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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Une chambre en ville [Blu-ray]

 

(Jacques Demy, 1982)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Union Générale Cinématographique (UGC) 

Video: Criterion Collection Spine #719

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:34:27.703 

Disc Size: 48,091,416,808 bytes

Feature Size: 22,422,601,728 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.99 Mbps

Chapters: 15

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July 22nd, 2014

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio French 2012 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2012 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English, none

 

Extras:

• Jacques Demy, A to Z, a new visual essay by film critic James Quandt (1:01:07)
Q&A with Demy from the 1987 Midnight Sun Film Festival (16:14)
Filmmaker Agnès Varda’s 1995 documentary The World of Jacques Demy (1:31:40)
Varda’s 1993 documentary The Young Girls Turn 25, on the DVD
Restoration demonstration (5:52)
Trailer (1:31)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: In this musical melodrama set against the backdrop of a workers’ strike in Nantes, Dominique Sanda plays a young woman who wishes to leave her brutish husband (Michel Piccoli) for an earthy steelworker (Richard Berry), though he is involved with another. Unbeknownst to the girl, the object of her affection boards with her no-nonsense baroness mother (Danielle Darrieux). A late-career triumph from Jacques Demy, Une chambre en ville received nine César Award nominations and features a rich, operatic score by Michel Colombier.

 

 

The Film:

Une chambre en ville is a 1982 French film directed by Jacques Demy. It is a musical in which every line of dialogue is sung. The film won the Prix Méliès, and was nominated for nine César Awards: Best Film, Best Director, Most Promising Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Music, Best Production Design and Best Sound. The story is set during a workers' strike in Nantes in 1955. Young shipyard worker François Guilbaud is one of the strikers, and he rents a room from Madame Langlois, a widow who sympathizes with the strikers although she is herself upper-class, born a baroness. His girlfriend Violette Pelletier, who works in a shop and lives with her mother, wants to get married but he is unwilling, partly because they have no money and nowhere to live.

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE

The lurid sexual brutality of Une chambre en ville – in which Michel Piccoli, unable to make love to his wife, wields a razor in place of a penis, and Sanda opens her mink to reveal an exquisite body laced by scars – is a subtext hinted at but never explored in Demy’s earlier films. In Les demoiselles de Rochefort, Danielle Darrieux reads a newspaper item about a woman dismembered by her lover and packed into a suitcase. In the Medieval fairytale The Pied Piper (1972), a glistening white bridal cake splits open to reveal a swarm of rats carrying the bubonic plague. With the murder/suicide at the end of Une chambre en ville, Demy consciously echoed the eroticised “love-death” of Romeo and Juliet or Tristan and Isolde.

Excerpt from Senses of Cinema located HERE

 

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

Une Chambre en Ville looks very film-like on Blu-ray from Criterion. Une Chambre en Ville was shot in 1982 on 35mm color silver stock in a 1.66:1 panoramic format and was restored in 2012 by the laboratory Digimage. The restoration of the images was made in digital 2K from a 4K digital scan of the original 35mm. Mathieu Demy supervised the grading. This Blu-ray is dual-layered with high bitrate and colors (yellows, pinks, reds) are vibrant. I appreciate the visible grain textures. This Blu-ray is pristinely clean and has no noise or other discernable flaws. It supplies a very strong HD presentation.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The restoration of the sound was made from the 4-track Dolby 'A' original mix. The transfer is a tight DTS-HD Master 2.0 stereo at 2012 kbps. The score is by Michel Colombier (Against All Odds). It was very clean and consistent with a bit of buoyancy in the vocals (the entire film dialogue is sung - sounding impressively clean and crisp). There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked Blu-ray disc.

 

Extras :

Once again Criterion add some relevant extras - Jacques Demy, A to Z, is a new, 2014, visual essay by film critic James Quandt running over 1-hour. It is excellent. There is a 16-minute Q&A with Demy from the 1987 Midnight Sun Film Festival in Sodankyla, Finland where the director sits down with moderator Peter von Bagh. Included is filmmaker Agnès Varda’s, 1.5 hour, 1995 documentary The World of Jacques Demy about the life and career of her late husband. It includes her own narration and numerous archival interviews with Demy as well as interviews with composer Michel Legrand, and actors Catherine Deneuve, Michel Piccoli, Dominque Sanda, Jeanne Moreau and Anouk Aimee. There is a 6-minute 'Restoration demonstration' and a trailer. The Demy package includes a booklet featuring essays by critics Ginette Vincendeau, Terrence Rafferty, Jim Ridley, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Anne E. Duggan, and Geoff Andrew, and a postscript by Berthomé.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I had never seen Une Chambre en Ville before and thought it was... fantastic. Cinema so inventive and unique - an essential, indeed. This is our last review of the Essential Jacques Demy Blu-ray package - we've covered the other 5 films; Lola, Bay of Angels, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The Young Girls of Rochefort, Donkey Skin and it is appropriately sealed with a true gem - Une chambre en ville. The Criterion Blu-ray package, despite the Lola restoration, is still the Blu-ray set of the year to date. Our highest recommendation! 

Gary Tooze

July 15th, 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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