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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

( aka "Three Colors: Blue" )

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/kieslowski.htm
France 1993

In the devastating first film of the Three Colors trilogy, Juliette Binoche gives a tour de force performance as Julie, a woman reeling from the tragic death of her husband and young daughter. But Blue is more than just a blistering study of grief; it’s also a tale of liberation, as Julie attempts to free herself from the past while confronting truths about the life of her late husband, a composer. Shot in sapphire tones by Sławomir Idziak, and set to an extraordinary operatic score by Zbigniew Preisner, Blue is an overwhelming sensory experience.

***

"...in other ways, however, the Three Colours films cannot be faulted. They showcase a director working at the summit of his powers, with equally skilled and talented collaborators like Piesiewicz and composer Zbigniew Preisner. Many moments will surely linger in the memory - be it the reflections in the dark pools of Binoche's huge eyes, or the elliptical time-lapses of Blue; the orgasmic flashes of blinding white light in White; the catwalk sequence in Red, where Jacob is illuminated by flashbulb after flashbulb, or even just recurring in-jokes like the music of Van Den Budenmayer."

Review by Keith H. Brown
Taken from EUFS Programe Autumn 1999

The AE is on the TOP 100 List of DVDs.

Posters ( Click to enlarge )

Reviews           More Reviews           DVD Reviews - R2

The Blu-ray is on the Desert Island Discs.

The Criterion editions - only available in their Kieslowski - Three Colors Blu-ray set

Comparison:

Artificial Eye  Region 2 - PAL vs. Buena Vista Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC vs. MK2 - Region 'B'- Blu-ray vs. Criterion - Region 'A'- Blu-ray

1) Artificial Eye Region 2 - PAL LEFT 

2) Buena Vista Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) MK2 (Kieslowski Coffret) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

Box Covers

  

Only available in the Kieslowski - Coffret 4 Blu-ray set below with the Tri-Color Trilogy and La double vie de Véronique (1991)

The Criterion edition is only available in their Kieslowski - Three Colors Blu-ray set - not individually.

Can also be purchased in the Tri-Colors Boxsets

 

Distribution Artificial Eye Region 2 - PAL
Region 2

MiraMax  -

Region 1  NTSC

MK2 

Region 'B' -  Blu-ray

Criterion Collection - Spine #  588

Region 'A' -  Blu-ray

Runtime 1:33:54  (PAL Speedup)

1:38:09 

1:33:59.000 (PAL Speedup) 1:38:20.936
Video 1.85:1.00 Letterboxed WideScreen / anamorphic
Average Bitrate: 6.27 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
1.85:1.00 Letterboxed WideScreen / anamorphic
Average Bitrate:4.59 mb/s
NTSC 960X540 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 19,598,043,988 bytes

Feature Size: 14,137,282,560 bytes

Average Bitrate: 15.44 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC 1080i

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,574,950,269 bytes

Feature: 28,750,884,864 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps

Bitrate: Artificial Eye 

Bitrate: Buena Vista R1 

Bitrate: MK2 Blu-ray

Bitrate: Criterion Blu-ray

Audio French (Dolby Digital 5.0) 

French (Dolby Digital 2.0) 

DTS-HD Master Audio French 1665 kbps 5.0 / 48 kHz / 1665 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 1570 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1570 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 2046 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2046 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Subtitles English, None (removable): English and English for the hearing impaired English, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye (UK)

 

Aspect Ratios:
Widescreen letterbox - 1.85:1

 

Edition Details:
• Krzysztof Kieslowski - masterclass. 7.30 minute feature, where the director takes us through a single scene from the film.

• interviews with Juliette Binoche, Jacques Witta (Editor) and Marin Karmitz (Producer)

• Excerpts from the original soundtrack.Three pieces of medium length from Zbigniew Preisner’s superb score, presented in Dolby Digital 2.0. This is a particularly welcome extra as we tend only to hear snatches of the soundtrack throughout the film.

• Theatrical trailers for Blue, White and Red. These are presented non-anamorphically at 1.85:1.

DVD Release Date: October 29th, 2001
Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 36

Release Information:
Studio: Buena Vista Home Video

Aspect Ratios:
Widescreen letterbox - 1.85:1



Edition Details:
• Documentary 'Reflections on Blue' - Non-anamorphic widescreen - 17:25
• Documentary 'A Discussion of Keislowski Early Years' - 4:3 - 15:01
• Interview: 'A Conversation with Juliet Binoche on Kieslowski' - 4:3 - 7:56
• Feature 'Kieslowski's Cinema Lesson' - Non-anamorphic widescreen - 7:30 ( subs in French and English )

• Audio Commentary by Annette Insdorf

Sneak Peek Trailers
• Red - Pan and scan - narration in English - 1:02
• White - Pan and scan - narration in English - 1:02
• K's Heaven - Pan and scan - narration in English - :54

DVD Release Date: March 4, 2003
Keep Case inside a Box Set
Chapters: 20

Release Information:
Studio: Mk2
 

Disc Size: 19,598,043,988 bytes

Feature Size: 14,137,282,560 bytes

Average Bitrate: 15.44 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC 1080i

Edition Details:

Krzysztof Kieslowski - masterclass. 7.30 minute feature, where the director takes us through a single scene from the film.

