Written and directed by Agustí Villaronga
1989, 118 minutes, Not Rated
Blu-ray released on April 24th, 2018
Enrique Saldana as David
Maribel Martin as Victoria
Lisa Gerrard as Georgina
David Sust as Edgar
Lucia Bosé as Directora
Gunter Meissner as Abuelo militar
Heidi Ben Amar as Mid-e-mid
Lydia Azzopardi as Abuela mora
Once upon a time, a child of the moon was prophesied to come to Earth, specifically to appear in Africa near a river and to be announced by a fireball in the sky. A twelve-year-old orphan named David, who possesses psychic powers, believes that he may indeed be the fabled moon child. David has been adopted into a semi-scientific cult that collects children with extrasensory abilities. Here he meets Georgina, a woman chosen to deliver a special baby in a controlled pregnancy. David communicates with the unborn child and reinforces his belief that he is the chosen one. He helps Georgina escape with her beau, hoping to start a fresh life with them as his surrogate family. Officials from the organization are in pursuit determined to capture the woman before she gives birth.
Writer/ director Agustí Villaronga made a stunning debut with his jaw-dropping feature In a Glass Cage (1986). The film is horrifying and deeply disturbing in equal measure and definitely not for the squeamish. With his follow-up Moon Child (1989) he takes a completely different approach and delivers a fable filled with beauty and innocence. Placing a child as the focus of his storytelling allows for a sense of naiveté as he tackles larger themes of oppression and transcendence. Indeed David is pure of heart and purpose as he embarks on his adventure across two continents. Georgina is desperate for escape and believes the boy can help her when no one else can. There is something magnetic about him and his easygoing personality. Villaronga displays sensitivity previously unseen and the tale benefits immensely.
Enrique Saldana stars in his only acting role as David. He appears in almost every scene and carries the bulk of the picture. Child actors can be a bit dodgy, but Saldana’s performance is spot-on. The majority of his screen time is shared with one of two women, Lisa Gerrard as Georgina, the expectant mother and Maribel Martin as Victoria, the woman responsible for adopting David into the cult and currently giving him chase. Gerrard does exactly what she needs in order to be led by a child to safety. She is equally innocent in an increasingly difficult environment. Not to be outdone, Martin plays a strong adversary for David. She is not a villain, but more of an antagonist trying to prevent him from reaching his goal. Both women share great chemistry with Saldana and provide him with motherly figures that are otherwise absent.
Music lovers are in for a real treat, as the band Dead Can Dance performs an original score for the film. The soundtrack has an organic feeling to it that conveys both a lot of emotion and a greater sense of belonging within this strange world. The original recording tracks have been lost to time, but the music still exists in this movie. Agustí Villaronga has created a beautiful cinematic experience as Moon Child is a celebration of life.
Video and Audio:
The film is presented in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and looks fantastic. This new release Blu-ray/ DVD combo is the first for the film which was previously only available in the US on murky VHS. This stunning new transfer is culled from original 35mm elements. All the detail that was once hidden now pops to life, much like the color palette. Anyone who suffered the earlier release will be in for a pleasant surprise.
The DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo track preserves the original audio recordings. Dialogue levels are clean and never indistinguishable. The film’s score is also rich and well-balanced. A DTS-HD 5.1 track is also included and while there is not a lot of bass to the track what we get is sufficient.
This is a Spanish-language film and English subtitles are provided for anyone in need.
Director Agustí Villaronga sits down for an all new interview (2018, 15 minutes) that covers a lot of ground. He discusses the origins for the film, working on location and his thoughts on the cast. He reflects on some of his other works as well and discusses how he approaches each project. The interview is conducted in English, but Villaronga might have been better served had he spoken in his native Spanish and been supplied with English subtitles.
Trailers for Moon Child and In a Glass Cage are included.
A collection of a dozen lobby cards provides additional insight as to how the film was marketed.
The real gem here is the isolated music tracks from Dead Can Dance (53 minutes). The original recordings have been lost, but the remastered music and effects track is presented here for your listening pleasure. There are occasional bits of narration and sound effects that intrude on the music, but this is the first time the score has been made available in nearly thirty years.
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