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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Cœur fidèle aka Faithful Heart aka True Heart [Blu-ray]

 

(Jean Epstein, 1923)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Pathé Consortium Cinéma

Video: Masters of Cinema Spine #19

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:24:13.916

Disc Size: 23,792,405,602 bytes

Feature Size: 23,670,749,184 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 27th, 2011

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.37:1 matted to 1.78

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio French 699 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 699 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 512 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English, none

 

Extras:

• Gallery of rare photography from Cinémathèque Française

44-page booklet containing rare production photography, and writing about the film by Jean Epstein, Henri Langlois, René Clair, etc.

Dual Format with DVD of feature included!

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Jean Epstein's Coeur fidèle [True Heart] established the great French filmmaker as one of the most inventive directors of the (then still silent) art form. A pared-down tale of a barmaid oppressed by an exploitative foster family who attempt to push her into the arms of an unscrupulous regular-about-town, Marie's heart (exuberantly vivified by Gina Marès) belongs, as far as she's concerned, to the tenderly blank Jean (Léon Mathot)... Coeur fidèle drives its simple story (which, with its infamous and exhilarating 'carousel sequence', helped pave the way for the narrative tradition of such Murnau masterworks as Sunrise and City Girl) on into the realm of what might be considered an early incarnation of French poetic realism all while still anticipating Epstein's magical, post-surrealist, later works.

 

 

The Film:

Jean Epstein had already established himself as a film theorist with the publication of several books, and he had begun to explore his ideas in practice with his first two films, Pasteur (1922) and L'Auberge rouge (1923). Epstein now chose to film a simple story of love and violence "to win the confidence of those, still so numerous, who believe that only the lowest melodrama can interest the public", and also in the hope of creating "a melodrama so stripped of all the conventions ordinarily attached to the genre, so sober, so simple, that it might approach the nobility and excellence of tragedy". He wrote the scenario in a single night.

Epstein had been much impressed by Abel Gance's recently completed La Roue, and in Cœur fidèle he sought to apply its techniques of rapid and rhythmic editing as well as the innovative use of close-ups and superimpositions of images. These techniques are most apparent during the first half of the film: the opening sequence establishing Marie's situation in the harbour bar through a series of close-ups of her face, her hands, the table and glasses that she is cleaning; the use of images of the sea and the port, either intercut or superimposed, to convey the yearnings of Jean and Marie; and the film's most celebrated sequence at the fairground in which a highly complex series of rhythmically assembled images charts the tension of the relationship between Marie and Petit Paul. The later scenes of the film are relatively conventional in the techniques employed and depend more upon situation and action than upon photography and processing of the images.

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE

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

Advertised as 'officially licensed from Pathé and now running at its true speed and length'. The image is very impressive - Wow! I was reminded of Masters of Cinema's brilliant City Girl transfer although this has some light surface scratches (some running full vertical length). It is single-layered with a high bitrate and, as evidenced by the below screen captures, it looks just awesome with sublime contrast! Detail is highly remarkable with skin pores and make-up easily visible. There is even some depth! Almost impossible to believe this film is approaching its 90th birthday! Unreal. There's a beautifully even grain texture here that is extremely pleasing. I swoon! 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The DTS-HD Master 2.0m channel audio at 699 kbps may appear technically wimpy but does a grand job with the new score composed and performed by Maxence Cyrin. It aptly matches the gorgeous image. It has a wonderfully crisp feel and there are original French intertitles, with newly translated optional English subtitles (see sample above.) My Momitsu has identified it as being a region B-locked.

 

Extras :

Extras consist of a gallery of rare photography from Cinémathèque Française and a 44-page booklet in the package containing rare production photography, and writing about the film by Jean Epstein, Henri Langlois, René Clair and others. This is a 'Dual-Format' package with a DVD of the feature included.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Coeur Fidele certainly gives reflections of Murnau but more heavily, for me - Borzage (7th Heaven, Lucky Star, Street Angel). It makes me want to watch more of these brilliant silent films on Blu-ray. Thank goodness for Masters of Cinema producing this digital gem. I watched much of Coeur Fidele with my mouth agape as if hypnotized by the presentation. Bravo indeed! This Blu-ray has our highest recommendation! 

Gary Tooze

June 29th, 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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