(aka "The Apartment" or "L'Appartamento" or "Flash-back (El apartamento)")

directed by Gilles Mimouni
France 1996

"Although Mimouni mimics Hitchcock's scenarios, it is never in the master directors' original vein, instead imparting his own graceful and competent styling. This is no mere De Palma-retro duplication, but rather an intelligent and independently paced homage to one of the silver screens greatest directors. Mimouni establishes himself, not only as a capable auteur, but a respectful film student as well. I should point out that my opinion of the film would remain at its very lofty level regardless of the Hitch intimations. Not unlike the plot itself, this proves Mimouni exceptionally daring in his craft. Buy this today!... being a Hitchcock fan or not, you will not be disappointed by one of the better French films of the 90's."

The films complexities beg for analysis, but at the same time it flows with an overwhelming level of comfort, consistent throughout the entire 1 hour 54 minutes. The Hitchcock scene duplicities are subtle enough so as to remain a refreshing attribute and not so obvious they become a tiresome and cloying distraction. A few of the major parallels are documented:
Secretly following Daniel through the shopping district by car, Max eventually pursues on foot and views the purchase of a rose inside a flower shop. Throughout the sequence a Bernard Herrmann-style offering haunts the soundtrack.  John 'Scottie' Ferguson (played by Jimmy Stewart) peers from the back alley entrance of a flower shop were he observes Madeleine Elster ( Kim Novak ) in Hitchcock's "Vertigo".
A flashback of a young Max as he rushes up the stairs in hopes of catching a further glimpse of Lisa in the adjacent building. He imparts a haunted feeling as a man obsessed by a vision of beauty very reminiscent Hitchcock film fans. Scottie races after Judy Barton to prevent a second tragedy from occurring in the bell tower, the site of his haunted pursuit of Madeleine, again in "Vertigo".
After following her on a whim, Max spies on Lisa, from the window of an apartment building opposite hers. He cloaks himself in the shadows for fear of being discovered. L. B. 'Jeff' Jeffries (played again by Stewart), temporarily confined to his wheelchair, spies on the residents of the opposing tenement building in Hitchcock's classic "Rear Window".
Max retrieves Lisa's apartment key from a sewer grating. The scene is balanced with delicate timing for yet another missed opportunity as she floats in the background. Bruno Antony ( played by Robert Walker ) struggles to get a hold of his lighter which he dropped down a storm grating in Hitchcock's "Strangers on a Train".

Gary Tooze

Posters

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DVD Comparison

Lionsgate - Region 1 - NTSC vs. BITWIN - Region 3 - NTSC vs. BITWIN (possible bootleg) Region 0 NTSC vs. M6 Home Vidéo Region 0 - PAL vs. Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Bitwin captures and  M6 courtesy by Ashirg and Artificial Eye courtesy of Ole

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 Not Available

Distribution LionsGate (USA)
Region 0 encoded (NTSC) 
BITWIN (Korea)
Region 3 encoded (NTSC) 
BITWIN (Korea)
Region 0 encoded (NTSC) 

 

 

or in the US (third party)

 

 

  

M6 Home Vidéo 
Region 2  - PAL

Artificial Eye

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:56:20 1:51:12 (4% PAL Speedup) 1:51:16 (no Pal to NTSC speed reduction) 1:51:20 (4% PAL Speedup) 1:51:20 (4% PAL Speedup)
Video

Original Aspect Ratio  - 1.66:1

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.76 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Original Aspect Ratio  - 1.66:1

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.46 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Original Aspect Ratio  - 1.66:1
Average Bitrate: 6.71 mb/s

NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Original Aspect Ratio  - 1.66:1

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate:  7.48 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

Original Aspect Ratio  - 1.66:1
Average Bitrate:  5.18 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
 

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

LionsGate

 

Bitrate

BITWIN (Korea):

 

Bitrate

BITWIN (Korea):

 

Bitrate

M6 Home Vidéo:

 

Bitrate

Artificial Eye: 

Audio French Dolby Digital 2.0, DUB: Spanish 2.0 channel  French 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS sound French 5.1 Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround

French 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS sound

French Dolby Digital 2.0 
Subtitles English, Spanish, none English, Korean or none (White) English, Korean or none English (removable) (white) English (removable)
Features LionsGate

NTSC , Region 1

 Extras:

  • none

DVD Release Date: August 22nd, 2006
Keep Case

Chapters 12

BITWIN (Korea)

NTSC , Region 3

 Extras:

  • Trailers
  • Movie Gallery
  • Cast and Crew

DVD Release Date: April 28th, 2003
Keep Case

Chapters 23

BITWIN (Korea)

NTSC , Region 0

 Extras:

  • None

DVD Release Date: November 1st, 2000
Keep Case

Chapters 12

M6 Home Vidéo

PAL, Region 0

Extras:

  • 1.66:1 aspect ratio and anamorphic

  • Photo gallery with about 100 photos

  • Original trailer in French / no subs

  • Trailer for "Cruelle Melopee" (next film by Gilles Mimouni; no entry in imdb)

     

     

    DVD Release Date: April 2001
    Keep Case

    Chapters 28

Artificial Eye

PAL Region 2

Extras

  • Trailer anamorphic 1.85:1 (1:30) 
  • Filmographies for Vincent Cassel, Monica Bellucci, Romane Bohringer and director Gilles Mimouni.

