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(aka 'Nightcap')

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/chabrol.htm
France / Switzerland 2000

 

Claude Chabrol's Merci Pour le Chocolat is a light confection with a tasty Isabelle Huppert performance at its center. Working from a 1948 recipe by a sometime scriptwriter for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Chabrol knocks off a witty psychological thriller—more gothic than noir.

Set by the placid shores of Lake Lausanne, the movie opens with Swiss chocolate factory heiress Mika Muller (Huppert) marrying celebrated concert pianist André Polonski (Jacques Dutronc) for the second time, in a ceremony where family business blends with gossipy intrigue. Without pausing to clarify, Chabrol introduces a second domestic unit whose daughter, Jeanne (Anna Mouglalis), herself an aspiring pianist, learns that she was almost switched at birth with Guillaume (Rodolphe Pauly), André's highly unmusical son by his first (or rather, his second) wife, dead some years ago in car accident. The tangled genealogy has intimations of Elizabethan comedy—as does the spirited Jeanne, who, intrigued with the possibility that she might be the biological daughter of the great Polonski, presents herself at his wife's hilltop chateau.

 Excerpt from J. Hoberman's review at The Village Voice located HERE.

Posters etc.

Theatrical Release: August 2nd, 2000 - Montreal Film Festival

Reviews       DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL vs. Remstar - Region 1 - NTSC vs. MK2 - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Per-Olof Strandberg for the Artificial Eye Screen Caps and Eric Cotenas for the MK2!

1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT

2) Remstar - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) MK2 - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

Distribution

Artificial Eye

Region 2 - PAL

Remstar
Region 1 - NTSC

MK2

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:36:24 (4% PAL speedup) 1:36:15 (4% PAL speedup) 1:36:21 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1:1.78 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.33 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

Original Aspect Ratio

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

1.62:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.66 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:

 

Artificial Eye

 

Bitrate:

 

Remstar

 

Bitrate:

 

MK2

 

Audio French (Dolby Digital 2.0)

French (Dolby Digital 2.0), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)  

French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles English (Forced) English, None None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1:1.78

Edition Details:
• Trailer (1:29)
• Making of documentary (26:01)
• Isabella Huppert interview (7:09)
• Anna Mouglalis Screen test (10:30)
• Interview with Chabrol (TEXT / 11 Pages)
• Cast & Crew Filmography

DVD Release Date: November 19th, 2001
Keep Case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Remstar / First Run

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.63:1

Edition Details:

• Filmography
• 4 advert trailers

DVD Release Date: March 23rd, 2004

Keep Case
Chapters: 16

Release Information:
Studio: MK2

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.62:1

Edition Details:
• SIDE A:
• Introduction by Joel Magny
• SIDE B:
• Cinema Lesson by Claude Chabrol (four scenes with commentary; 16:9; 41:59)
• Making-of featurette (4:3; 26:01)
• Interview with Isabelle Huppert (4:3; 7:08)
• Interview with Jacques Dutronc (4:3; 31:59)
• Screen test for Anna Mouglalis (16:9; 10:30)
• Theatrical Trailer (4:3; 1:29)
• Bonus trailers for INSPECTOR LAVARDIN, MASQUES, THE STORY OF WOMEN, MADAME BOVARY, BETTY, L'ENFER,
• LA CEREMONIE, RIEN NE VA PLUS, AU COEUR DE MENSONGE, and MERCI POUR LE CHOCOLAT

DVD Release Date: 22 May 2001
Amaray

Chapters 16

 

Comments

ADDITION: MK2 - May 2010': The original MK2 edition seems to be the best picture-wise of the available editions as it is presented in its original 1.66:1 aspect ratio and sports a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Unlike other MK2 Chabrol titles, MERCI POUR LE CHOCOLAT is not English-friendly. Also unlike others in the series, it is not a dual-layer disc; rather, it is a double-sided disc that presents a single-layer anamorphic transfer of the film on side A with introduction by Joel Magny (narration over a series of slides and clips) and the rest of the supplements on side B including a 42 minute selected scenes commentary by Chabrol. Some of the extras were ported over to the Artificial Eye edition in the UK (with the exception of the selected commentary and the Dutronc interview) and translated but that edition was ruinously cropped to 1.78:1. The UK disc also featured large burnt-in subtitles and 2.0 stereo audio only. The two North American editions were PAL-converted and non-anamorphic. The Canadian Remstar had 5.1 and 2.0 tracks as well as optional subtitles while the US First Run edition had burnt-in subtitles and a 2.0 track but was not a port of the UK edition as it was in the 1.66:1 ratio (the Canadian edition was also 1.66:1). The 2001 MK2 edition seems to be out of print but a check at Amazon shows that it has been reissued a few times with the latest being in 2008 which is still available HERE.

 - Eric Cotenas

******

ON THE ARTIFICIAL EYE vs. the REMSTAR: Both of these DVDs have fatal flaws that cannot be disregarded. Starting with the Artificial Eye - it has been cropped from the intended ratio of 1.66:1 to suit 1.78 widescreen systems. Heads are chopped here and there (see large capture # 3). It has burned-in subtitles which are quite large and intrusive. It does have some decent Extra features but the cropping is noticeable on Chabrol's tight framing. Now, the Remstar - Looking at the times it is a PAL->NTSC transfer with only minimal examples of 'ghosting' (see last capture). It is non-anamorphic, and non-progressive but it is fairly close to the 1.66 intended aspect ratio. Both a 2.0 and 5.1 French track are optional - no extras to speak of - and I found the subtitles as large and intrusive as the Artificial Eye but at least they are optional. The Remstar virtually has no extras.

The lesser of two evils is the Remstar but it is a very strange disc with limitations in the image but include a 5.1 bump option in the audio. I suggest Remstar get their priorities correct when engaging in DVD production.

NOTE: We are just off on a few of the frames but the glaring points of comparison are still easy to discern.

Gary Tooze

 

 


DVD Menus

(Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. Remstar - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)

 

 

MK2 - Region 2 - PAL

 


 

Screen Captures

 

1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Remstar - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) MK2 - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Remstar - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) MK2 - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Remstar - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) MK2 - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Remstar - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) MK2 - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Remstar - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) MK2 - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Remstar - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) MK2 - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 

NOTE: Not exact frame (notice combing in Remstar)

 

 


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 Claude Chabrol (French Film Directors)
by Guy Austin
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"


DVD Box Covers

Distribution

Artificial Eye

Region 2 - PAL

Remstar
Region 1 - NTSC

MK2

Region 2 - PAL


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Report Card:

 

Image:

MK2

Sound:

RemStar

Extras: MK2
Menu: Artificial Eye
 




 

 

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