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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Amer [Blu-ray]

 

(Hélène Cattet, Bruno Forzani, 2009)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Anonymes Films

Video: Olive Films

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:30:28.798

Disc Size: 20,784,813,299 bytes

Feature Size: 18,269,288,448 bytes

Video Bitrate: 21.70 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 4th, 2011

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio French 1987 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1987 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 1566 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1566 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (non-removable), none

 

Extras:

THE FIRST FIVE FILMS BY HELENE CATTET & BRUNO FORZANI (WITH INTRODUCTORY NOTES FROM THE FILMMAKERS)
• CATHARSIS (2001 - 3:02 in
480i)
• CHAMBRE JAUNE (2002 - 7:38 in
480i)
• LA FIN DE NOTRE AMOUR(2003 - 9:56 in
480i)
• L’ETRANGE PORTRAIT DE LE DAME EN JAUNE (2004 - 5:34 in
480i)
• SANTOS PALACE (2006 - 15:00 in
480i)
TWO THEATRICAL TRAILERS (1:03 in 1080P + :50 in 480i)
ONE THEATRICAL TEASER (:27 in 480i)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: An eroticized homage to 1970s Italian giallo horror films… Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani’s pastiche tour-de-force plays out a delirious, enigmatic, almost wordless death-dance of fear and desire. Its three movements, each in a different style, correspond to the childhood, adolescence, and adulthood of its female protagonist. Drawing its stylized, hyperbolic gestures from the playbooks of Bava, Leone, Argento and De Palma and taking them into a realm of near-abstraction. Amer has genre in the blood. Its bold widescreen composition, super-focused sound and emphatic music (lifted from original giallo soundtracks), and razor-sharp cuts make for an outrageous and intoxicating cinematic head-trip. Featuring music from composers Stelvio Cipriani, Bruno Nicolai and the legendary Ennio Morricone.

***

Three decisive episodes define Ana's life--all of them of a sensual nature. When she is a young girl, she has her first... confrontation with the world of adults. Ana brings her dead grandfather back to life and her parents make love. In puberty, she discovers the terrifying power of decay and sexuality. And in the final episode, she wrestles with loss, death and loneliness when she returns to her parents' home, now derelict.

 

 

The Film:

It’s been argued that this frightening and erotic piece of experimental montage from Belgian directors Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani is all form and no feeling. It’s easy to see why, since its most easy pleasures derive from a cool juxtaposition and stylisation of sound and imagery. But there’s more to it: the film also functions as a knowing, lightly feminist homage to Hitchcock and the chief exponents of the Giallo genre, Dario Argento and Mario Bava. As such, its ‘meanings’ may not be instantly traceable through a cosy linear storyline or densely wrought characterisations.

Excerpt from David Jenkins at TimeOut Film located HERE

And then the film completely changes tack, and for many viewers it will never recover. The second segment abandons the delirious baroque style of the first to resemble a sensual Sixties drama. For those who aren't prepared to accept the stylistic volte-face, this will feel like an overlong advert in the middle of a classic horror film. But if you're willing to be receptive, this sequence reveals much about Ana's character and the anxieties every teenage girl must face. It looks and sounds absolutely lush, forces you to take a step back from what has gone before and allows you to make mental links with what you have just seen to develop the central character for yourself.

It also leaves you totally unprepared for what lies ahead, the final piece bringing the preoccupations of the previous two together. Blazing heat and bright sunlight, evoked through sizzling leather seats and the gleaming metal body of a car, give way to terrifically tense twilight scenes, the brilliantly evoked dusk concealing figures that may or may not be figments of murderous fantasy. Throughout all this, the use of classic soundtrack pieces by the likes of Ennio Morricone amounts to more than Tarantino-esque know-it-all showboating - the music really fits with the film's shifting moods, swinging from menacing to sassy and back again effortlessly.

Excerpt from David Graham at Eye for Film located HERE

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

Amer has plenty of eye close-ups and unique visuals that are definitely benefited by the Blu-ray transfer from Olive films.  This is only single-layered but detail can have impressive moments in 1080P. There is good grain and a bit more noise than I would appreciate but overall the image is acceptable - buoyed by the cinematography and intriguing shots. This Blu-ray seems to be faithfully reporting the film's visual attributes without any digital manipulation that I can determine. There is some interesting tinting and colors are not unnaturally vibrant. This Blu-ray probably looks like the film Amer or as close as we are likely to find for our home theater. It is not crisp or pristine but supports the stylistic film's textures well enough to provide a better-than-average presentation.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

We get two tracks - both DTS-HD Master in original French - one 5.1 at1987 kbps and a, more staid, 2.0 channel at 1566 kbps. There area couple of surprising separations but the Ennio Morricone et all score was the most defining in establishing the film's Giallo moods. I'm no expert on the genre but I definitely had some Deja-vu by hearing the score. There is some depth and tightness in the higher end - but generally it sounds wonderful. There are non-removable English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

Olive film often produces bare-bones discs but this has an interesting group of supplements - the first five short films by the directorial pairing of Helene Cattet + Bruno Forzani. On screen before you press play is a pop-up window with a paragraph of introductory notes - there are about 40-minutes of shortish artsy films - all in 480i. I probably liked the last one - Santos Palace from 2006 - the best. This collection is a nice extra to add. There are also 2 very short trailers for the feature (one in HD) and a teaser plus a post-card sized poster in the Blu-ray case.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
This is kinda cool - it began to irritate me after a fashion - and then I wanted it to continue endlessly. Amer is definitely an acquired taste that those with Giallo leanings will probably appreciate much more. The eroticism sneaks up on you and the, very visual, film speaks volumes at its genre-homage core. It is certainly unique and for that I give it credit. Those with more mainstream tastes should probably steer clear. Others may wish to give this Blu-ray an enthusiastic spin one late night! 

Gary Tooze

September 22nd, 2011

 


 

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.

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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