• interviews with Juliette Binoche (14:40), Jacques Witta (Editor) - 14:37 and Marin Karmitz (Producer) - 16:56

 

Blu-ray Boxset Release Date: October 13th, 2010
Standard
Blu-ray Keep Case inside a Box Set
Chapters: 2
4

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion
 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,574,950,269 bytes

Feature: 28,750,884,864 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps



Edition Details:

Cinema lesson with director Krzysztof Kieślowski (7:35 in 1080i)
New video essay by film studies professor Annette Insdorf ( 'On Blue' 20:46 in 1080P)
New video interview with Three Colors composer Zbigniew Preisner (21:33 in 1080P)
Selected-scene commentary featuring actor Juliette Binoche (24:27 in 1080i)
“Reflections on Blue" (17:27 in 1080i) and Kieślowski: The Early Years (14:59 in 1080i), interview programs featuring film critic Geoff Andrew, Binoche, filmmaker Agnieszka Holland, cinematographer Sławomir Idziak, Insdorf, actor Irène Jacob, and editor Jacques Witta
The Tram (1966 - 5:33 in 1080P), a student short by Kieślowski, and The Face (1966 - 6:05 in 1080P), a short starring Kieślowski
Original theatrical trailer (1:53 in 1080P)

 

Blu-ray Boxset Release Date: November 15th, 2011
Custom
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 16

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - (October 2011) - Much of the superiority of the Criterion over the MK2 Blu-ray is well beyond the scope of the static screen captures below. Let's dismiss the MK2 once and for all as it has PAL speed-up and is interlaced - we can forget the fact that is also single-layered with a puny bitrate - less than half that of the Criterion - which is 1080P and holds the film's grain textures to a significantly higher degree. Blue is my favorite of the Trilogy but we will review/compare White and Red but as the extras are so stacked we feel it prudent to give each it's due with a single web page. Image-wise the Criterion, predictably, looks fabulous - minimal noise, notable grain and wonderful contrast. Colors don't deviate from any of the previous digital editions but where they were flat and video-like - this shows some depth and is significantly more film-like. There is no question we are treated to the best representation of the film's visuals via this Criterion Blu-ray release.

For audio - Criterion remain faithful and don't indulge in the fake 5 channel bump. This is a DTS-HD Master 2.0 stereo track at 2046 kbps and Zbigniew Preisner's important music of the film has abundant depth and resonance. The orchestrations can come across as quite intense (intentionally) and subtle noises (the mice etc.) have the perception of separation and are crisp and clear. The whole sound experience is clean and extremely impressive via Criterion's lossless rendering. There are optional English subtitles. NOTE: The Greek chorus at the conclusion IS optionally subtitled on the Criterion (we find this an important factor.)

Criterion have stacked the deck on the Blu-ray of Kieslowski's Blue. We are privy to a new video essay by film studies professor Annette Insdorf entitled 'On Blue' running over 20-minutes in 1080P where she expands on previously heard ideas on the meanings within the film relating details of the director's life. There is a Cinema Lesson with director Krzysztof Kieślowski from 1994 for about 7.5 minutes in 1080i where he discusses a scene from Blue, and specifically his idea behind a close-up shot of a saturating sugar cube. There is another new video interview - this time with Three Colors composer Zbigniew Preisner running 21-minutes in Polish with English subtitles as he discusses his method of creation and specifics on the film's soundtrack. Recorded in 2004 is a selected-scene commentary featuring actor Juliette Binoche lasting almost 25-minutes. “Reflections on Blue" (17:27 in 1080i) and Kieślowski: The Early Years (14:59 in 1080i) are interview programs featuring film critic Geoff Andrew, Binoche, filmmaker Agnieszka Holland, cinematographer Sławomir Idziak, Insdorf, actor Irène Jacob, and editor Jacques Witta. They reflect on the production aspects of Blue and the questions posed by Kieslowski's work as well as examining his formative years and the political and social circumstances that shaped his direction and philosophical choices in cinema. We get two student shorts - both in 1080P - The Tram (1966 - 5:33 in 1080P), by Kieślowski, and The Face (1966 - 6:05 in 1080P), a short actually starring Kieślowski. Lastly is an original theatrical trailer in 1080P and the package contains a booklet featuring essays by film critics Colin MacCabe, Nick James, Stuart Klawans, and Georgina Evans; an excerpt from Kieślowski on Kieślowski; and reprinted interviews with cinematographers Idziak, Edward Klosinski, and Piotr Sobocinski.

Fans of cinema probably didn't require my endorsement for the Criterion Blu-ray package. This is one of the most welcome Blu-ray sets of the entire year. Simply covering Blue - we can give a full endorsement. Our reviews of the other two films will be posted as soon as we can. This is starting off on the exact footing we have hoped!     

