(aka 'Time of the Return' or 'Muriel ou Le temps d'un retour')
Mon Amour” (1959), “Last
Year at Marienbad”
(1961) and “Muriel”
(1963). These are the first
three feature films directed by
Alain Resnais, and I cannot
think of another director whose
first three features rival them
in quality. Granted, Resnais had
already put in more than a
decade as a short film maker
(mostly documentaries) so he was
hardly a novice when “Hiroshima,
Mon Amour” took the film world
by storm, but his accomplishment
is still stunning.
If cinema has its equivalents to
the master modernists of music, painting, or literature, then one of the
tradition’s foremost practitioners is undoubtedly Alain Resnais — and Muriel, ou
le Temps d’un retour (Muriel, or: The Time of a Return) represents one of his
earliest, and greatest, triumphs. In Resnais’ two preceding features (the
legendary Hiroshima mon amour and Last Year in Marienbad), the master filmmaker
pioneered new ways of representing inner reality and emotion; but with Muriel,
he merged the vicissitudes of his characters’ personal pasts, and married them
to the traumas of the political present — namely, the French war in Algeria.
DVD Review: Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 1 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
CLICK to order from:
|Distribution||Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - PAL|
|Runtime||1:51:20 (4% PAL speedup)|
Average Bitrate: 6.75 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 2.0)|
• The original French theatrical trailer for the film, newly subtitled.
Muriel came out on DVD by Koch Lorber for region 1 in 2007 - reviewed by Christopher Long for DVDBeaver HERE, but I was never able to conclude that the screen captures he obtained were not somehow compromised resulting in their obvious ratio distortion. I don't own the disc myself to confirm or deny this vital detail.
NOTE: Confirmed externally - both Koch (US) and Arte (France) have the 'squished' ratio distortion issue. The MoC edition is the only edition of the film available which corrects this squishing problem. (thanks Tim - in email)
It appears that the theatrical aspect ratio of the film was 1.66:1 but this new Masters of Cinema telecine of Muriel was reported to be directly supervised by director Alain Resnais. We may conclude from this that the presentation of the film is not altered beyond the scope of his approval from 1.66 to 1.78. Aspect ratio aside it appears similar in appearance to the NTSC counterpart - looking thick and occasionally soft - which we can probably surmise is a result of the original 'look' or available, existing source material. This PAL image seems to be somewhat more detailed and not as flat as the NTSC counterpart. It is dual-layered, anamorphic and progressive... and probably looks as good as it can on SD.
Audio is 2.0 channel - unremarkable but reasonably clean and consistent. The MoC offers optional English subtitles.
The only digital extra is a trailer - running almost 4 minutes but included is one of their wonderful liner notes booklets. It is 44-pages and has photos as well as a new essay by writer B. Kite; another new essay about the film by writer Anna Thorngate; a short piece on the film by Henri Langlois; and a critical “scrapbook” on the film containing excerpts by François Truffaut, Jacques Rivette and others.