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directed by Maiwenn
France 2010

 

Photographer Melissa (Maiwenn, who also directed) is commissioned to take pictures for a book on Paris' C.P.U. (Child Protection Unit) and will be spending several months covering the efforts of the northern unit headed by Baloo (Frederic Pierrot, ARTEMISIA). As she accompanies the unit on Romanian caravan raids, child abductions, and rape interrogations, the audience - more so than Melissa - gets a look into their harried private lives (divorce, custody issues, conception problems, infidelity, and the fear of one character that molestation may be happening under her very nose) and professional challenges of the team (strained interpersonal relationships, tension with other departments, lack of resources, interference from bureau head Beauchard [Wladimir Yordanoff, THE TASTE OF OTHERS] when the accused have connections). Melissa's own loose relationship with the father (Riccardo Scamarcio, THE AGES OF LOVE) of her twins becomes complicated when she falls for loose cannon CPU officer Fred (rapper Joey Starr, 22 BULLETS) who is estranged from his own wife and kids.

The third directorial effort of actress Maiwenn (probably best known to US audiences as the THE FIFTH ELEMENT's Diva or - without blue make-up and prosthetics - HIGH TENSION's woman-in-peril), POLISSE thankfully takes a cinematic approach to its fragmented narrative rather than the shaky-cam first person POV camera faux-documentary approach it seems like this story could have allowed; although Maiwenn's character is a still photographer, not a video documentarian. What we see of hers and the other characters' professional and personal lives - a lot of it out of her purview - must be pieced to together to get a greater sense of these at first aggressively unlikable bunch of characters (who sometimes seem as rough on the victims as they are on the accused), and some developments fall by the wayside. There are some trite bits, like the loudest and jerkiest character turning out to be the most sensitive and dedicated, and the Algerian female character having to deal with racism from French white teenagers (and indirectly from Sarkozy's crackdown) and sexism from a Muslim father who plans to marry off his underage daughter (but kudos to Nadya Ayaldi for her multi-lingual diatribe that ends on a comic note). For the most part, the film shies away from graphic violence, and balances out the heartbreaking cases with one inappropriately hilarious bit involving a smart phone. The ending is a little disappointing since it tries to juxtapose the hopelessness of one central character with the psychological recuperation of a victim who was just introduced about twenty minutes before (a number of weeks have passed in the interim, but it unintentionally narratively sweeps aside the long healing process, which of course is outside the purview of the C.P.U.).

Eric Cotenas

Poster

Theatrical Release: 19 October 2011 (France)

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DVD Comparison:

Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL vs. IFC/MPI Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the Screen Caps!

(Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT vs. IFC/MPI Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Artificial Eye

Region 0 - PAL

IFC/MPI Home Video
Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 2:02:20 (4% PAL speedup) 2:07:24
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.37 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.82:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.13 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

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

Bitrate:

 

Artificial Eye

 

Bitrate:

 

IFC/MPI Home Video

 

Audio French/Italian/Romanian/Arabic Dolby Digital 5.1; French/Italian/Romanian/Arabic Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo

French/Italian/Romanian/Arabic Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles English, none English, English SDH, Spanish, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:32)

DVD Release Date: 29 October 2012
Amaray

Chapters 12
 

Release Information:
Studio: IFC/MPI Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.82:1

Edition Details:
• Bloopers (16:9; 12:29)
• Deleted Scenes (16:9; 14:20)
• Interview with director Ma´wenn (16:9; 19:11)
• 'We're off to Cannes!' behind the scenes of POLISSE (16:9; 20:28)
• Scoring the Film with composer Stephen Warbeck (16:9; 3:38)
• Featurette (16:9; 1:52)
• Trailer (16:9; 2:24)
• Start-up trailers for SEXUAL CHRONICLE OF A FRENCH FAMILY, ENTRANCE, TRISHNA, and BELOVED

 

DVD Release Date: 30 October 2012
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

The Region 1 IFC/MPI dual-layer DVD definitely trounces Artificial Eye's higher-bitrate UK disc in terms of supplements (all of which are subtitled), but - as with much of IFC's foreign product - the image is interlaced (it is not a PAL-NTSC conversion; the running time reflects the correct 24fps playback running time). The IFC is framed at 1.82:1, but any difference with the framing of the 1.78:1 Artificial Eye disc is negligible. The English subtitle translation appears to be the same (IFC also includes an SDH English subtitle track for those who need it, as well as optional Spanish subtitles).

The IFC is stacked with extras, some of which are more interesting than others. The blooper reel mainly focuses on scenes featuring Maiwenn (often slating herself) and Joey Starr. Eight deleted scenes are also included, the bulk of which shed more light on the triangular relationship between Baloo, Melissa, and the father of her children, while another features a dramatic confrontation between Baloo and well-connected molestation suspect Faublaise (actor/director Louis-Do de Lencquesaing). In the interview, Maiwenn reveals that she did a training course with the police and took extensive notes (unlike her character, she didn't want to intimidate anyone with a camera). She discusses the multiple drafts of the screenplay that had to be checked with Children's Services and realizing in the editing that the potentially objectionable scenes she could not do were not necessary (the audience's imagination is far more effective). The interview is illustrated with plenty of rehearsal footage of the actors improvising. British composer Stephen Warbeck answers questions in French (suggesting the interview was produced for a French release).

 - Eric Cotenas

 


DVD Menus
(
Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT vs. IFC/MPI Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)
 

 

 


 

Screen Captures

(Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. IFC/MPI Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)
Subtitle sample

 


(Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. IFC/MPI Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. IFC/MPI Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. IFC/MPI Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. IFC/MPI Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. IFC/MPI Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. IFC/MPI Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Artificial Eye

Sound:

Draw

Extras: IFC/MPI
Menu: Draw

 
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Artificial Eye

Region 0 - PAL

IFC/MPI Home Video
Region 1 - NTSC

 




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