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Life of Riley aka "Aimer, boire et chanter" [Blu-ray]
(Alain Resnais, 2014)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: F Comme Film
Video: Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Spine #115
Region: 'B'-locked (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 44,231,038,249 bytes
Feature Size: 35,219,267,520 bytes
Video Bitrate: 35.61 Mbps
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: May 25th, 2015
Aspect ratio: 2.4:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio French 3397 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3397 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
LPCM Audio French 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
• New and exclusive video interview about the film with
critic and scholar Geoffrey O'Brien (15:32)
Description: Alain Resnais's (Last
Year at Marienbad,
Hiroshima mon amour) final film before his death in
March 2014 is a moving, graceful, and surprisingly
affirmative farewell to life from a truly great artist.
In photographs taken close to the time Alain Resnais was to present his “Life of Riley” (its French title is “Aimer, boire, et chante,” that is, “Love, Drink, and Sing,” but the English title matches that of its source, a work by British playwright Alan Ayckbourn) at the 2014 Berlin International Film Festival last February, the venerated director hardly looked like a man who’d made his final movie. But Resnais went on to his final reward in June, which casts a retrospective shadow on the movie and places it in a context we can’t be sure he intended. For “Life of Riley” is about a man who is dying, a man who’s never seen on screen. Set, as Ayckburn’s play is, in the countryside of England, and enacted by characters who read British newspapers and drive in cars with right-hand-side steering wheels nevertheless speaking in French, “Life of Riley” features six characters not in search of an auteur but preoccupied with the impending death of an old pal, the title character.
In the tradition of many of Alain Resnais's films, Life of Riley follows characters who attempt to explicate their lives through art, only to find the art in question to be a slippery portal into introspective chaos. It's essentially a comedy, as the existential terror that informed politically and morally unnerving films like Last Year at Marienbad and Muriel gradually evolved, over the years, into a kind of authorial wryness that affectionately reveled in characters' simultaneous (and largely implicative) gestures of defeat and forgiveness. The surprisingly deep comic generosity of the great director's late films springs from a notion of looking oneself in the metaphoric mirror and, finally, being old and settled enough to see that face for what it was and is: the form of an everyday person beholden to the petty trivialities that grip almost all of us who're lucky enough to live in some incarnation of the first world.Excerpt from Slant Magazine located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Life of Riley looks gorgeous on Blu-ray from The Masters of Cinema in the UK. Shot with the Arri Alexa the image quality showcases a tight, defined presence and colors are bright - bordering on vibrant. I don't own the Region 'A' Kino Lorber version but suspect it may be less robust but exporting similar impressive visuals. The transfer is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate producing an image that has frequent depth and no untoward gloss. The 1080P at around 2.4:1 looks exquisite with a few touches of animation adding to the film's pleasurable flavor. This Blu-ray has done its job and then some and the HD video gets very high marks.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Masters of Cinema transfer the audio via a robust DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at 3397 kbps in the original French-language and it easily handles the film's sound requirements. There are a few effects and the score by Mark Snow, export some crispness and depth, when needed. Like the video the audio is perfect sounding appropriately gentle or rich as requested. Nothing but praise. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.
Masters of Cinema supplement their Blu-ray package with a new and exclusive 1/4 hour video interview about the film with critic and scholar Geoffrey O'Brien providing educational and interesting information. We also get 15-minutes of interviews with the cast from TV in French with English subtitles, and a trailer. They include one of their notable liner notes booklets featuring a new essay by critic Cristina Álvarez López; a new note on his collaborations with Alain Resnais by playwright Alan Ayckbourn; and production imagery.
May 11th, 2015
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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