directed by Doug Headline
France 2002

 

Chloe (Elsa Kikoïne, daughter of erotic filmmaker/editor Gerard Kikoïne) is a university student working on the archaeological excavation of the recently uncovered Broceliande necropolis site which is said to be the burial place of Merlin and a site of druid worship. On her first night on campus, she sees an old man holding a bizarre stone murdered by a man-sized creature with a bird's head and claws. No one believes her but Chloe then learns that the stone is an artifact used in conjunction with grisly sacrifices to summon demons. The next day on site, she and love interest history student Erwann (Mathieu Simonet, MERCI POUR LE CHOCOLAT) discover a crevice and a set of ceremonial billhooks which are subsequently stolen from the site. Chloe first suspects Gilles (Céderic Chevalme) who studied in Ireland and has been skulking around the periphery. When she discovers that the murdered man was a famous Irish archaeologist who discovered the stone, she then suspects history professor Brennos (Vernon Dobtcheff) who denies knowing the dead man (although Erwann has confirmed that Brennos was part of the expedition when the stone was discovered) until he is murdered in front of her eyes by the bird-man. Gilles confronts Chloe and tells her she worked with the dead man and knew that he had come to France and brought the stone with him because he suspected something terrible was going to happen. The two determine that someone wants to recreate an ancient Druidic feast to summon an ancient demon. Meanwhile, Brennos daughter Iris (Cylia Malki) and archaeology professor Vernet (André Wilms) discover a hidden map to the necropolis in Brennos' journal. When archaeology student Thomas (Alexis Loret) tells them that girlfriend Lea (Alice Taglioni) has disappeared, the whole group converge upon the necropolis site only to find the feast already underway with Chloe the planned final sacrifice.

In one of the behind the scenes documentaries, there is a very telling comment about the intentions of this project when actor Simonet says that what he liked about the film was that "it was filled with elements usually found in American genre movies -- fight scenes, visual effects, but without prejudice to the plot" (well, at least the first half of the comment is telling). Co-scripted by France’s late premiere make-up effects artist Benoît Lestang and directed by documentary filmmaker Doug Headline, BROCELIANDE is awkwardly structured with the first half unfolding as a stylish somewhat complex thriller in the archways and halls of the university and burnished wood of university libraries and studies (with brief trips to the forest archaeological site) while the second half of the film is a horror movie consisting of stalk-and-chase sequences through the well-lit catacombs of the necropolis culminating in the slow-motion MATRIX/TOMB RAIDER fight scene between girls in torn clothing and a part animatronic/part CGI monster with ALIEN mouth and PREDATOR body. The injection of humor into the second half also falls flat (when Vernet asks how Iris and Chloe can possibly believe “this monster bullshit” he is met with sheepish “might as well” glances from the two) as do the cliché one-liners (“Hey, dirty bastard,” Chloe calls out to the monster). Despite Lestang’s presence behind the camera (as effects artist, co-writer, and second unit director) there is little onscreen gore (the offscreen murders are accompanied by cliché metallic “swooshing” sounds) and what there is of it is either ruinously CGI-enhanced or obscured – like a severed head held in the background out of focus as the camera focuses instead on the creature’s foreground animatronic mouth). As such, BROCELIANDE has an interesting yet derivative premise, an attractive, game cast, and top-tier technical attributes but both script and tone are wildly uneven.

Eric Cotenas

Poster

Theatrical Release: 8 January 2003

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Pathé - Region 2 - PAL vs. BCI/Navarre - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the Screen Caps!

(Pathé - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. BCI/Navarre - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Pathé

Region 2 - PAL

BCI/Navarre
Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:30:15 (4% PAL speedup) 1:30:09 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.98 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.5 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:

 

Pathé

 

Bitrate:

 

BCI/Navarre

 

Audio French DTS; French Dolby Digital 5.1

French DTS; French Dolby Digital 5.1; English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo

Subtitles none English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Pathé

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Le sens du Sacrifice - Making of [Version Longue] (51:52)
• Au coeur de BROCELIANDE -Making of [Version Corte] (25:59)
• Deleted Scene (2:34; 2.35:1 [16:9]; French 2.0)
• Storyboards
• Teaser (0:35)
• Trailer (1:37)
• Filmographies

DVD Release Date: 1 July 2004
Amaray

Chapters 15

Release Information:
Studio: BCI/Navarre

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• The Meaning of Sacrifice - Making of [Long Version] (English subtitles; 54:16)
• The Making of BROCELIANDE - Making of [Short Version] (English subtitles; 26:01)
• Trailer (1:37 - with English subtitles)
• MALEFIQUE trailer (1:08 - no subtitles)

 

DVD Release Date: 26 February 2008
Amaray

Chapters 8

 

Comments

For the most part, this well-budgeted 2.35:1 anamorphic film looks as good as it was probably meant to although there is some banding (most noticeable in the wide crane shot that opens the film) which may be a compression artifact as the film itself would be single-layer sized minus the full-bitrate DTS track (to accommodate nearly an hour and a half of extras). Although the back cover lists the two making of featurettes under different titles, the extras menu itself refers to the 26 minute one as "Version " and the 52 minute one as "Version Longue". The deleted scene was wisely left out of the film as it consists of a medieval flashback that looks a bit cheesy compared to the rest of the film (well, the stylish first-half at least; it would probably fit more stylistically with the second half although there is no context for its placement there).

 


BCI's below-the-radar R1 release is of course a PAL-NTSC standards conversion (note the ghosting in caps 5 and 6) but it not only features an English stereo dub track but also English subtitles for the French DTS and Dolby 5.1 tracks. The file size of the feature (minus the English track) is larger than the file size on the French disc but it looks softer (probably owing to the conversion); contrast also seems to have been lightened. The "Meaning of Sacrifice" documentary runs longer than on the French disc because it tacks on the deleted scene to the beginning of it.

 - Eric Cotenas

 



DVD Menus
(
Pathé - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. BCI/Navarre - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)


 

 


 

Screen Captures

(Pathé - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. BCI/Navarre - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)
Subtitle Sample (no subtitles in R2)

 

 


(Pathé - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. BCI/Navarre - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Pathé - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. BCI/Navarre - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Pathé - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. BCI/Navarre - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Pathé - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. BCI/Navarre - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Pathé - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. BCI/Navarre - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Pathé - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. BCI/Navarre - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)
Deleted Scene

 

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

R2

Sound:

R1 (retains DTS and adds English dub and subtitles)

Extras: R2
Menu: R2

 
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Pathé

Region 2 - PAL

BCI/Navarre
Region 1 - NTSC

 

 





 

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