S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
Black Moon [Blu-ray]
(Louis Malle, 1975)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Nouvelles Éditions de Films (NEF)
Video: Criterion Collection - Spine #571
Region: 'A'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 34,414,685,040 bytes
Feature Size: 29,644,732,416 bytes
Video Bitrate: 34.98 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: June 28th, 2011
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
English (SDH), English, none
• Archival video interview with director Louis Malle (12:04
Description: Louis Malle (The Lovers, Au revoir les enfants) meets Lewis Carroll in this bizarre and bewitching trip down the rabbit hole. After skirting the horrors of an unidentified war being waged in an anonymous countryside, a beautiful young woman (Cathryn Harrison) takes refuge in a remote farmhouse, where she becomes embroiled in the surreal domestic odyssey of a mysterious family. Evocatively shot by cinematographer Sven Nykvist (Cries and Whispers, Fanny and Alexander), Black Moon is a Freudian tale of adolescent sexuality set in a postapocalyptic world of shifting identities and talking animals. It is one of Malle’s most experimental films and a cinematic daydream like no other.
Malle's weird surrealist fantasy updates Alice in Wonderland into a future society where men and women are engaged in deadly combat, seemingly coexistent with an alternative comradeship of talking rats and enchanted unicorns. Malle offers no explanation for his heroine's visionary odyssey through a world in which all history runs parallel with all realities. Yet a logic is there, even if its reference point is jabberwocky. A black moon, in astrological terms, refers to the time of chaos that preludes some cataclysmic change. And like Malle's other films around this time, Black Moon hopefully posits a social revolution in which such outmoded concepts as innocence and sin will appear in new guises..
Louis Malle has never been the sort of filmmaker critics could easily
pigeonhole in terms of his style and interests. He's worked in
practically every film genre (thriller, social satire, melodrama,
documentary, etc.) and his restless curiosity has led him to explore a
vast array of subjects from underwater life (The Silent World, 1956) to
sexual liberation (The Lovers, 1958) to life under the Nazi occupation
les enfants, 1987). Yet, for even an iconoclast like Malle,
his 1975 film Black Moon is unlike anything he's ever done before or
since. "Opaque, sometimes clumsy, it is the most intimate of my films,"
he once said. "I see it as a strange voyage to the limits of the medium,
or maybe my own limits."
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The image quality on Criterion's dual-layered Blu-ray is striking. Visually it looks quite perfect - marginally thin, even + consistent grain, solid detail and contrast plus some depth. Even the very dark scenes in the beginning seem flawless without undue noise or compression. There may have been a shade of boosting (slight frailty to the image) but it is relatively imperceptible. Director of photography Sven Nykvist adds to the quirky atmosphere with interesting, probingly long, shots. The overall image in-motion is impressive - especially the many outdoor animal scenes.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Audio comes in the form of a linear PCM mono track at 1152 kbps that sounds very clean and clear. Post-synchronization was not a distraction - actually dialogue is quite sparse. There is also a French DUB in standard compressed Dolby. There are sound design effects - notable via the dream sequence. It comes across as authentically flat yet crisp.There are both English (SDH) and an English subtitle translation of the French DUB as an option and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
Supplements includea 12-minute archival video (1080i) excerpt of an interview with director Louis Malle from the French television program Pour le cinema. He offers some insight into Black Moon's characters, its setting in the French Countryside, and its unique look and sound. There is a Gallery of over 30 behind-the-scenes photos, the original theatrical trailer (in 1080P) and a liner notes booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Ginette Vincendeau.
June 6th, 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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