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(aka "Un Poison Violent" )

 

directed by Katell Quillévéré
France 2010

 

Anna (Clara Augarde) returns from boarding school to discover that her mother Jeanne (chanteuse Lio, THE LAST MISTRESS) has left her father Paul (Thierry Neuvic, CODE UNKNOWN) and is staying with his parents. Her lusty grandfather (Michel Galabru, SUBWAY) is dying, her best friend Sabine (Margaux Louineau) is vacationing with some cousins, and her father has a new woman in his life. A week away from her confirmation, Anna finds her faith shaken by her parent's marital strife and her own growing physical attraction to choir boy Pierre (Youen Leboulanger-Gourvil). The advice on faith that she receives from Father Francois (Stefano Cassetti, ROBERTO SUCCO) - a childhood friend of her mother's - is well-meaning but hollow and her depressed mother's advice on love is even more dispiriting (and if Anna didn't have body image problems before...). As Anna's confirmation nears, she finds much to make her genuinely ponder her beliefs.

Although very slight in plot or incident, LOVE LIKE POISON is an interesting not-quite-coming-of-age drama in which the usual teen angst is for Anna a test of faith. Growing adolescent awareness of physical attraction clash with previous notions of purely spiritual love as Anna's friendship with Pierre grows awkward (her friend Sabine is also more excited about spending the holidays with a male cousin than sad about not being able to spend time with her) and her parents become more candid in response to her questions about how they first fell in love and the things that are driving them apart. Through Anna's relationship with her dying grandfather she becomes more aware of both sides of mortality (it takes her quite a bit of the running time to figure out his dying wish to be taken back to where he came from), and gets another perspective on love (which includes the old man's memories of her parents' early happiness). Outside of her purview, the film also shows the viewer the frailty of each of the characters who are still dealing with such momentous issues even as they downplay their importance to Anna. Newcomer Augarde is intense in the lead, the other performers do their best with what little they are given (out of necessity as most of the film is told from Anna's perspective). The use of English and American folk music against the French pastoral setting is perhaps more novel for English-speaking audiences, but the use of Chorale Scala's cover of Radiohead's "Creep" heard over the end credits (as well as the film's trailer) is an effective choice to sum up Anna's feelings of otherness.

Eric Cotenas

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Theatrical Release: 4 August 2010 (France)

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DVD Review: Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Artificial Eye

Region 0 - PAL

Runtime 1:21:57 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.51 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

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

Bitrate

Audio French Dolby Digital 5.1; French Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with director Katell Quillévéré (16:9; 8:47)
• Interview with actor Michel Galabru (16:9; 4:14)
• Interview with cinematorapher Tom Harari (16:9; 2:44)
• Short film WITH ALL MY MIGHT? (4:3; 18:47)
• U.K. Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 2:08)

DVD Release Date: July 25th, 2011
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Artificial Eye's dual-layer disc beautifully conveys the greens and golds that dapple the film's largely cold color palette, although the rendering of some night scenes is limited by the location shooting (as well as the day-for-night tinting of an evening soccer match). The 5.1 mix is largely restrained (a 2.0 stereo downmix is also included), and the optional English subtitles also translate some important French song lyrics.

Director Quillévéré provides a short interview where she discusses the film's themes, seeing over four hundred young actresses for the lead, her other casting choices, the choice of American religious folk music for the soundtrack (as well as the significance of the Radiohead song, as performed by Chorale Scala). Actor Galabru recalls meeting the young female director for the first time, reading the script, and advising her about the choice of older songs for his character to listen to, and the film's controversial sexuality. Cinematographer Tom Harari talks not about the film's photography but about the song he penned for Pierre to sing for Anna in the film (which he then performs).

Also included is a short film by Quillévéré titled "A Bras le Corps", an ambiguous yet grim story about the co-dependent relationship between two latchkey siblings (whose mother may be dead or in a drunken stupor). Like the feature, the short is scored quirkily-scored with folksy English-language music (in this case, the 1977 Langley School Music Project recording of Fleetwood Mac's "Rhiannon"). The short is letterboxed but non-anamorphic, and the English subtitle are burnt-in. The audio mix is stereo, which is extravagant on its own for a short like this (more so when the end credits boast a DTS-Stereo logo). The film's trailer rounds out the extras.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Artificial Eye

Region 0 - PAL

 




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