(aka "The Captive")

directed by Chantal Akerman
France 2000

Chantal Akerman has quite a strong reputation in the small film group that I converse with, but I had never seen any of her films. La Captive was the first. I initially felt quite intrigued by the pace and development of the storyline, but I also seemed to be on a different plane from the cinematic language... until I came to a feeling of acceptance and once that occurred, I began to enjoy what I was witnessing much more. It might be described as opening my mind. I expect that a large majority of film viewers will be quite perturbed  by the unusual state of affairs that appears to be 'holding court' in this film. Character development seems almost "matter of fact" with each giving very little of themselves - quite intentionally. This reminded me of Robert Bresson with the characters almost stripped bare. The artistic and symbolic level of activities (sexual, dialogue and body language) are steeped very deep within its subtle narrative. A comparison to "Eyes Wide Shut" might be appropriate although the artistic level can be extremely distancing for your average film fan. We are dealing with the "unknowable" capacity of our loved ones - all the details that we aren't aware of - that are behind the scenes - behind their thoughts. This can be almost compulsively disconcerting for some individuals - as was the case in both "Eyes Wide Shut" and for the protagonist, Simon, in "La Captive". Relationships are as cast shadows, sometimes interfacing and overlapping each other - many times a completely separate part. The cinematography and framing also bears this out. This makes "La Captive" both intriguing and thought provoking. The more I think about this film, the more I am encouraged to pursue viewing other works by director Akerman.out of     

Gary W. Tooze


Theatrical Release: May 15th, 200 - Cannes Film Festival

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DVD Review: Image Entertainment (Kim Stim) -  Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Image Entertainment (Kim Stim) -  Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:52:48 
Video 1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.51 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

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



Audio French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dolby) 
Subtitles English (non-removable)
Features Release Information:
Studio: Image Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.66:1

Edition Details:

• Interview with Director Chantal Akerman, 4:3 (26:43)
• Interview with Sylvie Testud , widescreen (8:40)

DVD Release Date: January 27, 2004

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Chapters: 12



This is quite a dark DVD image - intentionally so, with much of the film shot in very low level light. I found the picture quality quite acceptable, if not stellar. Sharpness was fine, colors were muted and subtle. I thought contrast was on the upper edge of "fair". The Extras are quite good and almost a prerequisite for enjoying and understanding the film. The subtitles are burned in, but are clear and legible. I think this is a good DVD. I recommend it. out of     

Gary W. Tooze

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 Notes on the Cinematographer by Robert Bresson 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

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Distribution Image Entertainment (Kim Stim) -  Region 1 - NTSC


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Gary Tooze

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