***

ADDITION: MK2 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - (December 2010) - Ughhh - what a disappointment. Revisiting Blue reminded me why it is on my Top 10 films of all-time and again the digital production is lackluster. Single-layered, interlaced (1080i), plenty of noise, with a puny feature file size/ bitrate and it appears to be in PAL time (4% sped-up - shorter - from theatrical). Why? Why? Why?

Like Lost Highway MK2 in France have put out this English-friendly (we are initially given the choice of English or French menus), region 'B'-locked Blu-ray of Kieslowski's initial masterpiece entry of his Tri-Color Trilogy. At present it is only available in Kieslowski - Coffret 4 Blu-ray boxset along with the other 2 films in the trilogy and The Double Life of Veronique (1991) (La double vie de Véronique). It supports the same color scheme as the other PAL discs of the film.

Audio is lossless with a DTS-HD Master 5.0 option at 1665 kbps 5.0 or 2.0 stereo DTS-HD at 1570 kbps. Blue utilizes music as well as any film in my memory and it does sound quite crisp and buoyant - but to reiterate - it is in PAL running time - for those sensitive. Like the Buena Vista the Blu-ray doesn't English subtitle translate the Greek Chorus for the finale scene. My Momitsu has identified it as being region 'B'-locked.

Extras are a duplication of the AE DVD (and MK2 SD version) with the Masterclass and three interviews but we lose the three original soundtrack excerpts and there are no trailers.

I'm both surprised and disappointed with the lack of effort and detail that has gone into this MK2 Blu-ray production. We will continue to investigate the rest of the Kieslowski Coffret boxset but this, my favorite of the director's work, and first entry in his Trilogy, are a disappointment. This certainly doesn't climb to the heights of the format although it does, for the most part, look marginally superior to DVD. We strongly suggest waiting and hoping that AE will improve on this Blu-ray collection to produce the definitive digital edition of this, and the other, 2 films (They have already produced a Blu-ray of The Double Life of Veronique - and Criterion will be doing so as well).

Gary W. Tooze

***

 

ON THE DVDs: NOTE: Additional - The Buena Vista version does not have subtitle reference for the final Chorus. This is a pretty large omission and should be noted. See large screen capture #1.


The Buena Vista exhibits some pronounced edge enhancement which has messed the colors up significantly (see red skin tones). The Artificial Eye has been cropped both vertically and horizontally (see last large capture for most obvious example). The colors are really different on both discs. The sound is in favor of Buena Vista with the original 2.0 as the Artificial Eye is only 5.0 ( a mistake ). Extras are good on both, but Buena Vista has the Commentary track. I think color balance is far superior on the Artificial Eye, and with the omission of the Greek Chorus translation from the Buena Vista - we recommend the Artificial Eye DVD.

Gary W. Tooze

Note for "Blue": R2 - Although the case states that the film has a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, it is in fact 5.0, losing the sub-woofer channel, which is not particularly important for the film. 


Recommended Film reading on Kieslowski (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

DVD Menu
(Artificial Eye Region 2 - LEFT, Buena Vista Region 1 - RIGHT)

 

MK2 (Kieslowski Coffret) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Artificial Eye Region 2 - PAL TOP 

2) Buena Vista Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) MK2 (Kieslowski Coffret) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

NOTE: This is from the final 'Greek Chorus' sequence - AE and Criterion Blu-ray ARE subtitled , Buena Vista and MK2 Blu-ray are NOT!



 

1) Artificial Eye Region 2 - PAL TOP 

2) Buena Vista Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) MK2 (Kieslowski Coffret) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM



1) Artificial Eye Region 2 - PAL TOP 

2) Buena Vista Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) MK2 (Kieslowski Coffret) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


1) Artificial Eye Region 2 - PAL TOP 

2) Buena Vista Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) MK2 (Kieslowski Coffret) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Artificial Eye Region 2 - PAL TOP 

2) Buena Vista Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) MK2 (Kieslowski Coffret) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

1) MK2 (Kieslowski Coffret) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

1) MK2 (Kieslowski Coffret) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

1) MK2 (Kieslowski Coffret) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

1) MK2 (Kieslowski Coffret) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

1) MK2 (Kieslowski Coffret) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

1) MK2 (Kieslowski Coffret) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


Recommended Film reading on Kieslowski (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

DVD Box Covers

  

Only available in the Kieslowski - Coffret 4 Blu-ray set below with the Tri-Color Trilogy and La double vie de Véronique (1991)

The Criterion edition is only available in their Kieslowski - Three Colors Blu-ray set - not individually.

Can also be purchased in the Tri-Colors Boxsets

 

Distribution Artificial Eye Region 2 - PAL
Region 2

MiraMax  -

Region 1  NTSC

MK2 

Region 'B' -  Blu-ray

Criterion Collection - Spine #  588

Region 'A' -  Blu-ray


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Gary Tooze