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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

L'Immortelle [Blu-ray]


(Alain Robbe-Grillet, 1963)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Dino de Laurentiis Cinematografica

Video: Redemption / Kino



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

Runtime: 1:41:35.088

Disc Size: 41,114,736,364 bytes

Feature Size: 29,011,774,848 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.98 Mbps

Chapters: 10

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 1st, 2014



Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



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



English (only for French dialogue), None



• Interview with Alain Robbe-Grillet by Frederic Taddei (34:00)

• Trailers (Trans-Europ-Express, Eden and After, and The Man Who Lies)

• 2014 Promo (2:09)





Description: With his talent for intricate, experimental narratives, and his penchant for sado-masochism as a recurring theme in his work, Robbe-Grillet used film to explore his own sexual desires, resulting in a highly personal and sometimes disturbing body of work that is equally characteristic of European art cinema and the exploitation cinema of the 1960s.

For years, Robbe-Grillet's films have been unavailable in the United States in any form. It is with great pride that Kino Lorber and Redemption Films bring these films to American viewers, in exquisite HD editions, aiding in the rediscovery of one of European cinema's most eclectic and highly original filmmakers.

With its highly stylized camerawork and fragmented narrative structure, Alain Robbe-Grillet's L'IMMORTELLE is a cinematic arabesque that teases the eye with visual delights, yet sadistically confounds the viewer's expectations. Not dissimilar to Alain Resnais's Last Year at Marienbad, which he had written two years earlier, L'IMMORTELLE involves a Frenchman, traveling in Istanbul, who is fascinated by the city's language, architecture, and exotic culture. He soon becomes entranced by a mysterious woman (Françoise Brion) who seems to encourage his attentions but remains, maddeningly, just beyond his reach. His erotic pursuit of her leads him into the criminal underworld...with deadly consequences.



The Film:

The first feature directed by nouveau roman writer and film-maker Robbe-Grillet (who had scripted Resnais' Last Year at Marienbad), this is a characteristically fragmented mystery-romance set in Istanbul. The arty narrative is occasionally irritating, and one could easily argue that the images of the elusive femme fatale in underwear and bondage are misogynist; but there is no denying the film's extraordinary creation of that strange, unsettling atmosphere one encounters in a foreign and labyrinthine city.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

French avant-garde novelist Alain Robbe-Grillet, who previously wrote the screenplay for the ground-breaking L'Annee Derniere a Marienbad, made his directorial debut with this allegorical drama. A man known as N (Jacques Doniol-Valcroze) encounters L (Francoise Brion,) a mysterious woman who may or may not be involved with M (Guido Celano), a Turk who kidnaps women and forces them into prostitution. N finds himself falling in love with L, who suddenly disappears. When she reemerges, N persuades L to join him for a vacation; as they drive out of town, one of her dogs dashes into the road. Swerving in a desperate effort to save the dog, N loses control of the car and L is killed. N becomes obsessed with the accident, for which he cannot forgive himself. L'Immortelle was nominated for the Golden Bear award at the 1963 Berlin Film Festival.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

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

Much to the delight of Alain Robbe-Grillet fans, Kino's Redemption label have released L'Immortelle from a recently restored print - to Blu-ray. The 1080P image is very impressive with wonderful contrast. Detail is crisp and the image is remarkably clean looking. There is frequent depth exported. There is texture and the visuals are fairly consistent throughout the presentation. The vistas of Istanbul are beautifully shot. In short - I see no flaws and was quite taken with the pristine remastered video representation. This is house on a dual-layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate in the original 1.66:1 aspect ratio. Thumbs up!



















Audio :

The audio is in the form of a linear PCM 2.0 channel at 2304 kbps in original French (with some English). Dialogue can be sparse (long gaps). Georges Delerue (Jules et Jim, The Woman Next Door, The Last Metro, Day For Night) did the score - with Michel Fano + Tahsin Kavalcioglu - which sounds quite nice beside the contemplative visuals. There are some minor effects with depth via the lossless. The track handles the film's soundstage very effectively. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

Redemption include a 1/2 hour interview with Alain Robbe-Grillet, who was also most successful screenwriters of the French New Wave, by Frederic Taddei (in French with English subtitles). It is revealing - the director talks about the production as well as Marienbad. He is very honest and open about the production and his career at the time. There are trailers for Trans-Europ-Express, Eden and After, and The Man Who Lies. There is also a 2-minute 2014 Promo for L'Immortelle.



This was very... intriguing. L'Immortelle is a stunning beautiful film and well worth multiples spins. Maurice Barry's cinematography is beautiful. Yes, very heavy 'art' (non-linear with extensive flashbacks) but has some balance with the intrigue angle. I really liked it a lot! The Redemption Blu-ray offers an impressive 1080P presentation of a pretty interesting film. Absolutely recommended! 

Gary Tooze

March 27th, 2014


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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