DVD Review: Brava Italia (2008)

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Brava Italia's roughly 180 minute running time is divided into three episodes dubbed "The Proud Tradition," "The Beautiful Life," and "The Eternal Country." Yet the titles themselves aren't merely bookmarks for this stunning celebration of La Dolce Vita (aka "The Sweet Life") since each contain a key word that hearkens to the theme of both this unique production as well as the people who work, live, love, and eat in the country in which it's set.

Narrated by Italian-American GoodFellas actor Paul Sorvino and featuring one of world cinema's most revered directors in the form of Godfather and Apocalypse Now filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, Brava Italia, which previously played on public television, showcases the lives of the people that tourists usually look past whilst taking in the extraordinary sites.

The 2008 work captured in a 16:9 cinematic widescreen ratio was shot with state-of-the-art high definition cinematography that naturally ensures a gorgeous transfer DVD and likewise makes you anticipate a future release of the title on Blu-ray to best appreciate the technical precision involved.

Yet Brava Italia surprises viewers with a largely documentary based approach achieved by balancing out the informative narration and the genre's requisite travelogue feel. Thus, Brava is worth a "bravo" for its dedication to the titular "Proud" and "Beautiful" lives and traditions of the Italian people who are the heart of a country that remains eternal in terms of its rich culture and legacy, felt on Italian soil and elsewhere through music, food, goods, and with the discoveries of faraway lands like the United States of America twice by Amerigo Vespucci and later Christopher Columbus.

The result was produced by those responsible for the best-selling Visions series of titles that have enabled superlative armchair travel to Europe, Italy, Britain and Ireland in other Visions offerings from Acorn Media's Athena Label. And while Brava goes more in depth in the lives and history of the land, this wonderfully warm endeavor still remains true to their earlier style.

Namely, Brava doesn't abandon the scope of their Visions via the documentary's cinematographic showcase of exquisitely detailed tours that we either wouldn't find in travel agency brochures due to their use of aerial photography or be able to experience on our own because of their ability to swoop directly into locales we'd normally only be able to see with binoculars.

Without worrying about financial, work, family, or health related obstacles that may have prevented your adventure to "the boot," Brava Italia stimulates your senses with the sights and sounds of the country to such an extent that you may feel temporarily transported with the music of Caruso and images of the snowy Alps... no ticket, body scanning, or packing required.

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FTC Disclosure:
Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.