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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Nightcap')

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/chabrol.htm
France / Switzerland 2000

 

Claude Chabrol's Merci Pour le Chocolat is a light confection with a tasty Isabelle Huppert performance at its center. Working from a 1948 recipe by a sometime scriptwriter for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Chabrol knocks off a witty psychological thriller—more gothic than noir.

Set by the placid shores of Lake Lausanne, the movie opens with Swiss chocolate factory heiress Mika Muller (Huppert) marrying celebrated concert pianist André Polonski (Jacques Dutronc) for the second time, in a ceremony where family business blends with gossipy intrigue. Without pausing to clarify, Chabrol introduces a second domestic unit whose daughter, Jeanne (Anna Mouglalis), herself an aspiring pianist, learns that she was almost switched at birth with Guillaume (Rodolphe Pauly), André's highly unmusical son by his first (or rather, his second) wife, dead some years ago in car accident. The tangled genealogy has intimations of Elizabethan comedy—as does the spirited Jeanne, who, intrigued with the possibility that she might be the biological daughter of the great Polonski, presents herself at his wife's hilltop chateau.

 Excerpt from J. Hoberman's review at The Village Voice located HERE.

Posters etc.

Theatrical Release: August 2nd, 2000 - Montreal Film Festival

Reviews                                                                            DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL vs. Remstar - Region 1 - NTSC vs. MK2 - Region 2 - PAL vs. Cohen Media - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Per-Olof Strandberg for the Artificial Eye Screen Caps and Eric Cotenas for the MK2!

1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT

2) Remstar - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) MK2 - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Cohen - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

Distribution

Artificial Eye

Region 2 - PAL

Remstar
Region 1 - NTSC

MK2

Region 2 - PAL

Cohen - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:36:24 (4% PAL speedup) 1:36:15 (4% PAL speedup) 1:36:21 (4% PAL speedup) 1:41:10.856
Video

1:1.78 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.33 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.62:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.66 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 31,917,804,307 bytes

Feature: 30,358,392,576 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 34.06 Mbps

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Artificial Eye

 

Bitrate:

 

Remstar

 

Bitrate:

 

MK2

 

Bitrate:

 

Blu-ray

 

Audio French (Dolby Digital 2.0)

French (Dolby Digital 2.0), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)  

French Dolby Digital 5.1

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

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

Subtitles English (Forced) English, None None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1:1.78

Edition Details:
• Trailer (1:29)
• Making of documentary (26:01)
• Isabella Huppert interview (7:09)
• Anna Mouglalis Screen test (10:30)
• Interview with Chabrol (TEXT / 11 Pages)
• Cast & Crew Filmography

DVD Release Date: November 19th, 2001
Keep Case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Remstar / First Run

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.63:1

Edition Details:

• Filmography
• 4 advert trailers

DVD Release Date: March 23rd, 2004

Keep Case
Chapters: 16

Release Information:
Studio: MK2

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.62:1

Edition Details:
• SIDE A:
• Introduction by Joel Magny
• SIDE B:
• Cinema Lesson by Claude Chabrol (four scenes with commentary; 16:9; 41:59)
• Making-of featurette (4:3; 26:01)
• Interview with Isabelle Huppert (4:3; 7:08)
• Interview with Jacques Dutronc (4:3; 31:59)
• Screen test for Anna Mouglalis (16:9; 10:30)
• Theatrical Trailer (4:3; 1:29)
• Bonus trailers for INSPECTOR LAVARDIN, MASQUES, THE STORY OF WOMEN, MADAME BOVARY, BETTY, L'ENFER,
• LA CEREMONIE, RIEN NE VA PLUS, AU COEUR DE MENSONGE, and MERCI POUR LE CHOCOLAT

DVD Release Date: 22 May 2001
Amaray

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio:
Cohen Media

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 46,479,131,353 bytes

Feature: 29,980,647,744 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 28.03 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
• Commentary by Wade Major and Andy Klein

• 2014 Re-Release Trailer (1:53)
8-page liner notes booklet with photos, credits and essay by Peter Tonguette

Blu-ray Release Date: September 30th, 2014
Transparent
Blu-ray Case

Chapters 10

 

 

 

Comments

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

 

ADDITION: Cohen Media - Region 'A' - Blu-ray (September 2014): This looks very dark and a little green to me. It is framed correctly in the 1.66:1 aspect ratio. It seems sharper than the SDs with more realistic skin tones. I can only presume this restoration is accurate - although it does seem imperfect. My suspicions are raised. There may be some minor digitization - more notable in the beginning. The 1080P presentation does look good in-motion, but the dark cast is.... questionable.

