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That Obscure Object of Desire [Blu-ray]
NOTE: Avoid the Canadian Alliance version HERE as it has no supplements!
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: In-Cine Compa˝Ýa Industrial Cinematogrßfica
Video:Studio Canal / Lions Gate
Region: 'B'-locked -Lions Gate Region 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:43:43.625 /1:43:43.625
Disc Size: 43,607,271,955 bytes/ 45,536,505,684 bytes
Feature Size: 24,266,096,640 bytes / 22,779,248,640 bytes
Video Bitrate: 24.34 Mbps / 24.35 Mbps
Case: Digi-book Blu-ray case /Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: September 10th, 2012 / January 29th, 2013
Aspect ratio: 1.69:1 (both)
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1616 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1616 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 1584 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1584 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio German 1618 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1618 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1616 kbps
2.0 / 48 kHz / 1616 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz /
1509 kbps / 16-bit)
English, French, German, none
English, French, none
• Arbitrary Desire (Interview with Jean- Claude CarriŔre) -
• Interview with Carlos Saura (11:44)
• The Arbitrariness of Desire (Interview with Jean- Claude CarriŔre) - 35:16
• Lady Dames (interview with Carole Bouquet and Angela Molina) - 37:31
• Portrait of an Impatient Filmmaker - 16:12
Description: Adapted from Pierre Lou s’ 1898 novel ‘Le
Femme et le Pantin’, That Obscure Object of
Desire marked Bunuel’s final film. Recounted in
flashback to a group of railway travellers, the story wryly
details the romantic perils of Mathieu (Bunuel favourite
Fernando Rey), a wealthy middle-aged French sophisticate who
falls desperately in love with his 19-year-old former
chambermaid Conchita (Carole Bouquet).
Luis Bu˝uel’s final film explodes with eroticism, bringing full circle the director’s lifelong preoccupation with the darker side of desire. Bu˝uel regular Fernando Rey plays Mathieu, an urbane widower, tortured by his lust for the elusive Conchita. With subversive flare, Bu˝uel uses two different actresses in the lead—Carole Bouquet, a sophisticated French beauty, and Angela Molina, a Spanish coquette. Drawn from Pierre Lou s’s 1898 novel, La Femme et le Pantin, That Obscure Object of Desire is a dizzying game of sexual politics punctuated by a terror that harkens back to Bu˝uel’s brilliant surrealistic beginnings.
Adapted from Pierre Louys' 1898 novel La Femme et le Pantin, That Obscure Object of Desire is the 30th and final film... from the great Luis Bu˝uel. Recounted in flashback to a group of railway travellers, the story wryly details the romantic perils of Mathieu (Bu˝uel favorite Fernando Rey), a wealthy, middle-aged French sophisticate who falls desperately in love with his 19-year-old former chambermaid Conchita. Thus begins a surreal game of sexual cat-and-mouse, with Mathieu obsessively attempting to win the girl's affections as she manipulates his carnal desires, each vying to gain absolute control of the other. Brimming with the subversive wit which characterizes all of Bu˝uel's finest work, That Obscure Object of Desire takes satiric aim at a decadent, decaying society riddled by political unrest and moral bankruptcy. The picture is absurdist even in its casting -- Rey's dialogue was dubbed by the French actor Michel Piccoli, while the two-faced, hot-and-cold Conchita is played, logically enough, by two different actresses (Carole Bouquet and Angela Molina, respectively), with the character's dialogue spoken by yet a third performer. The same Louys novel was also filmed by Josef von Sternberg in 1935 as the Marlene Dietrich vehicle The Devil Is a Woman, and again in 1959 as Julien Duvivier's La Femme et le Pantin, starring Brigitte Bardot.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
That Obscure Object of Desire looks consistent on Blu-ray from Studio Canal - not particularly crisp but there is a film-like thickness and some desirable depth. The image quality is smooth but not glossy and colors are reasonably authentic. It has a tendency to dull and waxy but never excessive enough to point fingers. This Blu-ray offers a fine, although not overwhelming, video presentation without noise, speckles, damage or artefacts.
The Lions Gate, as expected, has the exact same video transfer with only the opening 'Blu-ray releasing' logo different - see the running time (to the 1/1000th of a second), the bitrate, encode etc. Essentially the exact same image transfer as the Studio Canal.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The audio is offered in French and the English and German DUBs - all via lossless DTS-HD Master 2.0 channels at around 1600 kbps. Everything seems correct and unremarkable - but accurate to its theatrical roots. There are optional English, French or German subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.
Audio loses the German DUB and subtitles but is otherwise an absolute duplicate of the Studio Canal audio transfer excepting it is region 'A'.
Great extras with Arbitrary Desire - a 1/2 hour interview with the always interesting Jean- Claude CarriŔre, plus a 10-minute follow-up with Carlos Saura. Entitled 'Double Dames', we get a 30-minute interview with Carole Bouquet and Angela Molina and lastly a 16-minute portrait of Luis Bu˝uel via an interview with Pierre Lary and Edmond Richard. This is housed in a nicely appointed Digi-book with an essay on the movie written by Peter William Evans, Author of Luis Bu˝uel; Subjectivity and Desire.
The Studio Canal offers a shade more than the Lions Gate as it includes the booklet that is absent on the Lions Gate which is housed in a standardBlu-ray Case (no Digi-book). It is amusing to see the menu extra name differences; ex. 'Arbitrary Desire' vs. 'The Arbitrariness of Desire' and Double Dames as opposed to Lady Dames. But it all seems here although perhaps A Portrait if Luis Bunuel and the other 3 are running in PAL while the US release ones are in NTSC.
The review was just to confirm the many, and expected, similarities in the US Blu-ray package and the slight differences. Essentially, we lose the Digi-book but everything else is the same as the European edition. This is a shade pricey but for Bu˝uel fans - worth every penny. They, truly, do not make films like this any more. Nothing is even close.
September 18th, 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 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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