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(aka 'The Thorn in the Heart')

Directed by Michel Gondry
France 200
9

 

Synopsis
THE THORN IN THE HEART (L'Epine dans le Coeur) is a personal look at the life of Gondry family matriarch, Michel's aunt Suzette Gondry, and her relationship with her son, Jean-Yves.

Michel examines Suzette's years as a school teacher and her life in rural France. During the course of filming the documentary, Michel unearths new family stories and uses his camera to explore them in a subtle and sensitive way.

THE THORN IN THE HEART had its world premiere screening in the official selection at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.

Director Michel Gondry
Michel Gondry began his filmmaking career directing music videos for such artists as The White Stripes, The Rolling Stones, Beck, and Daft Punk, among others. In 2001, Gondry made his feature-film directorial debut Human Nature from a screenplay from Charlie Kaufman. After working with Kaufman again on the Academy Award-winning Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Gondry went on to write and direct the films The Science of Sleep and Be Kind Rewind, and direct the documentary concert film Dave Chappelle's Block Party. DVD collections of Gondry's exemplary music videos and commercials were released in 2003 and 2009. He has recently authored a guide for DIY filmmaking entitled You’ll Like This Film Because You’re In It: The Be Kind Rewind Protocol and a comic book "We Lost the War but Not the Battle," both published by Picturebox. He is currently in pre-production on The Green Hornet, a feature film about the iconic superhero that will star Seth Rogen, to be released in the summer of 2010 by Columbia Pictures.

Excerpt from Oscilloscope website located HERE

Poster

Theatrical Release: May 15th, 2009 - Cannes

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DVD Review: Oscilloscope - Region 0 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

   

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Distribution Oscilloscope - Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:26:09 
Video 1.66:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate:7.47 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio French (Dolby Digital 2.0), French (Dolby Digital 5.1) 
Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Oscilloscope

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1

Edition Details:

• A Brief History of the Harkis (14:59)
• Techno Suzette (5;57)
• Calendars Doodled - one year of drawings by youngsters (1:27)
• Stop motion animation by Gondry collaborator Valerie Pirson (1:51)
• Charlotte Gainsbourg’s "Little Monsters" (2:03)
• Post-screening Q&A with Gondry at SXSW premiere (11:40)
• In Conversation - A special event with Michel Gondry at SXSW Film Festival (23:50)

DVD Release Date:
August 10th, 2010
Custom cardboard fold-out digipak Case
Chapters: 16

 

Comments:

Oscilloscope continue their trend of releasing interesting films on DVD - see past editions; Kent MacKenzie' The Exiles (with Milestone), Sebastián Silva's intimate The Maid, the Danish mystery/thriller Terribly Happy and the 1977 documentary Word is Out. Gondry's The Thorn in the Heart is less a family portrait but instead focuses most of its attention on his aunt, retired school teacher Suzette Gondry, and the conflicting relationship with her less formal, bandana wearing, son Jean-Yves. The generational disparity - even in later life - is certainly not unique but the way Gondry captures the past through vintage family films and old photos blending in the quiet, impressive, countryside adds just the right touch of humility and realism to the proceedings. There is a lot of beauty here tucked into unused corners.

 

The transfer is excellent - spotlessly clean, progressive, dual-layered and anamorphic with altering aspect ratios dependant on the use of the older material. Much of the French country cinematography borders on breathtaking - at least in the context in which it is utilized. Audio offers 2 options - a 2.0 channel stereo or superfluous 5.1. There are optional English subtitles for both the feature and supplements that require it. The package is another handsome eco-friendly cardboard multi-fold-out case.

Extras are strong and center around a post-screening Q&A with Michel Gondry at SXSW premiere for about a dozen minutes and an "In Conversation" piece - a special event with Gondry at SXSW Film Festival for shy of 25-minutes. There are other tidbits - a Brief History of the Harkis, some doodled calendars by youngsters (recall Suzette was a teacher), 2-minutes of stop motion animation by Gondry collaborator Valerie Pirson and a Charlotte Gainsbourg 2-minute short; "Little Monsters".

I found the film engaging as it, thankfully, didn't melt into the overused gentility of the family bonds - it is more matter-of-fact and less romantic. Perhaps the whole project would be considered an indulgence of the director. The honesty is rare and, perhaps, makes its impact at a much more subtle level. This is good filmmaking - no doubt - and it reveals much more than one might anticipate. I expect many will find some value here although the current price seems at the high end.   

Gary W. Tooze

 



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DVD Box Cover

   

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Distribution Oscilloscope - Region 0 - NTSC



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