 

Audio is lossless and quite adept using a linear PCM stereo. The subtitles ARE removable although not a menu choice - only via the remote. The disc is region 'A'-locked. Nice to have the English commentary by Wade Major and Andy Klein - which has some merits discussing Chabrol's style and intentions, deep focus, framing etc.. There is also a liner notes booklet and re-release trailer.

***

 

'ADDITION: MK2 - May 2010': The original MK2 edition seems to be the best picture-wise of the available editions as it is presented in its original 1.66:1 aspect ratio and sports a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Unlike other MK2 Chabrol titles, MERCI POUR LE CHOCOLAT is not English-friendly. Also unlike others in the series, it is not a dual-layer disc; rather, it is a double-sided disc that presents a single-layer anamorphic transfer of the film on side A with introduction by Joel Magny (narration over a series of slides and clips) and the rest of the supplements on side B including a 42 minute selected scenes commentary by Chabrol. Some of the extras were ported over to the Artificial Eye edition in the UK (with the exception of the selected commentary and the Dutronc interview) and translated but that edition was ruinously cropped to 1.78:1. The UK disc also featured large burnt-in subtitles and 2.0 stereo audio only. The two North American editions were PAL-converted and non-anamorphic. The Canadian Remstar had 5.1 and 2.0 tracks as well as optional subtitles while the US First Run edition had burnt-in subtitles and a 2.0 track but was not a port of the UK edition as it was in the 1.66:1 ratio (the Canadian edition was also 1.66:1). The 2001 MK2 edition seems to be out of print but a check at Amazon shows that it has been reissued a few times with the latest being in 2008 which is still available HERE.

 - Eric Cotenas

***

ON THE ARTIFICIAL EYE vs. the REMSTAR: Both of these DVDs have fatal flaws that cannot be disregarded. Starting with the Artificial Eye - it has been cropped from the intended ratio of 1.66:1 to suit 1.78 widescreen systems. Heads are chopped here and there (see large capture # 3). It has burned-in subtitles which are quite large and intrusive. It does have some decent Extra features but the cropping is noticeable on Chabrol's tight framing. Now, the Remstar - Looking at the times it is a PAL->NTSC transfer with only minimal examples of 'ghosting' (see last capture). It is non-anamorphic, and non-progressive but it is fairly close to the 1.66 intended aspect ratio. Both a 2.0 and 5.1 French track are optional - no extras to speak of - and I found the subtitles as large and intrusive as the Artificial Eye but at least they are optional. The Remstar virtually has no extras.

The lesser of two evils is the Remstar but it is a very strange disc with limitations in the image but include a 5.1 bump option in the audio. I suggest Remstar get their priorities correct when engaging in DVD production.

NOTE: We are just off on a few of the frames but the glaring points of comparison are still easy to discern.

Gary Tooze

 


Menus

(Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. Remstar - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)

 

 

MK2 - Region 2 - PAL

 

 

Cohen- Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


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

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Remstar - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) MK2 - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Cohen - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Remstar - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) MK2 - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Cohen - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Remstar - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) MK2 - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Cohen - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Remstar - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) MK2 - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Cohen - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Remstar - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) MK2 - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Cohen - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Remstar - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) MK2 - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Cohen - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

NOTE: Not exact frame (notice combing in Remstar)

 

More Blu-ray captures

 


Recommended Reading in French Cinema (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

The Films in My Life
by Francois Truffaut, Leonard Mayhew

French Cinema: A Student's Guide
by Philip Powrie, Keith Reader
Agnes Varda by Alison Smith Godard on Godard : Critical Writings by Jean-Luc Godard Claude Chabrol (French Film Directors)
by Guy Austin
Robert Bresson (Cinematheque Ontario Monographs, No. 2)
by James Quandt
The Art of Cinema by Jean Cocteau French New Wave
by Jean Douchet, Robert Bonnono, Cedric Anger, Robert Bononno
French Cinema: From Its Beginnings to the Present
by Remi Fournier Lanzoni

Check out more in "The Library"


Box Covers

Distribution

Artificial Eye

Region 2 - PAL

Remstar
Region 1 - NTSC

MK2

Region 2 - PAL

Cohen - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Hit Counter


Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: MK2
 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gary Tooze

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