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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Secrets et mensonges" )

 

directed by Mike Leigh
UK 1996

 

Mike Leigh, the tragicomic English director whose last film, Naked, won him belated fame in America, has a working method so unique it's easy just to ponder that and forget about the films themselves. He starts without a script or even a story line, merely tossing his actors a premise. Through three months of rehearsals, the actors probe motives, test reactions, try out distinctive habits of thought, movement, and speech. The result is a screenplay that traces not so much a plot as the course of an emotional crisis. Except for some punching up for structure and comic bang, it mirrors as closely as possible a phenomenon rarely presented on screen: the real-life behavior of human beings.

But none of this explains why Leigh can bring us close to tears just 30 seconds into a film, before we know these characters from Adam.

 

Excerpt from Slate's review by Sarah Kerr located HERE

This hilarious, bittersweet comedy from director Mike Leigh (Mr. Turner) is an unmissable and moving slice of real life.

Hortense (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) is a young, black optometrist whose adoptive parents have recently died. Cynthia (Brenda Blethyn) is a sad, unmarried mother who works in a factory and lives in a shabby terraced house with her confrontational daughter Roxanne (Claire Rushbrook). Cynthia's brother Maurice (Timothy Spall) is a successful photographer who lives comfortably in suburbia with his wife Monica (Phyllis Logan). In a misplaced effort to re-unite the family, Maurice and Monica throw a small barbecue party for Roxanne's 21st birthday. When Cynthia brings along her new friend Hortense, chaos ensues and some painful truths are revealed.

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 1996 - Cannes File Festival

Reviews                                                                               More Reviews                                                                  DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Fox - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Cinema Club - Region 2 - PAL vs. Channel 4 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Gary Tooze and Ole Kofoed for the Screen Caps!

1) Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Cinema Club - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Channel 4 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

Distribution

Fox

Region 1 - NTSC

Cinema Club
Region 2 - PAL
Channel 4
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray
Runtime 2:21:40 2:16:08 (4% PAL speedup) 2:21:50.250
Video

1.84:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.80 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.82:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.98 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

Disc Size: 32,678,470,310 bytes

Feature Size: 29,385,537,984 bytes

Total Bitrate: 24.00 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

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

Bitrate:

 

Fox

 

Bitrate:

 

Cinema Club

 

Bitrate:

Blu-ray

Audio English - Dolby Digital 2.0

English - Dolby Digital 2.0

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles English, Spanish, none English for the hearing impaired or none. English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Fox

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.84:1

Edition Details:
• Trailer (1:53)
• Fox Flix trailer ads (5:43)

DVD Release Date: February 1st, 2005
Keepcase

Chapters 28

Release Information:
Studio: Cinema Club

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.82:1

Edition Details:
• Trailer (1:53)

 

DVD Release Date: August 16, 2001
Keepcase

Chapters 20

Release Information:
Studio:
Channel 4

 

1.85:1 Disc Size: 32,678,470,310 bytes

Feature Size: 29,385,537,984 bytes

Total Bitrate: 24.00 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

 

Edition Details:
A Sense of History (25:11)

• Mike Leigh on Secrets and Lies (5:12)

• Trailer (1:53)
 

Blu-ray Release Date: March 2nd, 2015
Thick (UK) Blu-ray case

Chapters 12

 

 

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Channel 4 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray March 15': The greens and blues on the SD turn passive and grey/earthy brown on the 1080P. I can't tell you what is more theatrically accurate, but the Blu-ray gains in detail, sharpness, and modest depth. Now, beside the Blu-ray, I think the greenish tinge of the Cinema Club DVD looks more prominent and is incorrect. The 1.85:1 Channel 4 BD looked quite good on my system - appearing more improved as the film rolls along. There is a bit of movement in the frame, generally, losing some information at the bottom. In the final tally, I think the higher resolution wins the presentation contest although it can look fairly 'light' at times.

Audio is transferred in a reasonably robust linear PCM 2.0 channel at 2304 kbps. There isn't much going on with the relatively passive soundstage - and everything is handled easily by the uncompressed. There is a score by Andrew Dickson (Leigh's Naked) that plays subtly in the background. Channel 4 include optional English subtitles on their region 'B'-locked Blu-ray disc.

Supplements include A Sense of History - a 1992 Mike Leigh short 26-minute comedy with the 23rd Earl of Leete (Jim Broadbent) sharing brief moments of his life, the truth behind his family estate and his particular glorious moment when he murdered his wife and his brother. We also get 5-minutes of Mike Leigh on Secrets and Lies and a trailer.

Great film, worthy of revisiting. The Blu-ray is priced right and the extras short adds value. Recommended!

***

ON THE DVD: Comparing this edition with the Cinema Club from the UK will reinforces that dissatisfaction with the colors of the Fox release. Side-by-side the Fox looks like it could be incorrect (note subtitle capture as prime example.) It is possible that the Cinema Club has had a touch of brightness boosting, but I see a it looking green - which is often the sign of a failing telecine machine. The Fox release is sharper. The rest is fairly identical - same audio, subtitle options and extras (a trailer). I guess you may choose on the basis of what is more important to you - color or sharpness. I am more disappointed in the Fox now that I was initially, but not enough to change. Many purchasers will get the least expensive release they can as neither seem worthy of the film yet.  

- Gary Tooze

 

 


Menus
(
Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Cinema Club - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)
 

 
 

 

Channel 4 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Cinema Club - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Channel 4 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

Subtitle sample


1) Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Cinema Club - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Channel 4 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Cinema Club - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Channel 4 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Cinema Club - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Channel 4 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Cinema Club - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Channel 4 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Cinema Club - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Channel 4 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Cinema Club - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Channel 4 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures


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Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras:

Blu-ray

 

Box Covers

Distribution

Fox

Region 1 - NTSC

Cinema Club
Region 2 - PAL
Channel 4
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray

 




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Gary Tooze

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