(aka "First Name: Carmen" )

 

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/godard.htm
France 1983

"I'm the girl who shouldn't be called Carmen," says the voice of Maruschka Detmers following the title card. Godard's modern variation on Prosper Merimee's CARMEN (also done by Otto Preminger with CARMEN JONES [1954] and Radley Metzger with CARMEN, BABY [1967]) begins with Carmen asking her voluntarily institutionalized eccentric filmmaker uncle (Godard himself in a funny performance) for the use of his house by the beach to make a film (actually she plans to use it as a hideout after a heist). The ensuing heist leads to the meeting of Carmen and security guard Joseph (Jacques Bonnaffe) who fall in love. Joseph joins the gang in plans to abduct an industrialist and hold him for ransom but its Joseph's obsession and Carmen's faithlessness (here more of an alienated response) that brings about the tragic ending more so than the kidnapping - which Godard's character turns up to direct - gone wrong.

The rhythms of the film are driven by musical performances of Beethoven quartets (in sequences featuring Joseph's lovesick friend played by Myriam Roussel) which also underlines the notion that the characters themselves are being driven to embody mythic characters and situations (also explored somewhat in Godard's HELAS POUR MOI and even back to CONTEMPT). Detmers' Carmen even quotes from Preminger's
CARMEN JONES when she tells Bonaffe's Joseph "If I love you, that's the end of you."

Ending with the dedication "In memoriam small movies," Godard's film indeed strikes not so much a compromise as a balance between his Brechtian aesthetics and the mainstream. Coutard's gorgeous award-winning cinematography - the film also won for a technical award for sound - has a 1980's slickness comparable to Jean-Jacques Beineix's DIVA and BETTY BLUE while retaining Godard's abstract framing and natural lighting. Not mentioned in the credits is the use of Tom Waitt's beautiful "Ruby's Arms" for one of the few truly "mainstream cinematic" moments in the film.

Eric Cotenas

Theatrical Release: 11 January 1984

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Lionsgate (from Jean-Luc Godard Box Set) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Raro Video (Eccentriche Visioni) - Region 0 - PAL vs. Warner Bros. (3 Films by Jean-Luc Godard Vol. 2) - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the Screen Caps!

1) Lionsgate - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT

2) Raro Video (Eccentriche Visioni) - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Warner Bros. (3 Films by Jean-Luc Godard Vol. 2) - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

Distribution

Lionsgate

Region 1 - NTSC

Raro Video

Region 0 - PAL

Warner Bros.
Region 2 - PAL
Runtime 1:24:33 1:20:45 (4% PAL speedup) 1:20:48 (4% PAL speedup)
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.65 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.81 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.66:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.18 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:

 

Lionsgate

 

Bitrate:

 

Raro Video (Eccentriche Visioni)

 

Bitrate:

 

Warner Bros. (3 Films by Jean-Luc Godard Vol. 2)

Audio French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono; Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

Subtitles English, Spanish, none English, Italian, none English (burned in)
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Lionsgate 

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• shares disc with Passion (
1:28:09) and package with Detective and Oh, Woe is Me

DVD Release Date: February 5th, 2008
standard keep case inside cardboard sleeve

Chapters 20

Release Information:
Studio: Raro Video

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Godard and His Camera (14:20 - English and Italian subtitles)
• Interview with Bernardo Bertolucci (34:34 - English subtitles)
• Video Essay by Enrico Ghazzi (19:17 - no subtitles)

DVD Release Date:
Amaray

Chapters 10

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Bros.

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.66:1

Edition Details:
 

DVD Release Date: 4 April 2005
Digipack in slipcover

Chapters 20

 

 

Comments:

ADDITION: Lionsgate - February 08': Wow! What an improvement. This new Lionsgate package is the DVD of the Year for Godard fans. It is vastly improved in the areas of color and detail. It is dual-layered (sharing), and progressive. I suspect a shade of black boosting manipulation but it's nothing I could clearly define (even with extensive zooming-in). There is some noise that looks very much like good grain. It maintains the 1.33 aspect ratio and has removable subtitles - the monaural audio is clear and consistent. No extras but it does share the disc with Godard's Passion (1982) - it may be it's DVD debut for English-language audiences. It is included in the ubiquitously titled Jean-Luc Godard Box Set which also has Detective from 85' (compared soon!) and Oh, Woe is Me (1993) - both making their digital debut for NTSC.

Fabulous news - these Lionsgate packages are a very welcome addition to my collection - and the price is sure right for 4 smartly transferred Godard films (about $8 each). SOLD!

