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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "L'École (working title)" )

 

directed by Lucile Hadzihalilovic
Belgium / France / UK 2004

Based on the same source as John Irvin's "The Fine Art of Love: Mine Ha-Ha", German author Frank Wedekind's Mine Haha, aka The Corporeal Education Of Young Girls, director Lucille Hadzihalilovic has created a poetic illustration of the transformation of young girls.

Set in an almost mythical illuminated European forest lies a boarding school for young girls ages 6 to 11. It is a world of strict order without any men. The girls are divided into ages by different colored hair ribbons, they are taught traditions and objects fitting young girls, and the school itself is surrounded by high stone walls without any entrance or exit. It is also a world with a magical logic to it, where the eldest girl will disappear and the new youngest girl will appear in a coffin, without any memory of the outside world.

Hadzihalilovic uses Wedekind's novella loosely. Where Wedekind in his writings criticized the scheinmoral of the upper classes, Hadzihalilovic is more interested in creating a fairy-tale like symbolic depiction of innocence.

Her mise-en-scene is breathtaking. She sets her scenery up natural light, creating almost impressionistic images, using surround colors, the green of the wood and grass, the black of the night, to create contrasts versus the white dresses and colored hair ribbons of the girls.

The world is described thru elements - stone (earth) can be read as secrecy, fire as death, air as life and water as loss of innocence. Two scenes are significant here. One is when one of the girls dares herself to row in a boat, getting her feet wet, which Hadzihalilovic follows by showing the turmoil of the deep water, then rain. The second is the final scene, where the eldest girls have been transported to the world outside, enjoying their freedom in a fountain, amongst boys.

Full of symbolism, the most striking is the butterfly. One reading would suggest it to be a representation of the girls. The mistress of the school has a selection of butterflies on pins, and the girls ballet, wearing fairy wings, makes them appear as butterflies. The butterfly also represents something making a change, from the caterpillar stage to butterfly.

"Innocence" is nothing less than a masterpiece of cinema. It is so delicate in tone, poetic visual porcelain, which uses colors to paint a mythical fable of innocence, hold in place by discipline and terror. Pure cinema magic.

Henrik Sylow

 

Poster

 

Theatrical Release: September 10th, 2004 (Toronto Film Festival)

Reviews                                                    More Reviews                                              DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison: 

Home Vision - Region 1 - NTSC vs.  Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL vs. Seville / Warner - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Henrik Sylow for the Review!

(Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL LEFT vs. Seville / Warner - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT)

DVD Box Cover

 

 

Distribution

Home Vision

Region 1 - NTSC

Artificial Eye

Region 2 - PAL

Seville / Warner

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:59:44 1:54:56 (4% PAL speedup) 1:54:48

Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.53 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.92 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.39 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.

Bitrate :

 HVE

Bitrate :

 Artificial Eye

Bitrate:

 Seville

Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital French, 5.1 Dolby Digital French 2.0 Dolby Digital French, 5.1 Dolby Digital French 2.0 Dolby Digital French, 5.1 Dolby Digital French
Subtitles English, None English, None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Home Vision

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Director Interviews (38:46 / 4:3)

•  Second interview - 6:14 in French with optional Eng subs.
• 'Zoe Auclair' explanation (10:17) with slideshow of production polaroids (French with optional Eng subs.)
• Theatrical Trailer (1:32 / 4:3)

• 4 page liner notes essay

DVD Release Date: November 13th, 2007
Keep case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Director Interview (18:19 / 4:3)
• Director Biography
• Theatrical Trailer (1:32 / 4:3)

DVD Release Date: January 23, 2006
Amarey

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Seville Pictures (Canada) - Warner

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Director Interview (6:15) in FRENCH - NO SUBTITLES!
• Photo montage with commentary  in FRENCH - NO SUBTITLES!
• Theatrical Trailers

DVD Release Date: January 17th, 2006
Keep Case

Chapters 20

 

Comments:
ADDITION: Home Vision - November 07': Dang. So Image Entertainment buys Home Vision... for what? To screw up a competent DVD production house?

At least any suspicions that the Seville wasn't from a direct PAL source can be disregarded. Unfortunately, this Home Vision release is interlaced - end of story. The combing during horizontal panning is atrocious - as bad as incorrect standard usage. It doesn't look too bad on a CRT (cathode ray tube) system but anything beyond will be distracted by the combing. It is not quite as sharp as the AE but shows the same intentional grain. It would have been acceptable if not for the combing as it has some decent supplements, including the 6 minute Hadzihalilovic interview found in both other releases, plus another longer one (over 30 minutes) and a cute explanation by nine-year old Zoe Auclair (one of the girls of the film) - her discussion runs with some Polaroid stills from production. Essentially her contention is that 'it is a mystery' - which may be pinpoint accurate. There are 4 pages of liner notes with an essay by Vivian Sobchack (UCLA).

I'm quite disappointed as I really love this film and was hoping HVE would come to the rescue as they did with Julio Medem's Lovers of the Arctic Circle (another film I adored way out of proportion).

I'll leave stating this - if you only have a tube TV and no plans to upgrade then the Home Vision will do the job, and for those zealots who are as ga-ga over Innocence as I - then the extras may be a very expensive reason to indulge. Otherwise the Artificial Eye is the route to go if you are not region locked (or live in a PAL - zone 2 country). WATCH THIS FILM!

***

 

On the Seville: Sloppy work by Seville / Warner. There's is an unconverted PAL transfer (see times above) fraught with 'combing' but worse they haven't even bothered to translate the French extra features (director interview / photo montage commentary). That is about all we need to know - the Artificial Eye is a beautiful release and the film is both intriguing and thought provoking. I will be awaiting Hadzihalilovic's future efforts with keen interest. We strongly encourage purchasing the Artificial Eye PAL release.  

 - Gary Tooze

***

On the Artificial Eye: About the Artificial Eye release: A transfer about as perfect as they come. The film is shot using natural light, which causes the image to appear grainy and saturated. The design of the frame is stunning, in its use of color and scenery, and the transfer allows this to come to its right. No artifacts visible, not even by zooming in.

Sound is optional either 2.0 Dolby Digital or 5.1 Dolby Digital. Preferable is the surround track, as it allows the atmosphere to come to its right.

Additional material is an interview with director Lucile Hadzihalilovic. While brief, only lasting 18 minutes, she goes into great detail about the style, her mise-en-scene, the source and her influences, amongst others Robert Bresson. A very insightful interview.

 - Henrik Sylow

 



DVD Menus

 

Home Vision - Region 1 - NTSC

 



(Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL LEFT vs. Seville / Warner - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT)

 


Screen Captures

 

1) Home Vision - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Seville / Warner - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM


NOTE: Not exact frame

 

 

 


 

1) Home Vision - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Seville / Warner - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 

 

 


 

1) Home Vision - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Seville / Warner - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 

 

 


 

1) Home Vision - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Seville / Warner - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 

 

 


 

1) Home Vision - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Seville / Warner - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 

 

 


 

1) Home Vision - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Seville / Warner - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 

 


Report Card:

 

Image:

Artificial Eye

Sound:

-

Extras: Home Vision
Menu: -

 
DVD Box Cover

 

 

Distribution

Home Vision

Region 1 - NTSC

Artificial Eye

Region 2 - PAL

Seville / Warner

Region 1 - NTSC




 

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