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The Claire Denis Collection


Chocolat (1988)                        Nénette et Boni (1996)

Beau Travail (1999)                 White Material (2009)

 

This collection of films directed by the phenomenally talented Claire Denis serve as a showcase of her decade-spanning, award-winning career, beginning with her international breakthrough CHOCOLAT and carrying through to her most recent work WHITE MATERIAL. Brave, challenging and frequently controversial, Claire Denis is one of the most important French filmmakers of her generation and is the most critically acclaimed female director working in the world today. Also includes BEAU TRAVAIL and NENETTE ET BONI.


(aka "Chocolat - Verbotene Sehnsucht" )

 

directed by Claire Denis
France/West Germany/Cameroon 1988

 

France Dalens (Mireille Perrier, LOVE WITHOUT PITY) arrives in Cameroon to revisit the land where she lived as a child (played by Cécile Ducasse) with her deputy father Marc (François Cluzet, L'ENFER), her mother Aimée (Giulia Boschi, THE SICILIAN), and house servant Protée (Isaach De Bankolé, Claire Denis' WHITE MATERIAL and Pedro Costa's CASA DE LAVA). Marc is away a lot (ostensibly on duty but it seems he enjoys his travels from the notes and sketches he keeps in a journal) and Aimée with Protée (who plays nanny to France, sometimes at the cost of his own dignity). Racial and sexual tensions come to a head when the Dalens are forced to extend the hospitality of their home to the inhabitants of a downed plane: including its captain (Didier Flamand, DON'T LOOK BACK), disagreeable coffee planter Delpich (Jacques Denis, THIS SWEET SUCCESS), another deputy (Laurent Arnal, QUEEN MARGOT), and his wife (Emmanuelle Chaulet, BOYFRIENDS AND GIRLFRIEND), along with a virile ex-seminarian (Jean-Claude Adelin, SCENE OF THE CRIME) who needles Protée over his servitude and seemingly unrequited attraction to his mistress.

CHOCOLAT does not have a story so much as a lengthy recollection upon which the aptly-named France as an adult now recognizes the colonial obliviousness, insensitivity, and outright racism inherent (as well as objectification and sexual tension) in the reactions of her parents, their friends, acquaintances, and herself with colonial subjects (personified primarily by Protee, but the family cook, a village doctor, and Delpich's housekeeper are also verbally victimized). It was a lavish and assured directorial debut for Claire Denis (who returned to Cameroon with
WHITE MATERIAL) with gorgeous cinematography by Robert Alazraki (MY FATHER'S GLORY and MY MOTHER'S CASTLE), production design by Thierry Flamand (THE CRIMSON RIVERS), and an understated score by Abdullah Ibrahim (NO FEAR, NO DIE). Kenneth Cranham (HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II) appears briefly as a British colonial neighbor.

Eric Cotenas

Poster

Theatrical Release: May 1989 (USA)

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DVD Review: Artificial Eye (The Claire Denis Collection) - Region 0 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Artificial Eye

Region 0 - PAL

Runtime 1:41:03 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.5 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 2.0 mono
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.66:1

Edition Details:
• Trailer (16:9; 1:31)
• Trailers for THE WIND WILL CARRY US and CLAIRE DOLAN

DVD Release Date: 25 February 2013
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

As with the other discs in this set, CHOCOLAT is a repackaging of Artificial Eye's individual release sporting an attractive - if dated - 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and a vivid 2.0 mono track (optional English subtitles are included for the French dialogue but there is also English and Cameroon spoken). Unfortunately, AE has not upgraded the film with some extras (it would be nice to have some reflections from Claire Denis). A trailer and trailers for other AE releases are the only extras.

MGM released a DVD in the US - now out-of-print - but the 1998 disc dates back from a period when the company did not anamorphically enhance 1.66:1 films so it is 4:3 letterbox.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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directed by Claire Denis
France 1999

 

"In Beau Travail, director Claire Denis has reworked the old tale of Billy Budd with a French Foreign Legion-esq modern setting, but the undercurrent of jealousy and the eccentricities of male bonding and pride are still the same. Denis Lavent with his commanding screen presence plays Galoup, an ex-sergeant stationed in Africa. Galoup narrates and traces his exit from the legionnaires beginning with the arrival of some new recruits to the base. One of these is Sentain who we come to know as a stable soldier, fit and unflinching. Commander Bruno Forestier notices and stirs a deep rooted jealousy in Galoup. Wonderful desert shots and even better music capture the emptiness and loneliness of the soldiers. A gripping film experience."

