(aka "The Pornographer" )

 

directed by Bertrand Bonello
France 2001

 

THE PORNOGRAPHER chronicles an old pornographer's (Jean-Pierre Léaud) financially induced return from retirement to direct porn films. After several years of retirement, he is like a fish out of water as he aims to infuse some time of aesthetic quality in his porn films. During this time, his estranged son (Jérémie Renier), who forsook him after finding out about his profession, pops back into his life, not that they are by any means reconciled, but at the same time, there are no blowups. In fact, each are unto their own islands, and each are trying to direct their lives philosophically--they pace, mull, stare, search.

THE PORNOGRAPHER is filmed in a very graceful style, further elevated by classical music. Obviously in great contrast to what one would probably expect from a porn film. Bonello's camera begrudgingly gives up the master shot. The scene is revealed incrementally, typically fixing upon characters in isolation, regardless of all the people about them. And all the classical music creates a floating quality.

For most, there’s just not enough happening in this movie, whether own is looking for dramatic or erotic fare. The film doesn’t deliver on those terms, despite that being the expectation of most viewers. And as for the cinephiles, the film references might just offer some transitory warm fuzzies. The camera spends its time surveying rather mundane moments with fluid camera movement, delivering beautiful images, wonderful color schemes. Characterization is minimized, as well as plot. To what end? To string together a succession of portraits?

The answer, as usual, lies below the surface. What happens, happens in the realm of nuance in order to capture those moments where one is alone and conflicted, if not at the edge of oneself. This succession generates a certain thematic pulse throughout the film. This affords a certain thematic continuity, allowing minor characters to keep the ball rolling: a porn star who leaves the table to go dance alone prefiguring the son at the dance club, the moment in which another porn star is paid her wages and where a succession of small progressions can be seen underscoring her lack of reconcile, the interviewer assaying the situation with the director and betraying much a sense of her own discomfort… in short, lots of small moments that won’t amount to much in terms of conventional story. So many characters with hints and traces of issues encounter one another without arriving at anything more than superficial contact. Most who cross the path of the camera gaze inject this acute lack of narrative closure, with the film suggesting many paths, many story lines that won’t be picked up. And somehow, I just find it all rather interesting.

Fred Patton

Posters

Theatrical Release: Cannes 2001

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Editions Montparnasse - Region 2 - PAL vs. Koch Lorber - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Tartan - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Fred Patton for all the Screen Caps!

(Editions Montparnasse - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. Koch Lorber - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

Distribution

Editions Montparnasse

Region 2 - PAL

Koch Lorber
Region 1 - NTSC
Tartan
Region 2 - PAL
Runtime 1:45:48 1:45:56 1:45:57
Video

1.62:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.38 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.54 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.61:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.00 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:

 

Editions Montparnasse

 

Bitrate:

 

Koch Lorber

 

Bitrate:

 

Tartan

 

Audio French (DD 5.1 Surround), French (DD 2.0 Stereo)

French (DD 5.1 Surround), French (DD 2.0 Stereo)

French (DD 2.0 Stereo)

Subtitles None English, None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Editions Montparnasse

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.62:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with director by Marc Voinchet (12:52)
• Short: The Adventures of James and David (10:24)
• Commentary with director & Philippe Azoury
• Song clip: JPL (3:41)

DVD Release Date: 2002
Snap Case

Chapters 12
 

Release Information:
Studio: Koch Lorber

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.66:1

Edition Details:
• Short: The Adventures of James and David (10:29)
• Original French Theatrical Trailer
• 8 Trailers for other Koch Lorber Releases

 

DVD Release Date: 2005
Snap Case

Chapters 28

Release Information:
Studio: Tartan

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.61:1

Edition Details:
• The Pornographer At The BBFC
• Original Theatrical Trailer
• World Cinema Trailer Reel
• Directors Statement
• Pierre Perrone Film Notes
• Promotional Art Gallery

 

DVD Release Date: 2002
Snap Case

Chapters 16

 

 

Comments The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) mandated that 11 seconds be cut from a graphic sex scene in order for the Tartan release to receive an 18 certificate. The requirements were to "Remove close-up sight of man masturbating penis to climax on woman's face and all sight of ejaculation and semen on woman's face."

Given the greater visual detail and director's commentary, those without concern for subtitles will prefer the Editions Montparnasse.

 - Fred Patton

 

 






DVD Menus
(
Editions Montparnasse - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. Koch Lorber - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)


 

 

 

   

 


 

Screen Captures

(Editions Montparnasse - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Koch Lorber - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)
Subtitle Sample

 

NO  SUBTITLES  ON  MONTPARNASSE

 

 

 


(Editions Montparnasse - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Koch Lorber - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Editions Montparnasse - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Koch Lorber - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Editions Montparnasse - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Koch Lorber - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Editions Montparnasse - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Koch Lorber - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


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Image:

Editions Montparnasse

Sound:

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Extras: Editions Montparnasse
Menu: Koch Lorber
 
DVD Box Covers

Distribution

Editions Montparnasse

Region 2 - PAL

Koch Lorber
Region 1 - NTSC
Tartan
Region 2 - PAL




 

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