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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Elles [Blu-ray]

 

(Malgorzata Szumowska, 2011)

 

 

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Slot Machine

Video: Artificial Eye / Kino Lorber

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:39:13.291 / 1:39:32.800

Disc Size: 21,079,096,428 bytes / 23,802,726,019 bytes

Feature Size: 18,705,334,272 bytes / 22,285,768,704 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps / 24.11 Mbps

Chapters: 12 / 10

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 20th, 2012 / September 11th, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio French 2009 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2009 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
LPCM Audio French 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

DTS-HD Master Audio French 2277 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2277 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 1771 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1771 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

English. none

 

Extras:

Director Interview (10:34)

Theatrical trailer (1:52)

Uncensored Theatrical Trailer (1:55)

Still Gallery

 

Bitrate:

(Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Kino Lorber - Region 'A'- Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 

Description: Anne (Juliette Binoche) is a journalist who, during her investigation into prostitution, encounters two young girls who use their bodies as a way to make easy money. Fascinated by them, she is drawn into their world, which stands in marked contrast to her own bourgeois life. Juliette Binoche gives a characteristically committed performance in Malgorzata Szunowska's frank drama, whose camera never shies away from the details of the girl s work, always capturing Anne's response to it.

 

 

The Film:

A writer is given a new perspective on her life by two women she initially imagines could not be more different than her in this drama from filmmaker Malgoska Szumowska. Anne (Juliette Binoche) is a wife and mother who maintains a busy schedule looking after her young son (Pablo Beugnet) who is obsessed with video games, her teenage son (Francois Civil) who spends much of his time stoned on marijuana, and her aging father (Jean-Marie Binoche) whose health is failing. Anne's husband (Louis-Do de Lencquesaing) is too preoccupied with his own career to worry about the household chores, and she has to juggle it all while keeping up with her work as a journalist. Anne is researching a magazine piece about prostitutes, and she's been conducting extensive interviews with Alicja (Joanna Kulig) and Charlotte (Anais Demoustier), both of whom are attractive, well-adjusted women in their early twenties who have turned to sex work to support themselves. As Anne develops a greater understanding of Alicja and Charlotte's lives and work, she sees a contrast in the way the younger women have chosen a trade that, despite its reputation, affords them freedom while Anne's personal and professional life have become something of a trap. Elles was an official selection at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

In case you have forgotten, all women are prostitutes, and all men are johns. Strip away the trappings of upscale bourgeois life, and a wife — even an upscale professional wife — is a household slave, expected to cook, clean and take care of the children. Her husband might deign to make love to her after she cooks a fancy dinner for his boss. All it takes for her to keep the peace is some well-timed flirtatious role-playing. But he has to initiate the amorous reward. Sounds very 1970s, doesn’t it?

But in the Polish feminist director Malgoska Szumowska’s film “Elles,” that supposedly glaring truth becomes clear to Anne (Juliette Binoche), a freelance journalist, while she is researching a magazine article about student prostitution. To her shock she discovers that the negative clichés about the world’s oldest profession may have been wildly exaggerated. Inconveniently, the stories the young women tell of their adventures turn her on.

Excerpt from Stephen Holden at the NY Times located HERE

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

Elles gets a solid transfer to Blu-ray from Artificial Eye.  The hour-40-minute feature is on a single-layered disc with a supportive bitrate. Everything from colors to contrast looks adeptly rendered. The 1080P supports solid visuals exhibiting healthy, rich black levels and some minor depth in the 1.85:1 frame.  It's pristinely clean showcasing some hi-def detail and there are really no flaws to complain about. This Blu-ray probably looks like exactly the theatrical version of the film which is all we can ask from the format.

 

Not significant differences between the UK and US image transfers. The US is slightly more robust but few, if any, would be discerning enough to make issue. 

 

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

 

(Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Kino Lorber - Region 'A'- Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 

(Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Kino Lorber - Region 'A'- Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 

(Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Kino Lorber - Region 'A'- Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 

(Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Kino Lorber - Region 'A'- Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 

(Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Kino Lorber - Region 'A'- Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 

(Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Kino Lorber - Region 'A'- Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 

(Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Kino Lorber - Region 'A'- Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 

(Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Kino Lorber - Region 'A'- Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 

(Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Kino Lorber - Region 'A'- Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 

(Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Kino Lorber - Region 'A'- Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 

Audio :

The AE Blu-ray offers a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 2009 kbps. Mostly dialogue-driven film - it has hints of separation but everything is of a subtle nature with only a couple of more aggressive instances. There is also a linear PCM stereo track - both in the original French language. The film doesn't test the lossless audio much - but everything is as clear and tight as you might expect from a modern film. There is an original score by Pawel Mykietyn - who has done a lot more film work of late. It benefits from the crisp uncompressed sound. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

 

Like wise the audio transfer is too similar to complain. Like the Artificial Eye - the Kino has a options of two lossless track, surround and stereo - both in French. My ears couldn't detect a difference. The optional English subtitles are in a slightly larger font and the disc is region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

We get a 10-minute interview with director Malgorzata Szumowska. She is very forthcoming about the evolution of the film, Binoche's participation etc. As informative as one could expect in 10-minutes.

Slightly less substantial with a couple of trailers - including the NC-17 one - and a stills gallery. Give a minor nod to the UK package, with the director interview, in regard to the supplements.

 

(Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray LEFT vs. Kino Lorber - Region 'A'- Blu-ray RIGHT)

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
There is a lot of brutal honesty in Elles. Sure - thought-provoking, looking at things from a mature perspective - or maybe just an open-minded one. Certainly interesting and Juliette Binoche is always a treat to watch. The Artificial Eye Blu-ray provides and solid a/v presentation with an interesting director interview. Great to have the ability to see World Cinema like this in the comfort of your Home Theater. Recommended for those open to the subject matter. 

I enjoyed Elles as much the second time. Both releases are fine packages for premium digital presentations of the film in your home theaters. We endorse both depending on your geographic location or region-coding limitations.

Gary Tooze

August 10th, 2012

September 8th, 2012

 

 

 


 

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 5000 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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