Gary Tooze

Posters

Theatrical Release: 3 May 2000 (France)

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Artificial Eye (The Claire Denis Collection) - Region 0 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

Distribution

Artificial Eye

Region 0 - PAL

Runtime 1:29:03 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.62:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.57 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/Italian/Russian Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.62:1

Edition Details:
• Trailer (16:9; 1:35)
• Cast & Crew
• Filmographies

DVD Release Date:
Amaray

Chapters 17

 

Comments

Artificial Eye has ported over the exact encoding and extras from its individual release for this set. Since the US release (compared HERE) is a PAL-NTSC conversion (and is now out of print), the UK release appears to be the current superior English-friendly viewing option. The trailer appears to be stretched to 16:9 from 4:3.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


DVD Menus
 

 

 


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Subtitle sample

 

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


 

directed by Claire Denis
France 1996

 

Claire Denis' fifth theatrical feature NENETTE ET BONI focuses on the titular siblings raised separately by divorced parents. Boni (Gregoire Colin, Denis' BEAU TRAVAIL and Catherine Breillat's SEX IS CRAZY) is a pizza cook living in his dead mother's apartment and fostering obscene fantasies for the busty wife (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, 5x2) of neighborhood baker Vincenzo (Vincent Gallo, THE BROWN BUNNY). His fifteen-year-old Nenette (Alice Houri, THE PORNOGRAPHER) - who was raised by their hated father, a con-artist nicknamed "Mr. Light-Bright" (Jacques Nolot, UNDER THE SAND) - runs away from home and turns up on his doorstep. Boni wants nothing to do with his sister until he learns that she is several months pregnant and wants an abortion or to give the baby up for adoption. As their father searches for Nenette (while also evading crooked associates), cracks begin to form in the stone resolves of the siblings towards one another.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 19 September 1997 (USA)

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Artificial Eye (The Claire Denis Collection) - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

Distribution

Artificial Eye

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:39:12 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.73:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.9 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 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.73:1

Edition Details:
• Trailer (16:9; 1:43)

DVD Release Date:
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Since other releases in THE CLAIRE DENIS COLLECTION have been ported over from the individual releases, NENETTE ET BONI in the set will likely be the same as the individual release (set for the same release date). AE's transfer - probably the same master as the 2005 French release - has some edge-enhancement but seems to retain the softer look of its Super 16mm blow-up origins. The optional English subtitles translate most of the dialogue, but for some dialogue drowned out by city sounds (which French viewers might have been able to lip-read). Other than the trailer, there are absolutely no extras.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


DVD Menus
 

 


Screen Captures


Subtitle sample

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


 

directed by Claire Denis
France/Cameroon 2009

 

In this drama directed and co-written by Claire Denis, Isabelle Huppert plays Maria, a white woman living in an African nation that has been falling into political chaos. Maria owns a coffee plantation, and regards her property as her personal domain; she would rather fight that give up her land, though her stubborn attitude prevents her from admitting that she's putting those close to her in danger.


***


Isabelle Huppert is superb as Maria, delivering a complex performance that still manages to retain our sympathy even when her stubbornness begins to look like reckless endangerment. There's also strong support from Duvauchelle (whose character arc is both disturbing and horrifying) and it's a treat to see Christophe Lambert in a decent film again.

The film is beautifully shot throughout, with impressive cinematography by Yves Cape and several striking images, such as the scene where the soldiers slowly emerge from the greenery or the shots of Maria standing alone on the dusty road, her white dress billowing around her in the wind. Denis also orchestrates several quietly powerful scenes that unfold differently to the way you might expect from a more traditional version of the same story (such as Hotel Rwanda) but are genuinely haunting and all the more effective for being understated.

Excerpt of review from Excerpt from Matthew Turner of ViewLondon located HERE located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: 24 March 2010 (France)

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL

Big thanks to Gary Tooze for the Review!

Distribution

Artificial Eye

Region 0 - PAL

Runtime 1:41:12 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.47 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/Cameroon Dolby Digital 5.1; Frence/Cameroon Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with Claire Denis and Christophe Lambert (16:9; 10:01)
• Trailer (16:9; 1:42)

DVD Release Date:
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

The disc of WHITE MATERIAL in this set matches exactly Artificial Eye's individual DVD release (covered HERE).

Artificial Eye has also released this film on Blu-ray (REVIEWED HERE).

  - Eric Cotenas

 


DVD Menus
 

 


Screen Captures


Subtitle sample

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

 


 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Artificial Eye

Region 0 - PAL

 




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