****

ON THE RARO VS. THE WARNER: The Raro presentation is unmatted fullscreen whereas the Warner Bros. disc (part of the 3 FILMS BY JEAN-LUC GODARD VOL. 2 set) is letterboxed at 1.66:1 (without 16:9 enhancement). The Warner disc has a higher bitrate but some of the encoding efficiency is sacrificed to the black borders on all four sides (the forced subtitles also look a tad noisy) compared to the nicer fullscreen image on the Italian disc at a slightly lesser average bitrate. Raro has optional English subtitles while Warner Bros. has permanent English subtitles superimposed on transparent gray bars. Although the Warner Bros. 3 disc set is out of print (new copies can still be found on eBay), the reason a visual comparison is included is for people interested in that set as well as to show what Studio Canal will likely supply to another company that licenses the title (Optimum have already released two 5-film sets of Godard so this may be a future Optimum release).

There are also an R4 Australian release (HERE) with French and German audio and English, Swedish, Spanish, and Norwegian subtitles (suggesting its a port of another R2 release) bearing the Studio Canal logo and listing its specs as "1.33:1 letterbox." The sometimes erratic IMDB database lists the aspect ratio for this film as "1.37:1" and I'm inclined to think they may be right about this one. The 1.66:1 matting does not crop vital information but the 1.33:1 transfer comes off as better composed (striking compositions can usually be accomplished with 1.66:1 but here it seems more like the image was "protected" for theatrical matting).

The Italian disc seems to have a smoother image with more accurate-looking colors (check out the top of the red car in the second capture). The 1.33:1 framing also looks superior to the British 1.66:1 image which also has faces looking a tad elongated (although it is not anamorphically enhanced, there is a black border on both sides (perhaps without that border, the faces would look less narrow). Sound on both is great with Tom Waitts' "Ruby's Arms" coming through soulfully in one of the film's most iconic images.

As for extras, the Warner disc is barebones with just scene selection and a static menu. The Raro disc has motion menus and several English friendly extras "Godard and His Camera" (in French with English and Italian subtitles), an interview with Bernardo Bertolucci (in Italian with English subtitles), and a video essay by "Eccentriche Visioni" series editor Enrico Ghezzi (the only extra without subtitles) as well as a thick dual-language (Italian and English) booklet on the film. In the Bertoulcci interview, he remarks that he has not seen the film since its Venice Film Festival screening and actually has little to say about the film and speaks mostly about the ceremony surrounding it (PRENOM CARMEN won the festival's Golden Lion award - see last cap in the menu space above - and an award for cinematography). The Ghezzi piece is poorly shot but has him analyzing scenes off of his computer screen (complete with flicker) and unfortunately has no English subtitles (but the essays in the booklet are very in-depth). The Godard documentary's full title is "Godard and His Camera" is hosted by critic/actor Andre S. Labarthe. This is very much the stuff you learn in a film class about the New Wave, Godard, and BREATHLESS and how they revolutionized filmmaking; that said, for people less familiar it might make a convenient distillation of concepts delivered by someone who actually participated as both actor and critic.

 - Eric Cotenas

 



DVD Menus

Lionsgate - Region 1 - NTSC

 

 


(
Raro Video (Eccentriche Visioni) - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT vs. Warner Bros. (3 Films by Jean-Luc Godard Vol. 2) - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)


 

 
 

 

 

 


 

Screen Captures

Subtitle sample

1) Lionsgate - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Raro Video (Eccentriche Visioni) - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Warner Bros. (3 Films by Jean-Luc Godard Vol. 2) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 

 

 


1) Lionsgate - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Raro Video (Eccentriche Visioni) - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Warner Bros. (3 Films by Jean-Luc Godard Vol. 2) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 

 

 


1) Lionsgate - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Raro Video (Eccentriche Visioni) - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Warner Bros. (3 Films by Jean-Luc Godard Vol. 2) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 

 

 


1) Lionsgate - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Raro Video (Eccentriche Visioni) - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Warner Bros. (3 Films by Jean-Luc Godard Vol. 2) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 

 

 


1) Lionsgate - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Raro Video (Eccentriche Visioni) - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Warner Bros. (3 Films by Jean-Luc Godard Vol. 2) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 

 

 


1) Lionsgate - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Raro Video (Eccentriche Visioni) - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Warner Bros. (3 Films by Jean-Luc Godard Vol. 2) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 

 

 


1) Lionsgate - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Raro Video (Eccentriche Visioni) - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Warner Bros. (3 Films by Jean-Luc Godard Vol. 2) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 

Jean-Luc Godard as the filmmaker

 

 


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Report Card:

 

Image:

Lionsgate

Sound:

Draw

Extras: Raro
Menu: Raro
 

DVD Box Covers

Distribution

Lionsgate

Region 1 - NTSC

Raro Video

Region 0 - PAL

Warner Bros.
Region 2 - PAL




 

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