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directed by François Ozon
France/UK 2003


English detective story writer Sarah Morton (Charlotte Rampling) has had enough of her series detective character and takes her publisher's (Charles Dance) advice to stay at his house in the French countryside and write something new. No sooner does Sarah settle into the idyllic sun-drenched surroundings when her publisher's wild and promiscuous French daughter Julie (Ludivine Sagnier) shows up. At first Julie is a distraction and an annoyance to the writer but she soon becomes a source of inspiration and answers to the writer about the private life of her publisher and his late wife. Things take a darker turn when Julie discovers Sarah's latest manuscript and Sarah soon finds herself in a real life thriller.

More subtle than the film's publicity materials imply (tagline: "Dive into this summer's sexiest mystery!") or even the above synopsis, François Ozon's most accessible and certainly most mainstream film with its higher budget and greater production value is a pleasant thriller but feels somewhat less substantial than the lower budgeted, more personal and compelling masterpiece
UNDER THE SAND which also starred Rampling who has made a career comeback in French film. The 7 minute promo reel plays effectively as a condensed version of the film is an indication of the surface depth of the story and characters. The storyline of a mystery or horror writer finding his characters and situations coming to life is over familiar and the theme of writer-as-psychological-vampire (Bergman's THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY) is downplayed seemingly in order to make the film more of a pleasant diversion. That said, Rampling and Sagnier are excellent and play off each other well.

Eric Cotenas


Theatrical Release: 21 May 2003

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DVD Review: Pathe (Edition Collector 2 DVD) - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Region 2 - PAL

Universal has an R-Rated releases available in Region 1 :


and Unrated:

Runtime 1:38:09

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.30 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.


Audio French Dolby Digital 5.1; French DTS; English Dolby Digital 5.1; English DTS
Subtitles French, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Pathe

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Teaser
• French Trailer
• English Trailer with French subtitles
• Promotional Reel (7:42)
• Cannes 2003 Footage
• Interview with Charlotte Rampling (English with French subtitles)
• Interview with Ludivine Sagnier (French)
• Deleted Scenes with or wthout Director Commentary (French)

DVD Release Date: January 21st, 2004
Digipack with Sleeve

Chapters 16



Despite this being a dual-layer disc, the 98 minute film occupies only 3.50 GB of the total 5.25 GB size of the main title-set due the presence of 2 448 kbits/s 5.1 tracks and 2 full bit-rate DTS tracks (almost 1 GB each). That said, the image doesn't seem to suffer. The 5.1 and DTS tracks are nothing special, meaning they are professional and nicely enveloping but seem rather extravagant for the film (see review comments) although the credits do sport Dolby Digital and DTS logos so they are valid.

The original audio for the film is English with some exchanges in French (the French track is a full dub with Charles Dance being dubbed by French actor Andre Dussolier). French subtitles are only supplied for the English dialogue on the English track. The film plays well for English viewers even without translation of the French exchanges though more English-friendly releases of the film do include subtitles for the French dialogue.

Most of the extras are standard press-kit stuff and not very substantial. There is a Cannes 2003 Film Festival montage and panel. An interview with Charlotte Rampling (in English) and one with Ludivine Sagnier in French. Deleted Scenes are in the original English/French with optional French commentary by director Ozon. Most interesting is the well-edited 7 minute condensation of the film in English.

Fans of the film would be better served by the unrated American disc (it was released in the states in R and unrated versions available HERE) which presents the English track in DTS and 5.1 and the French track in 5.1 with English subtitles both for the French track and for the French dialogue in the English track as well as the deleted scenes (without Ozon commentary, however) and, perhaps, a larger file size.

 - Eric Cotenas


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:




Region 2 - PAL

Universal has an R-Rated releases available in Region 1 :


and Unrated:


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