DVD Release Date: 20 November, 2000
Keep Case

Chapters 28

 

Recommended Reading in French Cinema (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

The Films in My Life
by Francois Truffaut, Leonard Mayhew

French Cinema: A Student's Guide
by Philip Powrie, Keith Reader
Agnes Varda by Alison Smith Godard on Godard : Critical Writings by Jean-Luc Godard Robert Bresson (Cinematheque Ontario Monographs, No. 2)
by James Quandt
The Art of Cinema by Jean Cocteau French New Wave
by Jean Douchet, Robert Bonnono, Cedric Anger, Robert Bononno
French Cinema: From Its Beginnings to the Present
by Remi Fournier Lanzoni

Check out more in "The Library"


 

Comments:
ADDITION: LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC March 08': I've been wanting to add this edition for a long while. Unfortunately it is not good ness at all. The LionsGate DVD is single-layered and interlaced (see combing example below). It offers no extras. This is a far cry from some of the decent efforts that Lionsgate have produced in the past year (Bunuel, Godard and Alain Delon sets). So we say pass and continue seeking the best possible transfer of this marvelous film. Well there is still a Japanese version HERE (been told it has no English subs) and an Australian edition HERE. Stay tuned or indulge in the French M6 (apparently being sold at Amazon.com from 3rd party sellers at reasonable price) - best of the bunch so far.

***

ADDITION (Bitwin - Region 3- Nov 2004) : Well this is a great film, BAFTA Film Award in British Academy Awards 1998, Best Foreign Independent Film in the British Independent Film Awards 1998. There are too many editions of this film on DVD, yet none in Region 1? and most are Out-of-Print.  It is possible the studio is awaiting its Americanized version of the film called "Wicker Park" before allowing this (probably superior) film into North America.

Bottom line is to buy the newer anamorphic Bitwin Region 3 with DTS audio and a fine image even though taken from a PAL source (check times) and although is inexpensive, we still recommend the M6. With the improper PAL-NTSC conversion the BItwin(s) are going to exhibit some ghosting and artefacts, so we really recommend the M6 as the definitive choice.

NOTE: As soon as we find an online e-tailor for this bitwin edition we will post it.

*****

The only site I can see site selling the Korean R0 DVD is www.krdvd.com, and they are "out of stock" . I bought mine from EBay. The Korean image is brighter but washed out with much more edge enhancement. The Artificial Eye release is even softer (VERY soft) although the colors seem more accurate, and it has less edge enhancement. But I found skin tones in both to be slightly superior to the M6 disc which can appear quite red (see capture #5). Obviously the anamorphic M6 image is the sharpest (even shows some film grain - which is good!), more vibrant colors and the DVD has more extras (the BITWIN disc has none, although the box says "trailer" and the AE is bare bones). Go with the M6 disc all the way, and if you live in R1, then don't buy this bootleg, buy a region-free machine instead. This film is good enough alone to support that purchase.

Gary W. Tooze



DVD Menus


1) LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) BITWIN Region 3 - NTSC - SECOND

3) BITWIN - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT


 

 

(M6 Home Vidéo - LEFT, Artificial Eye - RIGHT)

 

 


The Lionsgate exhibits combing...

 

 

1) LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) BITWIN Region 3 - NTSC - SECOND

3) BITWIN - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) M6 Home Vidéo Region 0 - PAL - FOURTH

5) Artificial Eye Region 2- PAL - BOTTOM

Capture #1


1) LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) BITWIN Region 3 - NTSC - SECOND

3) BITWIN - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) M6 Home Vidéo Region 0 - PAL - FOURTH

5) Artificial Eye Region 2- PAL - BOTTOM

Capture # 2


 

1) LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) BITWIN Region 3 - NTSC - SECOND

3) BITWIN - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) M6 Home Vidéo Region 0 - PAL - FOURTH

5) Artificial Eye Region 2- PAL - BOTTOM

Capture # 3


 

1) LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) BITWIN Region 3 - NTSC - SECOND

3) BITWIN - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) M6 Home Vidéo Region 0 - PAL - FOURTH

5) Artificial Eye Region 2- PAL - BOTTOM

Capture # 4

 

1) LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) BITWIN Region 3 - NTSC - SECOND

3) BITWIN - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) M6 Home Vidéo Region 0 - PAL - FOURTH

5) Artificial Eye Region 2- PAL - BOTTOM

Capture # 5

 

 


 

1) LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) BITWIN Region 3 - NTSC - SECOND

3) BITWIN - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) M6 Home Vidéo Region 0 - PAL - FOURTH

5) Artificial Eye Region 2- PAL - BOTTOM

Capture # 6

 

 

 


Report Card:

 

Image:

M6

Sound:

M6 or Bitwin Region 3

Extras: M6
Menu: Artificial Eye

 





 

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Many Thanks...


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Mimouni's L'Appartement DVD Review Gilles Mimouni's L'Appartement DVD Review Monica
Bellucci L'Appartement DVD Review Gilles Mimouni's L'Appartement DVD Review Monica
Bellucci L'Appartement DVD Review Gilles Mimouni's L'Appartement DVD Review Monica
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Bellucci L'Appartement DVD Review Gilles Mimouni's L'Appartement DVD Review Monica
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