Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r


(aka 'The Devil Probably')

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/bresson.htm
France 1977

 

Like many of the late films of Robert Bresson, The Devil, Probably is, as the title suggests, a dark story of disaffected French youth in modern Paris: four disillusioned young adults who wander city streets and hole up in tiny apartments while serving witness to society's destruction of the planet. Bresson described the work as "a film about the evils of money, a source of great evil in the world whether for unnecessary armaments or the senseless pollution of the environment." It may not be the bleakest film in his canon--the honors surely belong to his final work L'Argent--but it is certainly one of his most depressing. Charles, the womanizing ringleader of the group, is haunted by an overwhelming sense of nihilism that finally envelops him. Newsreel clips of ecological disasters and atomic destruction punctuate the film and the backdrop of a busy but cold, impersonal, mercenary Paris is Bresson's least flattering portrait of the city. But it is a beautiful film, and it's clear that Bresson has invested himself in its sad desperation. Nominated for the Golden Berlin Bear and winner of Silver Berlin Bear (Special Jury Prize) at the 1977 Berlin International Film Festival.

***

Regarded by many as a masterpiece, Bresson is film tells the story of a young man living in Paris who desires more from life than the glib, superficial truths and material things that are on offer to him. He reaches out to his friends and psychiatrist to provide him with the great answers in life. But his spiritual deliverance remains beyond his grasp until he reaches a bizarre arrangement with a fellow drifter.

***

Bresson observes his Parisian student protagonist in numb recoil from a culture, almost a species, compromised beyond recall. As so often in Bresson, the process of detachment ends in deliberately sought death. Here Charles' proxy suicide stands, as Jan Dawson has perceptively noted, both as an affirmation of a purity no longer possible within society, and 'as a portent of the millions of deaths, not self-willed, which must inevitably follow', given the ruthless course of society's crimes. Charles and the two women in his life are offered less as convincing portrayals of life on the student fringe than as indices of a particular state of consciousness. Beside the toughness of Pickpocket, the depth of feeling of Une Femme Douce, the rigour of Lancelot du Lac, The Devil, Probably has a certain opaque quality. Its case is presented rather than argued: one buys its cosmic bleakness or one doesn't, but there is no doubt about the conviction with which it is put.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: June 1977 - Berlin International Film Festival

Reviews           More Reviews              DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL vs. Olive - Region 1 - NTSC

Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL LEFT vs. Olive - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT

DVD Box Cover

Distribution Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL Olive Films - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:32:36 (4% PAL Speedup)  1:32:57
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.42 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.2 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: AE

Bitrate: Olive

Audio French (Dolby Digital 2.0)  French (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, None English (burned-in)
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Bresson Filmography (text)

DVD Release Date: April 28th, 200
8
Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 10

Release Information:
Studio: Olive Films

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• None

DVD Release Date: September 18th, 2012

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 8

 

Comments:

ADDITION: Olive Films August 2012: Olive comes out with another bare-bones package. Being Bresson it is embodies importance but, unfortunately, the dual-layered transfer is interlaced - which may actually be ghosting for using the unconverted PAL source as the running time is the same as the UK disc. I suspect this was how they received the D1 from Studio Canal. Here is a film that cries out for a commentary or scholarly discussion but neither disc has any notable extras. The images complement each other in color scheme and information in the frame - so certainly it is no upgrade. The subtitles are burned-in. Those who own the AE can confidently pass.

***

ON THE AE DVD: I have a 'checkdisc' in my possession and can't vouch for it being the same as the final product, but I strongly suspect it will be. Artificial Eye's single-layered DVD of Robert Bresson's, English-language DVD debut of, The Devil, Probably looks quite excellent.  The transfer is progressive and in the original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 - colors are muted but consistent, detail and contrast and quite strong. A shade of information seems lost in the darkness artifacts but it is very minor. The image is extremely clean without speckles or scratches. Subtitles seem well translated and the dialogue is clear and audible.

Unfortunately, aside from  text screen of Bresson's filmography, we have no digital supplements but regardless this is an important release, effectively adding another 'notch' for nearing completion of another master's oeuvre onto acceptable standard-definition DVD. We are still missing a couple more (namely - Quatre nuits d'un rÍveur - 1971 and Une femme douce - 1969) but this, Bresson's second last film, is an essential purchase in my opinion. Artificial Eye consistently display competence and discerning taste in what they release in their catalogue.

NOTE: Also coming this same day from AE in the UK are A Man Escaped (Robert Bresson, 1956) and Lancelot du Lac (Robert Bresson, 1974) - our reviews and/or comparisons will soon follow.  

Gary W. Tooze

 


DVD Menus

 

Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL LEFT vs. Olive - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT


 

 


Subtitle Sample

 

Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Olive - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 


 

Screen Captures

 

Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Olive - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 


Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Olive - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 


Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Olive - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 

NOTE Combing on upper right of Olive film capture!

 


Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Olive - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 


Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Olive - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM
 

 


Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Olive - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM
 

Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Olive - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM
 


DVD Box Cover

Distribution Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL Olive Films - Region 1 - NTSC




 

Hit Counter

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!