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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Duke of Burgundy [Blu-ray]

 

(Peter Strickland, 2011)

 

Also available on Blu-ray by Shout! Factory in the US in September 2015:

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Rook Films

Video: Artificial Eye

 

Disc:

Region: 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:44:24.875 

Disc Size: 42,800,289,704 bytes

Feature Size: 28,909,334,976 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.88 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 27th, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3205 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3205 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Descriptive Audio:

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

 

Subtitles:

English (HoH), none

 

Extras:

Commentary by director Peter Strickland
Interview with Peter Strickland (11:34)
• 5 Stills Gallery
10 Deleted Scenes(45:28)
Trailer (1:56)

Cat's Eyes Promo (4:43)
Short Film Conduct Phase (7:55)
Mole Cricket Field Notes

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: In an unnamed European town, in an unspecified year, live Cynthia (Sidse Babett Knudsen - Borgen) and Evelyn (Chiara D'Anna - Berberian Sound Studio). Every day Evelyn cycles to Cynthia's mansion to work as a lowly maid and every day the cruel, vindictive Cynthia inflicts countless sadistic humiliations upon her. But as the days go by and the pair begin to reveal themselves, it soon becomes clear that the humiliation may not all be of Cynthia s design...

Startling, stylish and heady with atmosphere, The Duke of Burgundy is a dazzling exploration of romance, relationships and desire from the multi-award winning director of Berberian Sound Studio. Laden with wit and brimming with filmic references, it is one of the most remarkable films of the year and will doubtless leave you reeling.

 

 

The Film:

Sex, bondage, and butterflies: two women explore the extremes of carnal desire in this kinky, deliciously twisted tale of erotic obsession. In a crumbling European estate, butterfly researcher Cynthia (Sidse Babett Knudsen) and her lover Evelyn (Chiara D'Anna) repeatedly enact a sadomasochistic role-playing game, with Cynthia as the stern mistress and Evelyn her subservient sex slave. But as the lines between fantasy and reality begin to blur, and Cynthia grows increasingly uneasy with Evelyn's insatiable appetite for punishment, their relationship is pushed to the limit. Dripping with dreamlike imagery, Gothic atmosphere, and a lush chamber pop score by Cat's Eyes, this critically-acclaimed, darkly comic erotic fantasia is a seductive feast for the senses.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

With a title that makes it sound like an 18th-century costume drama—perhaps a cousin to Jacques Rivette’s recent Balzac adaptation, The Duchess Of Langeais—and a marketing campaign that sells it as kinky erotica, Peter Strickland’s The Duke Of Burgundy risks attracting exactly the wrong crowd. For one thing, there’s no duke in the movie. Indeed, there are no men at all, as Strickland has created a mysterious alternate universe in which only one gender apparently exists, and reproduction is irrelevant. For another, while the film’s central relationship involves sadomasochism, and its overripe imagery mimics softcore ’70s pictures by the likes of Jess Franco and Radley Metzger, viewers hoping for cheap thrills will come away sorely disappointed. Nobody even gets naked—which is clearly by design. The Duke Of Burgundy employs outré subject matter for a magnificently mundane purpose. At its core, this is one of the most incisive, penetrating, and empathetic films ever made about what it truly means to love another person, audaciously disguised as salacious midnight-movie fare. No better picture is likely to surface all year.

Excerpt from Mike D'Angelo at AV Club located HERE

 

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

The Duke of Burgundy looks extremely impressive on Blu-ray from Artificial Eye.  It's dual-layered with a decent bitrate for the 1 3/4 hour feature. Kudos should really go to cinematographer Nicholas D. Knowland and art director Renátó Cseh. It was supposedly shot with another Arri Alexa but it sure looked like film to me. The 1080P visuals are stunningly rich with brilliant contrast exhibiting deep black levels and some minor depth in the 2.35:1 frame.  It's pristinely clean showcasing some hi-def detail in the many close-ups. Not a hint of noise. This Blu-ray looks fabulous - almost demo-level. I haven't seen as crisp and image in a long while. Chiara D'Anna's camera charisma certainly added pleasing value.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The AE Blu-ray of The Duke of Burgundy offers a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at 3205 kbps or a linear PCM 2.0 channel stereo at 2304 kbps. It has subtle use of separation which sneaks around your home theatre in a soothing way. Occasional natural sounds and the score as Faris Badwan and Rachel Zeffira (as Cat's Eyes) supports the film's gentleness with a nice edgy feel. Nothing but positives here for the audio transfer as well - I used the surround for my viewing, but sampled the LPCM. Artificial Eye add an optional 'Descriptive Audio' track and there are English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

 

Extras :

There are some wonderful extras including a revealing feature-length commentary by director Peter Strickland discussing many important facets of the production. There is also a 12-minute interview with Strickland, 5 Stills Galleries, a trailer and a whopping 3/4 of an hour's worth of 10 deleted scenes that should satisfy the curious.

NOTE: I missed a 'Next Page' menu screen button in the Extras (Thanks James!) which has a 5-minute Cat's Eyes Promo piece with the music, an 8-minute short film entitled Conduct Phase regarding a dog and some text screens; 'Mole Cricket Field Notes'.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Odd, sexual, kinky, deep and certainly meaningful. The Duke of Burgundy is a fascinating film experience. I watched it almost a week ago and it has lingered. The Artificial Eye Blu-ray provides an excellent a/v presentation with a valuable commentary, the interview and deleted scenes. Plenty to recommend here. We strongly endorse... to the open minded. 

Gary Tooze

May 7th, 2015

Also available on Blu-ray by Shout! Factory in the US in September 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 5000 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.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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