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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Bronte Sisters aka Les soeurs Brontë [Blu-ray]

 

(André Téchiné, 1979)

 

Gaumont has released a Region FREE Blu-ray of the film here:

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Gaumont

Video: Cohen Media Group

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 2:00:10.661

Disc Size: 47,448,247,824 bytes

Feature Size: 31,147,852,992 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.28 Mbps

Chapters: 11

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: July 30th, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio French 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

 

Subtitles:

English, None

 

Extras:

• Documentary The Ghosts of Haworth with Director André Téchiné, Screenwriter Pascal Bonitzer (59:37)

Feature Length Audio Commentary with Wade Major and Bronte Scholar Sue Lonoff de Cuevas

Original French Trailer (3:23). Re-Release 2013 Trailer (1:42)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: The rediscovered Classic now fully re-mastered and available for the first time EVER. Three of France's most enduring actresses star in this moody and atmospheric look at the reclusive lives of the Brontë sisters. In a dreary presbytery in Yorkshire, living under the watchful eyes of their aunt and father, a strict Anglican pastor, the sisters write their first works that quickly become literary sensations. Their brother, Branwell, a gifted painter, becomes entangled in a complicated May-December romance that tragically effects everyone in the family.

 

 

The Plot:

Four young siblings: Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne, live a stoic existence in a small village in the English country side. Their old father, an Anglican minister, a rigid spinster aunt and Tabby, the maid, complete their household. The siblings have artistic ambitions and rely upon each other for companionship. Branwell is a painter and a self-portrait with his sisters is worthy of the general admiration of the family. He wants to pursue a professional career, but only goes as far as to establish a friendship with Leyland, another artist. Emily's favorite pastime is to walk across the bleak moors that surround the village dressed as a man. Anne, the youngest of the siblings, is her companion. Charlotte, more ambitious than the others, convinces their reluctant aunt to give her money to go to Belgium in order to study French. Her idea is to eventually comeback and open a school. With their aunt's money and permission, Charlotte and Emily go to Brussels. Once there, Charlotte falls secretly in love with her teacher Monsieur Hager, who is already married. Emily plays the piano at school, but has a hard time there and is teased by her classmates for being English and Protestant in a Catholic country. Meanwhile, in England, Anne finds employment as a governess, taking over the education of the daughter of a wealthy family.

While his sisters are away, Branwell deals alone with the death of their aunt. Her death makes Emily and Charlotte come back home. Emily is relieved and helps Branwell to find solace, taking him to the Black Bull Inn, the tavern and hotel of the town. Charlotte, on the other hand, lovesick, returns as soon as possible to Brussels to be reunited with Monsieur Hager, but her love is unrequited. Thanks to Anne, the aimless dreamer Branwell finds a steady job as the teacher of Edmund, the young son of the Robinson family, Anne's wealthy employers. Mr Robinson is strict, and, with his air of superiority, humiliates both Anne and Branwell. Mrs Robinson, flirty and unsatisfied, starts an ill-fated affair with Branwell. When Anne finds out about their relationship, she quits her job and returns home. Both Branwell and Charlotte have to deal with their broken hearts. After the death of her husband, Mrs Robinson sends Branwell a letter ending their affair.

Branwell's life takes a dark turn. He gives himself over to drinking and becomes addicted to opium. During a windy night, a fire stars in his bedroom and he has to be rescued from amongst the flames, by his sisters. Sneaking into Emily's bedroom and searching amongst her things, Charlotte discovers Emily's poems. Deeply impressed, she finally is able to convince the reluctant Emily to have them published. Soon the three sister have their poems, and later a novel each, published. Reviews of Emily's novel, Wuthering Heights, are particularly harsh. However the novels of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell, the pen names adopted by the three sisters, are the talk of London literary circles. Speculations about the sex and identity of the Bell's novels, force Charlotte and Anne to go to London and introduce themselves to Mr Smith, Charlotte's publisher.

Unaware of his sisters literary accomplishments, Branwell dies of marasmus exacerbated by heavy drinking. Emily, stricken by tuberculosis, refuses all medical treatment, insisting on carrying on with her household chores. When she finally agrees to send for a doctor, it is too late, and she dies. Anne is also terminally ill with tuberculosis. Following her wishes, Charlotte takes her to see the ocean for the first time, and Anne dies during that trip.

Charlotte is the only survivor among the four siblings. Left alone with her elderly father, she pursues her literary career and marries Mr Nicholls, her father's curate. In the company of her husband and her publisher, Mr Smith, Charlotte goes to the opera in London and meets the famous author Thackeray.

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE

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

The Bronte Sisters looks quite good on Blu-ray from the Cohen Media Group.  It seems to support the original appearance of the film with passive, dark colors. Detail is acceptable with a touch of texture and the outdoor scenes are quite impressive. The 1.66:1 aspect ratio is preserved and the disc is dual-layered with a higher-end video bitrate.  It is 1080P and seems to adhere to the film's original 'period' look. Hopefully the captures will give you a good idea of the presentation appearance. There was no noise or artefacts and I was pleased with how it looked in-motion.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Cohen add a linear PCM audio stereo track at 2304 kbps. There are no aggressive effects but the score is by the versatile Philippe Sarde (Quest for Fire, Tess, The Tenant) and benefits from the lossless transfer sounding very much in line with the period atmosphere. It is supportive and warm. The are optional subtitles (remote button - not on menu) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A' although there is a French Blu-ray available HERE.

 

Extras :

We get quite a good feature length audio commentary with Wade Major and Bronte Scholar Sue Lonoff de Cuevas (Approaches to Teaching Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights) who is able to describe all the truisms in the film as well as those plot points with with more 'poetic license'. The Ghosts of Haworth is an hour-long documentary by Dominique Maillet about the film including interviews with director André Téchiné, screenwriter Pascal Bonitzer, actor Pascal Greggory and others. A lot is covered - it is in French with English subtitles showing plenty of the film while participants talk. We also get two trailers (original and re-release). There is an 8-page liner notes leaflet with photos and chapter listings.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Very... 'staid' and classical but I was keen to see the performances of the gals - especially Huppert whom I've always found intriguing. While I can see many positives here - it is not really my type of film. Those more appreciative of the period and bio-pic-ish dramas will be more comfortable with the presentation. Téchiné does well with the narrative and there is an even pace and 'Bronte sense' with some impressive cinematography. The Cohen Blu-ray of The Bronte Sisters adds some beneficial flavor to the viewing experience with the commentary and hour-long documentary. This is a value-filled package and for those suiting the genre and style - we recommended! 

Gary Tooze

July 26th, 2013

Gaumont has released a Region FREE Blu-ray of the film here:

 

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.

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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
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Gary W. Tooze

 

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