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(aka 'Hell)

Directed by Danis Tanovic
France 200


French drama based on a script by Krzysztof Kieslowski, completed just before his death. In 1980s Paris a man, fresh from his release from prison, is rejected by his wife. After a violent confrontation he throws himself from the apartment window, an act witnessed by his three young daughters. In present day Paris the three daughters, now grown up, live their own lives. Sophie (Emmanuelle Beart), the eldest, is married with young children but suspects her husband of having an affair. The youngest, Anne (Marie Gillain), is a student involved in a messy relationship with one of her tutors. Middle sister Celine (Karin Viard) lives a solitary and joyless life, caring for their difficult mother. When a young man starts to take an interest in her, she little suspects the true motive behind his approaches.


Director Danis Tanovic picks up where the late-Krzysztof Kieslowski left off by taking on the second installment of Kieslowski's "Heaven," "Hell," and "Purgatory" trilogy (the first was adapted by Run Lola Run director Tom Tykwer) with this tale of a family whose dark past returns with a vengeance. Loosely modeled by screenwriter Krzysztof Piesiewicz on the second act of Dante's Inferno, Hell tells the story of sisters Sophie (Emmanuelle Béart), Céline (Karin Viard), and Anne (Marie Gillain), whose lives were turned upside down when their father was imprisoned and their mother was rendered a wheelchair-bound mute. As the estranged sisters are slowly brought back together by a mysterious and handsome stranger who is somehow involved with the tragic events of the past, the questions that had for years gone unanswered slowly begin to drift into focus


Theatrical Release: November 16th, 2005

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DVD Review: Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL

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Distribution Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL
Runtime 1:37:45 
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.28 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.


Audio French (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English (non-removable)

Release Information:
Studio: Momentum Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 (letterboxed)

Edition Details:

• Making of L'enfer (Reflections of Hell) - 59:16
• Trailer (1:51)

DVD Release Date: August 21st, 2006

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 12



Firstly, this should not be confused with Chabrol's L'Enfer from 11 years earlier ALSO starring Emmanuelle Béart.

What a shame this fascinating, and odd, Kieslowski-scenario film has so many flaws in the SD transfer. The film is certainly scattered, and imperfect, but it would seem certainly worthy of superior treatment than a non-anamorphic rendering in PAL with burned-in subtitles. The horizontal resolution (about 768) wasn't unbearable on my system and L'Enfer has some very interesting and, at times, beautiful cinematography. There are a few minor artefcats. I see there is an anamorphic, Latin American, Release (region 1, 4) HERE, but seems to have only Spanish subtitles. The French version doesn't appear to offer English subtitles. So if this is it... I'd love to see it on Blu-ray, one day, as it is certainly a film I will re-watch... and it has striking visuals - even beyond, the hypnotic, Miss Béart.

Audio is standard without flaws and the English subtitles are large and un-removable (they appear burned-in).

There is a great extra - The hour-long Reflections of Hell - Making of... featurette with plenty of input from cast and crew - notably about working with director Tanovic. It is in French with English subtitles. There is also a trailer.

The DVD inferiorities are more acceptable if you consider the price - less than $8 USD at current conversion rate. Since the odds of it reaching 1080P seem slim - you may wish to pick this up in your next group purchase. It's a pleasant if enigmatic surprise.  

Gary W. Tooze


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Distribution Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL

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