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directed by Mabrouk El Mechri (2.1-4) and J�r�me Cornuau (2.5-8)
France 2013

 

It's 1873 and France is now a republic, but the monarchists are plotting the restoration of the exiled Bourbon king to the throne. The residents of the Paradis brothel, however, are under threat from the Moral Order - headlined in their case by fervent Inspector Torcy (Sbastien Libessart, TIME REGAINED) who has become chief of the vice squad - who do not want the prostitutes to find religion; rather, they want them off the streets, back in the brothels, and adhering to the old system of a paying protection (rather than the communal arrangement they established at the end of the first season). Hortense (Valrie Karsenti, THE HEDGEHOG) has continued to insinuate herself as madame even though she is regarded only as the landlady of the property, while keeper Marguerite (Catherine Hosmalin, I'VE LOVED YOU SO LONG) and ambitious Valentine (Clmence Bretcher, A GIRL CUT IN TWO) still vie for position. Hortense finds herself overruled when Louis Mosca (Michal Cohen, ILS) and his partners Kertel (Michal Abiteboul, CRIMSON RIVERS 2) and Bak (Martin Loizillon, MYSTERIES OF LISBON) offer their services as protectors with a more lucrative arrangement than proposed by Hortense; they are aware that Mosca and his gang are not on the up-and-up but not that they are jewel robbers preying upon the brothel's own clientele. When her sister has a nervous breakdown after her husband leaves her - she decided to sleep with a blackmailing neighbor rather than pay him off and threaten his life as advised - Vera (Anne Charrier) finds herself looking after her daughter Jeanne (Lubna Gourion) who is still unaware that she is her real mother and a prostitute. The brothel is also facing competition from streetwalkers and their vicious pimps, who may indeed represent the future of prostitution; and Hortense and one of Mosca's own are eager to get in on the action. Rose (Jemima West, THE MESSENGER: THE STORY OF JOAN OF ARC) - who had been sold into prostitution and forced to serve at Paradis - had established herself as the new madame of the Pardis commune at the end of the first season, but is seen here getting out of prison after a year-long sentence following a murder (the motive of which is not disclosed to us) and estranged from the girls. Rather than finding religion in prison, Rose has found Marx and makes her feelings known about the various ways in which Hortense, Mosca, Torcy, and the pimps mean to exploit the girls.

Season two of MAISON CLOSE starts two years after the first season (and was indeed filmed after a year's hiatus), but reestablishes most of its threads quickly. As with the first season, the soap opera political and social intrigues take precedence over titillation, with alliances constantly switching among characters from the first episode to the last. The realities of the prostitutes' lives are hammered home with syphilis, vicious beatings, and cold-blooded murder; and as much as we want them to prevail, the girls are still reliant on men wielding various forms of power and having to chose who is the lesser evil: corrupt (and outright vile) Torcy or psychotic Mosca. Rose briefly finds herself in a triangle with socialist doctor Adrien (Aurlien Wiik, FRONTIER[S]) and the more charismatic Mosca; and her revolutionary leanings fall by the wayside - but never disappear completely - as she falls in love and embraces a life of crime. The finale leaves us on more of a cliffhanger than that of the first season, with several plot threads left in the air; hopefully, we won't have to wait another year or two for season three (although this open ending may actually be an appropriate finish).

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 4 February 2013 - 25 February 2013 (season two)

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DVD Review: Arrow Films - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Arrow Films

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 6:19:12 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.69 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: Arrow Films

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• DISC ONE:
• Episodes (with 'Play All' option):
• - #2.1 (16:9; 44:28)
• - #2.2 (16:9; 45:34)
• - #2.3 (16:;9 39:54)
• - #2.4 (16:9; 46:48)
• Start-up trailers for 'Maison Close: Season One' and 'Hard: Series One'
• 

• DISC TWO:
• Episodes (with 'Play All' option):
• - #2.5 (16:9; 52:26)
• - #2.6 (16:9; 50:22)
• - #2.7 (16:9; 53:44)
• - #2.8 (16:9; 45:50)

DVD Release Date: 19 August 2013
Amaray

Chapters 40

 

Comments

Season two of MAISON CLOSE switches to the more cinematic 2.35:1 aspect ratio but the image is still moodily dark and diffused. Compression artifacts pop up on occasion with detailed patterns, but are generally not distracting. The French 2.0 stereo track is vivid when it comes to scoring, dialogue, and more forceful sound effects while the source music sounds intentionally distant or muffled. Optional English subtitles are available. There are no extras.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Arrow Films

Region 2 - PAL




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