S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
(Ursula Meier, 2008)
Review by Gary Tooze
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 38,298,866,628 bytes
Feature Size: 23,956,985,856 bytes
Video Bitrate: 27.22 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard box
Release date: July 27th, 2010
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio French 3782 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3782 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
• “Sleepless” -- A short film by Ursula Meier (33:39 in HD!)
Description: Switzerland's official entry for Best Foreign
Language Film at the 82nd Academy Awards, HOME is a
mesmerizing fable of modern family life starring
internationally renowned actress Isabelle Huppert (The Piano
Described by director Ursula Meier as "a road movie in reverse," Home is an assured and unsettling comedy. Marthe (Isabelle Huppert) and Michel (Olivier Gourmet) lead a happily isolated life with their kids on the edge of an abandoned highway. Relishing their distance from the rest of society, the clan stage makeshift hockey matches, sunbathe in deckchairs near the road, and hold au fresco picnics in their extended backyard. With two veterans from Michael Haneke's squirm-o-ramas playing the parents, however, it's only a matter of time for the secluded idyll to be disrupted, contaminated, and dismantled. When the highway is reopened, the onslaught of cars zipping noisily by their house suggests a swarm of giant insects invading a garden. The family fabric crumbles: Marthe can't fall asleep anymore, teenage daughter Marion (Madeleine Budd) becomes obsessed with the toxins released by the machines, and young Julien (Kacey Mottet Klein) goes from seeing adventure in the changes to succumbing to apathy.
Ursula Meier is the latest in a lengthening list of debut directors to be graced by patronage of the estimable Isabelle Huppert. Huppert’s presence once again adds weight and portent, this time to a darkly comic fable, while she avoids dominating the ensemble with another brilliantly modulated performance.
Huppert plays a liberal middle-aged woman enjoying living and larking about with her husband (Olivier Gourmet) and their three children in the remote French countryside. Their eldest daughter is a sulky, sultry teenager, the middle daughter is more bookishly reserved and their youngest son is an energetic scamp, but there is genuine familial affection between them all. Meier begins by delighting in this warm, loving unit and their quirky antics.
Forming a large part of their eccentricity is the unused multi-lane motorway right on their doorstep. Unfinished for over a decade, the linear feature has blended into both the landscape of fields around them and their daily living, becoming a huge backyard and playground.
Home looks solid, if not dazzling, on Blu-ray from Kino. The disc is dual-layered and while competent it never really achieves anything remarkable - visually speaking - however, there are some impressive shots of the fields and long empty stretches of highway. Close-ups produce adequate detail and colors (skin tones) are true and contrast modest. Grain is not overly prevalent but exists. This Blu-ray looks far better than SD-DVD could relate but, while not used for demo purposes, supports the film with a above-grade presentation. I would suspect that Home looked very similar theatrically.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The lossless DTS-HD Master 5.1 audio at 3782 kbps is stronger than the film requires. Aside from the highway traffic noises there isn't much need for the available bass response. This is more a visual film than an aural one and even dialogue isn't abundant. There is some quirky modern music that wasn't particularly memorable and there are optional English subtitles.My Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
A cool addition in the extras is the 1/2 hour film “Sleepless” (Des heures sans sommeil) by Ursula Meier. It's in HD and the double-nominated short has some beauty and is certainly worth the spin. Also included are a 30-minute interview with Ursula Meier and Cinematographer Agnes Godard. It is in French with English subtitles and the interviewer does some gentle probing with questions on the film's evolution. There are theatrical trailer for Home (1:43) and Ajami (1:44) and a superfluous stills gallery. Judging from the interview - a director's commentary would have helped appreciation of Home.
July 23rd, 2010
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be
it, but film will always be my first love and I list my
favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze