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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Je t'aime je t'aime [Blu-ray]

 

(Alain Resnais, 1968)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Les Productions Fox Europa

Video: Kino Lorber

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:34:55.690

Disc Size: 41,383,711,715 bytes

Feature Size: 27,704,844,288 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: November 10th, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio French 1942 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1942 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English, None

 

Extras:

• Audio interview with Alain Resnais (12:43)
Interview with Claude Rich (15:45)
The Meeting of Alain Resnais and Jacques Sternberg (20:31)
Trailer (3:37)
Booklet Essay by Jonathan Rosenbaum

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Je t'aime Je t'aime is a haunting tale of romantic obsession and time travel, a traumatic break-up caught in an endless loop. It is science fiction as only Alain Resnais ( Last Year at Marienbad ) could have made.


Claude Ridder (Claude Rich) is recovering from a failed suicide attempt after the collapse of his relationship with Catrine (Olga Georges-Picot). He is approached by an obscure scientific lab, who wants him to participate in the human trials of a new time travel device. The test will send him back one year s time, for one minute. But the machine goes haywire, and Ridder gets caught in a never-ending series of temporal leaps, re-living his tragic life out of sequence. His past is a nightmare he is trying to escape, and the only exit might be his own death.

***

In this provocative sci-fi drama from Alain Resnais, a man wakes up in a hospital after an attempted suicide. He has invented a time machine that has proven effective, but only transports the subject back in time for one minute. Upon his release, he gets his hands on the machine to go back to a time he fondly remembers spending with a woman he apparently has feelings about. The two stroll on the beach before she leaves for Scotland. He follows her, but tragedy ensues and it is not clear if he has killed her or if she died an accidental death. The time-machine angle of the film features a dreamlike series of flashbacks making it unclear if the action is presently unfolding or is merely a vague memory from the past.

 

 

The Film:

One of Resnais' most underrated explorations of the tone of time and memory. Claude Ridder (Rich), a failed suicide, is visited by two men who invite his cooperation in an experiment (already tried with a mouse) to project him into the past to see if he can recapture a moment of his life (since he has no wish to live, and therefore has no future, he is the perfect subject). Indifferently he agrees, is whisked through a suburban no man's land to a laboratory, and - accompanied by the mouse as an experienced travelling companion - sets off on his weird, fairytale trip through time, only to become hopelessly lost. As the scientists frantically try to trace their missing guinea-pig, fragments of his past surface momentarily, recurringly. Beautiful, tranquil, but increasingly menacing clues to a love affair with a girl he may or may not have killed. The fragments remain teasingly uncertain, just out of Ridder's grasp, but his feelings lead him inexorably back to the key moment of suicide; and in the present, Ridder's body - the body of a man projected into his death - is found in the laboratory grounds. On one level a witty sci-fi adventure, on another a poetic apprehension of man's helpless entrapment by time, the film is perfectly summed up by the extraordinary last shot of the mouse, still caged by the glass dome in which it has travelled, standing with its paws spread out against the glass in mute appeal.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

 

Je T'aime, Je T'aime opens on a formally conservative note—lanky red credits against a pitch-black background, with eerie choral music by Krzysztof Penderecki echoing behind it—and proceeds to rip it to shreds. Jacques Sternberg's screenplay snakes around thoughts, memories, and impulses as a means of revising them; it's not for nothing that the only piece of music in the film not by Penderecki is Thelonious Monk's “Misterioso,” itself a winding, cyclical parody of a basic set of piano scales. Resnais' title raises the question: If you say “I love you” twice in a row, what is the feedback between the two declarations? Can one negate the other in a vicious cycle?

Excerpt from Slant Magazine located HERE

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

Kino Lorber Blu-ray bring Resmais' masterful Je t'aime, Je t'aime to Blu-ray. So nice to see this film coming to 1080P.  It leans a little teal/steely blue/grey (more than I would like) but looks very consistent and crisp - almost brittle.  Detail is pleasing and there are instances of depth. It is in the original 1.66:1 - splashes of color (yellows, reds) show some richness. The source is clean - there are no marks, damage or speckles. Meticulous cinematography by Jean Boffety. This Blu-ray gave me a very watchable viewing that looks very strong in-motion.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1942 kbps (24-bit) in the original French language. For a science-fiction the effects are minimal and the transfer can export the film's requirements with relative ease. Notable is the unique score is by Krzysztof Penderecki (Children of Men, The Shining, Shutter Island, The Saragossa Manuscript) and, of course, Misterioso by Thelonious Monk. It all sounds superb - I wish there was an isolated track. Beautiful music. There are optional English subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

No commentary but Kino do a good job of adding some relevant supplements. We start with a 13-minute audio interview with Alain Resnais talking about Je t'aime je t'aime. Also included is a 16-minute interview with Claude Rich (Claude) sharing some memories of the production. We also get a curious featurette; a 20-minute piece entitled The Meeting of Alain Resnais and Jacques Sternberg, the Belgian writer of Je t'aime je t'aime (who passed away in 2006). There is also a trailer and the package has a liner notes leaflet with an excellent essay by Jonathan Rosenbaum.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Je t'aime je t'aime is a wonderful piece of cinema and I'm so glad I had the opportunity to see it... and in HD, too. Underrated? Absolutely. We have a film with expressive but restrained emotional response, human frailty but dense and purposely disconnected from its own momentum by a non-linear timeline - always keeping you in abeyance. I wouldn't have issue with calling this a masterpiece.  The Kino Lorber Blu-ray
package is an notable one - as exceptional a/v (max'ed out bitrate and 24-bit uncompressed audio) as the source would provide and some informative and revealing extras. Not for all tastes but those who appreciate the director we give it a very strong recommendation! 

Gary Tooze

October 23rd, 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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