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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Jane B. Par Agnès V. / Kung-Fu Master! (aka "Le petit amour") [Blu-ray]

 

(Agnès Varda, 1988)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Ciné Tamaris

Video: CineliciousPics

 

Discs:

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

Jane B. Par Agnès V. Disc Size: 32,525,200,012 bytes

Kung-Fu Master! Disc Size: 32,186,013,808 bytes

Jane B. Par Agnès V. Runtime: 1:38:51.375   

Kung-Fu Master! Runtime: 1:20:09.250

Jane B. Par Agnès V. Size: 25,849,430,016 bytes

Kung-Fu Master! Size: 24,092,540,928 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.99 - 34.99 Mbps

Chapters: 15 / 11

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: March 8th, 2016

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080P / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio (both):

DTS-HD Master Audio French 1063 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1063 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 1826 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1826 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English, None

 

Extras:

New Interviews with Director Agnès Varda (JBPAV - 21:41, KFM - 25:54)
• Trailers (1:25 + 2:07)

• 16-page liner notes booklet with new essay by Sandy Flitterman-Lewis and text interview with Agnès Varda by Miranda July

 

Bitrates:

Jane B. Par Agnès V.

 

 

Kung-Fu Master!

 

 

Description: JANE B. PAR AGNES V.: “ I’ll look at you, but not at the camera. It could be a trap ”, whispers Jane Birkin shyly into Agnès Varda’s ear at the start of JANE B. PAR AGNES V. The director of CLEO FROM 5 TO 7 and VAGABOND once again paints a portrait of a woman, this time in a marvelously Expressionistic way. “ It’s like an imaginary bio-pic,” says Varda. Jane, of course, is the famed singer (“ Je t’aime … Moi non plus ”), actress (BLOW UP), fashion icon (the Hermes Birkin bag) and longtime muse to Serge Gainsbourg. As Varda implies, JANE B. PAR AGNÈS V. abandons the traditional bio-pic format, favoring instead a freewheeling mix of gorgeous and unexpected fantasy sequences.

In each, Jane inhabits a new character, playing a cat & mouse game with Varda as they explore the role of the Muse and the Artist, all the while showcasing the multifaceted nature of Birkin’s talent. “ I’d like to be filmed as if I were transparent, anonymous, like everyone else, ” says Birkin. But her wish to be a “ famous nobody ” is impossible to achieve; Birkin is simply too magnificent, too mesmerizing. Here, Varda’s signature mix of aesthetic innovation and generosity of emotion results in a surreal and captivating essay on Art, Fame, Love, Children and Staircases. For its first-ever U.S. theatrical release the film has been newly-restored from the original 35mm camera negative, overseen by director Varda herself.

 


KUNG FU MASTER!: A lovely, bittersweet companion to JANE B. PAR AGNÈS V. from director Agnes Varda and star/muse Jane Birkin, KUNG-FU MASTER has nothing to do with martial arts – the film’s title comes from an arcade video game played obsessively in the film by a teenaged boy, Julien. Birkin delivers one of her finest performances as a lonely 40-year old woman who finds herself shattering taboos by falling in love with the 14-year old Julien – but is it romance, or a desperate attempt to turn back time in the face of middle age?

KUNG-FU MASTER! is truly a family affair: Varda’s son with the late director Jacques Demy, Mathieu Demy, plays Julien – and Birkin appears here with her two real-life daughters: Charlotte Gainsbourg (from Lars von Trier’s MELANCHOLIA) and Lou Doillon, her child with well-known filmmaker Jacques Doillon. Briefly released in the late 1980s in the U.S. and long unavailable here, KUNG-FU MASTER! has been beautifully restored from the original 35mm camera negative. “ It’s a film in which all the younger actors are the children of the director and lead actress ”, says Varda. “ It was like a picnic, you know?

 

 

 

The Films:

Jane B. Par Agnès V.: Jane B. is London-born actress and recording star Jane Birkin. Agnes V. is Belgian filmmaker and "grandmother of the New Wave" Agnes Varda. Jane B. Par Agnes V is a cinematic recounting of Birkin's career, from her breakthrough appearance as one of the nude models in Blow-Up to her pinnacle as star of such films as La Femme de Ma Vie (1986). It is also the story of Birkin and Varda's close relationship, made stronger by their mutual admiration and their lifelong fascination with feminist themes. Viewers who prefer straightforward, objective documentaries rather than radicalized film techniques, may not appreciate Jane B. par Agnes V.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Kung-Fu Master! aka Le petit amour: The film was written by Ms. Varda, based on a story by Ms. Birkin, who plays Mary Jane, the mother of two daughters, Lucy and Lou. For reasons she never bothers to question, Mary Jane falls for Lucy's schoolmate Julien, a delicate-faced boy who spends his days trying to win the video game called Kung Fu Master.

Julien does not evoke sexual desire in Mary Jane so much as he drags up traces of adolescent obsession. She drives her car to Lucy's school, hoping to run into her new infatuation, and stalks the neighborhood looking for video arcades where they can rendezvous. He, meanwhile, asks her to meet him in a hotel bar to celebrate a special occasion - he has just had the braces removed from his teeth.

Excerpt from the NY Timese located HERE

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

Jane B. Par Agnès V. / Kung-Fu Master! come to a package of 2 Blu-rays from CineliciousPics and are from Cine Tamaris' 2014 2K restorations. Both are 1080P in the original 1.66:1 aspect ratio from the original 35mm camera negative, overseen by director Varda herself. This Blu-ray image is a solid replication of the original source and they look impressive. But there are a few inconsistencies in Jane B. but they are limited and far in-between. They are a shade thin, pleasing detail, vibrant colors, excellent grain textures and even some desirable depth. In short, with high bitrate transfers, the restorations look excellent.

 

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

 

Jane B. Par Agnès V.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kung-Fu Master!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Both films offer DTS-HD Master mono or 2.0 channel tracks in original French (24-bit.) It is not surprising that there is not much in the way of effects but Kung-Fu Master! has a score by Joanna Bruzdowicz - who has done work in many Varda films including Vagabond and The Gleaners & I. Jane B. has snippets of The Doors, Monteverdi, The Yardbirds, Serge Gainsbourg, Cole Porter and others. It all sounds quite appealing with consistent and clear dialgue. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked disc as confirmed by the back cover.

 

Extras :

CineliciousPics add extras to this 2 Blu-ray package. Each disc has a new interview with Agnès Varda discussing the respective production. It's about 48-minutes total running time, for both, in English. There are also 2015 trailers and the package has a 16-page liner notes booklet with new essay by Sandy Flitterman-Lewis and text interview with Varda by Miranda July (Me and You and Everyone We Know.)

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I really enjoyed both Jane B. Par Agnès V. and Kung-Fu Master! - the latter the most (shades of Beau Pere) but found value in Jane B. as well. It's an interesting box celebrating these recent 2K restorations and, geneally, looking quite impressive. The CineliciousPics Blu-ray package gave me films I had not seen before and ones that evoked very different reactions. I actually feel like watching Blow-Up tonight - Birkin has an unusually strong relationship with the camera. This is a fabulous release. I was so surprised at how much I liked the presentations. Great job CineliciousPics! This is a keeper and is highly recommended!  

Gary Tooze

February 29th, 2016

 

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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