• Moon Child



    Released by: Cult Epics
    Released on: April 24th, 2018.
    Director: Agustí Villaronga
    Cast: Maribel Martín, Lisa Gerrard, Enrique Saldana, Lucia Bosé, David Sust
    Year: 1989
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    The Movie:

    Written and directed by Agustí Villaronga, best known for his disturbing classic In A Glass Cage, 1989’s Moon Child (El niño de la luna) follows the story of a twelve-year-old orphan boy named David (Enrique Saldana). He’s a bit different than the other boys at the orphanage in that he has some interesting mental abilities that the others don’t. This brings him to the attention of Victoria (Maribel Martin) who, after examining him, has him sent off to a remote facility on her recommendation. Here his psychic abilities are to be tested and refined by what David expects to be a team of scientists.

    Shortly after he settles into his new abode, David starts to figure out that these scientists are not scientists so much as they are members of a cult. These people have been gathering people with abilities like David’s from various locales in hopes of building a team that they need for experiments that they’re planning to conduct under the watchful eye of their directress (Lucia Bosé). Also being honed by this clandestine group are Georgina (Lisa Gerard) and Edgar (David Sust – recognizable as the lead from In A Glass Cage). One night, when the moon is full, Edgar is forced to have sex with Georgina in a specifically selected location in hopes that their offspring will be the touted Moon Child, a supernatural being that these cult members believe will be able to channel the moon’s energy and change the world.

    But of course, David’s part in all of this is not to be forgotten. Things get even more unusual once, with some help from Victoria (Maribel Martín), he makes his escape from the compound with Georgina and Edgar in tow, hoping to make it from Europe to Africa where his true destiny can be revealed.

    Performances are pretty decent here. Young Enrique Saldana is quite good in the lead, playing his part well and creating a likeable, if somewhat mysterious, character out of David. Lucia Bosé is really good as the leader of the occult group behind all of this, while Lisa Gerard and David Sust deliver strong supporting roles.

    Set to an interesting score from Australia’s Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard (who, as noted, has a role in the film), credited as Dead Can Dance, Moon Child is about as strange as it probably sounds but it’s very well-made. Dealing, obviously, with issues of spirituality and the power of the human mind, it takes some interesting twists and turns before reaching its predictable but appropriate finale. The picture has loads of atmosphere working in its favor, the score helping in this department quite a bit, and the visuals are very impressive. The art direction featured in the film helps to create plenty of interesting, unusual looking set pieces highlighted by the ambient score and Villaronga shows expert control over the film’s pacing and momentum. The story, as odd as it may be, actually turns out to be reasonably straightforward, though the visuals dabble with surrealism at times, resulting in a wholly unique picture that at times feels like a less confrontational Jodorowsky film.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Cult Epics brings Moon Child to Blu-ray framed at 1.66.1 widescreen on a 25GB disc in AVC encoded 1080p high definition and while no source for the transfer is given, the results are nevertheless pretty pleasing. The image quality here is good – we get strong detail throughout, a nice organic looking grain texture, good depth and fine color reproduction. Black levels are nice and skin tones look lifelike and accurate. There is a little bit of crush in some of the darker scenes but other than that, the disc is well authored and free of noise reduction, edge enhancement or compression artifacts. The image is generally quite clean as well, showing very little in the way of print damage. There are a few stylized shots that show a decrease in fine detail, but clearly this was intentional and it isn’t the fault of what is otherwise a nice picture.

    Spanish language audio is provided in DTD-HD 2.0 Stereo and Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound with removeable subtitles available in English only. The lossless 2.0 track is the way to go. The 5.1 mix does spread around some of the effects and the score but it sounds a bit thin compared to the 2.0 mix. Regardless, both tracks are clean, clear and nicely balanced but the 2.0 option just feels more authentic and presents the score with a bit more punch.

    The best extra on the disc is a fifteen-minute interview with writer/director Agustí Villaronga wherein he talks about what inspired him to make the movie, the contributions of both Jaume Peracaula and Dead Can Dance, and his most recent project, a new film called Born A King. It’s a nicely put together piece and quite an interesting interview.

    Cult Epics has also supplied the film’s soundtrack (reportedly the original elements for this are lost so this was taken from a print) as an isolated audio option on the disc. Aside from that we get a trailer for the feature, a trailer for In A Glass Cage (also released by Cult Epics), a still gallery, menus and chapter selection. As this is a combo pack review, Cult Epics has also included a DVD version of the movie inside the Blu-ray case.

    The Final Word:

    Moon Child is an interesting film, one that toys with surrealism at times and weaves elements of fantasy into its tried and true story of a kid that just doesn’t fit in. Cult Epics’ Blu-ray debut for the film is a good one, offering up some nice extras and a strong audio/video presentation. It’s a very different picture from the director’s better known In A Glass Cage, but no less impressive in its own strange way.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!





























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