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H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

Home [Blu-ray]

 

(Ursula Meier, 2008)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Canal+

Video: Kino Video

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:37:42.898

Disc Size: 38,298,866,628 bytes

Feature Size: 23,956,985,856 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.22 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard box

Release date: July 27th, 2010

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

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)

 

Subtitles:

English, none

 

Extras:

• “Sleepless” -- A short film by Ursula Meier (33:39 in HD!)
• Interview with Ursula Meier and Cinematographer Agnes Godard (32:35 in HD!)
• Theatrical Trailer for Home (1:43) and Ajami
(1:43)
• Stills Gallery (19)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

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 Teacher).

Huppert plays Marthe, a happy-go-lucky mother whose family enjoys an idyllic existence in their isolated, ramshackle home, which edges onto an abandoned highway. Almost entirely cut off from society at large, they forge their own utopia. Everything changes when city trucks roll in to complete the road's construction, allowing rush hour traffic to start rumbling by.

Refusing to give up their solitude, Marthe, her husband Michael (Olivier Gourmet), and their three children resort to increasingly desperate measures to insulate themselves from the pollution creeping inside their windows.

With her debut feature, director Ursula Meier has created "a bewitching dream of a film" (London Telegraph), a funny, moving, and thought-provoking drama that tackles issues of environmental anxiety, familial strife, and the essential pleasure of a quiet night inside. With "terrific performances and superb cinematography" (Time Out NY) by Agnes Godard (Beau Travail), HOME exhibits a unique force and beauty that is an announcement of a major filmmaking talent.

 

 

The Film:

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.

Excerpt from Slant Magazine located HERE

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.

Excerpt from Eye For Film located HERE

 


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

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.

 

 

Extras :

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.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
This is a good story and in director Meier's hands it elevates to a worthwhile human portrait of family life with sporadic humor, drama and intriguing circumstance. Huppert is always great to see - stoic and icy with her face hinting snippets of subtle emotion and I am a big fan of Olivier Gourmet - see Dardenne brother's La promesse (1996), Rosetta (1999) and The Son (2002). Home has the expected French film charm - being all at once diverging from mainstream and punching a range of the human condition in its, less specific, themes. The Blu-ray may not be reference but I do think it gives an authentic look of the theatrical and it, no doubt, gives the best presentation of the film for your home theater. 

Gary Tooze

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 HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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