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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Los insólitos peces gato" or "Les drôles de poissons-chats")


directed by Claudia Sainte-Luce
France/Mexico 2013


Claudia (Ximena Ayala, BAD HABITS) is a solitary young grocery store worker who winds up in the hospital with appendicitis. She shares a room with Martha (Lisa Owen, VANTAGE POINT), an older single mother whose three daughters - serious Alejandra (Sonia Franco), flighty Wendy (Wendy Guillén), and angsty Mariana (Andrea Baeza) - and young son Armando (Alejandro Ramírez-Muñoz) are a constant disruption. Claudia is resistant to Martha's attempts at friendship, reluctantly agreeing to a ride home after her surgery that actually throws her into the thick of Martha's family situation with no one other than Martha on their best behavior in the presence of a guest. At first it seems that she cannot leave - although Alejandra only locked the door because she was concerned Claudia might steal something - but soon she finds herself taking on family responsibilities (if only because it pains her to see Martha dragging herself out of bed constantly to help her children. The more she helps, the more she opens up about her lonely existence to Martha and comes to discover how each of the children are coping or not coping with their mother's illness through what seems like selfish behavior. When Martha's health takes a turn for the worst, Claudia might be losing the only family she has ever had... or she might have found a role in a family that needs her?

Although the chick-flicky, semi-autobiographical scenario seems rife for maudlin melodrama, the award-winning debut feature from Claudia Sainte-Luce (the script of which won a couple awards before it was even prdouced) is wonderfully understated and quietly dignified (there even exists in what would in other film be "feel good" montages a tension as to what can disrupt the mood). Sainte-Luce is elusive about the sources of her audience-surrogate protagonist's depression and loneliness - believably evasive in the context of the family's blunt queries - in favor of depicting how Owen's harried, dying matriarch has room in her heart even for stranger Claudia (similarly, Sainte-Luce even gives seemingly unsympathetic supporting characters subtle moments of grace). There's actually nothing new here in terms of plot turns, but the execution is admirable in all respects.

Eric Cotenas


Theatrical Release: 28 May 2014 (France)

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DVD Review: Strand Releasing - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Strand Releasing

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:31:09

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.8 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.


Audio Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Strand Releasing

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:39)
• Trailers for 'Bicycling with Molière', 'The Missing Picture', 'Refuge', and 'The Empty Hours'

DVD Release Date: 29 July 2014

Chapters 8



Strand Releasing's dual-layer DVD features a generally attractive progressive, anamorphic transfer with a maxed-out bitrate. The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is restrained but that is the nature of the original mix. The optional English subtitles are free of errors. The only extras are a trailer for the film (with burnt-in subtitles) and trailers for four other titles.

  - Eric Cotenas



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Region 1 - NTSC


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