(aka "Belphégor - Le fantôme du Louvre" )

 

directed by Jean-Paul Salomé
France 2001

 

A sarcophagus with its name and face scratched out is discovered in an old storeroom of the Louvre during remodeling. An attempt at X-raying the mummy inside unleashes a demonic force which infiltrates the building's electronic systems. Shopkeeper Lisa (Sophie Marceau) discovers a hole in the basement of her apartment building made by the Louvre workmen that leads her and electrician boyfriend Martin (Frederic Diefenthal) into the museum after hours where she is possessed by the demon. As British archaeologist Glenda Spencer (Julie Christie) tries to discover the name of the mummy, retired policeman Verlac (Michel Serrault) starts investigating the deadly sightings of a cloaked and masked figure that is stealing ceremonial items from the Egyptology wing and turning the guards fears against them (he investigated similar events 20 years before - allowing the filmmakers to use digitally augmented footage from the black and white miniseries; that film's star Juliette Greco also makes a cameo). Meanwhile, Martin is constantly bewildered by Lisa's bizarre behavior as she disappears each night the phantom strikes.

Jean-Paul Salomé remakes Claude Barma's 1965 miniseries (itself adapted from Arthur Bernède's pulp novel) with the aid of CGI and the marquee value of Sophie Marceau. The production looks marvelous with location work at the Louvre but the attempt to keep things light results in some unevenness (language, nudity and bloody deaths juxtaposed with the "cute" budding romance between Marceau and Diefenthal and the one between Serrault and Christie) and might have been more successful had it adopted a more consistently dark tone. The CGI effects are unimpressive with the mummy's skeletal spirit looking laughable while animated movements of the cloaked figure look cheap. On the other hand, Bruno Coulais' impressive layered electronic and ethnic score smooths over the uneven pacing and adds heavily to the ambiance of multiple scenes of Marceau supernaturally drawn to the museum. That said, it manages to be more interesting and entertaining than the American blockbusters producer Alain Sarde and director Jean-Paul Salome seem to be inspired by.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 4 April 2001

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Boomerang Pictures - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the Screen Caps!

(LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Boomerang Pictures - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

LionsGate

Region 1 - NTSC

Boomerang Pictures
Region 2 - PAL
Runtime 1:36:33 1:32:57 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.86 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.7 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:

 

Boomerang Pictures

 

Audio French (Dolby Digital 5.1); English (Dolby Digital 5.1)

French (Dolby Digital 5.1); English (Dolby Digital 5.1); English (Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo)

Subtitles English, Spanish, none Dutch, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: LionsGate

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• none

DVD Release Date: 5 August 2008
Amaray

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Boomerang Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Making of (26:00)
• Trailer (1:21; 4x3 letterbox)
• Mulholland Drive Trailer (1:24; 16x9)
• Apocalypse Now Redux (2:19; 16x9)
• Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra Trailer (0:39; 4x3 letterbox)
• Filmography

DVD Release Date:
Amaray

Chapters 16

 

Comments

LionsGate's bare-bones DVD is really late in bringing this film to the United States and is likely part of their deal with Studio Canal. Fortunately, this transfer runs at the correct NTSC film speed and is not a standards conversion. French and English 5.1 tracks are available with subtitles in English and Spanish (a nice touch is having the French track be the default audio with subs).

 

The image is slightly darker than the Dutch DVD and perhaps a bit softer since it is a single-layer encode but the addition of English subtitles make it a worthy purchase or rental since the film plays better in French. The Dutch DVD has supplements but they are not English-friendly. Neither disc has the DTS track found on the French releases.

 - Eric Cotenas

 



DVD Menus
(
LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Boomerang Pictures - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)


 

 
 

 

 


 

Screen Captures

(LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Boomerang Pictures - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)
Subtitle sample (on R1 DVD)

 

 


(LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Boomerang Pictures - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Boomerang Pictures - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Boomerang Pictures - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Boomerang Pictures - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Boomerang Pictures - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Boomerang Pictures - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Boomerang

Sound:

LionsGate (for correct speed and subtitles)

Extras: Boomerang
Menu: Boomerang

 
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

LionsGate

Region 1 - NTSC

Boomerang Pictures
Region 2 - PAL

 

 


 

 





 

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