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|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
(Denis Villeneuve, 2009)
Review by Gary Tooze and Colin Zavitz
Theatrical: Remstar Media Partners
Video:Alliance / BFI
Region: 'A' / 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:17:01.867 / 1:17:00.324
Disc Size: 38,450,536,205 bytes / 48,202,600,156 bytes
English: 17,069,568,000 bytes / French: 17,090,457,600 bytes
/ English: 20,297,518,656 bytes / French: 20,871,012,288 bytes
Video Bitrate: 24.49 Mbps / 28.07 Mbps
Chapters: 16 / 10
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: June 10th, 2014 / December 7th, 2020
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3136 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3136
kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 3115 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3115
kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48
Master Audio English 3024 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3024 kbps /
24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Master Audio French 3031 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3031 kbps /
24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
English (SDH), French, none
English (SDH) for English version, English (for French version), none
Extras (in French only - no subs):
• Ici Comme Ailleurs (5:07)
• Trailers (Sticky Fingers - 1:37, The Master Key - 1:51)
Polytechnique: Ce qu’il reste du 6 décembre
(2019, 51:48): made for the thirtieth anniversary of the Montréal massacre,
Judith Plamondon's documentary gives voice to the survivors and witnesses of the
event and is narrated by Karine Vanasse, actress and co-producer of
First Pressing: Illustrated booklet featuring foreword by Denis Villeneuve, reminiscences by actor Karine Vanasse, a new essay on the film by Jessica Kiang and a look at the career of Denis Villeneuve by Justine Smith.
Description: Based on the true events that occurred on December 6, 1989, at the Montreal’s Polytechnique School, the movie tells us about that specific day through the eyes of two students, Valérie and Jean-François, whose lives have been changed forever, when a young man entered the school with one idea in mind: kill himself and take with him as many women as possible.
Denis Villeneuve’s somber and meticulous “Polytechnique,” about
killings that took place more than 20 years ago at a Montreal technical
school, feels both shocking and dreadfully familiar. The way horror
erupts into the routines of an ordinary day, in drab, functional,
institutional spaces — we know this from news reports, from our own
imaginations and from movies like Gus Van Sant’s “Elephant,”
a film loosely based on the Columbine High School shootings that casts
an ambiguous shadow over “Polytechnique.”
Quebec's Denis Villeneuve (Maelström) doesn't attempt to answer the "why" question in Polytechnique, his skilfully devastating account of Dec. 6, 1989, when gunman Marc Lépine shot and killed 14 women at Montreal's École Polytechnique, also wounding 10 women and four men before taking his own life.
Nor do Villeneuve and screenwriter Jacques Davidts seek to make a grand statement about what it all means. They leave it to journalists and other so-called "experts" to try to explain how solitary madness applies to society at large.
Instead they show, with minimal speculation and admirable restraint, the horror of that awful day when the rage of one became the grief of many.Excerpt from The Toronto Star located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Firstly, There were two versions of the film produced, one in English and one in French. The director Denis Villeneuve hoped the film would enter into the English-Canadian market, as well as the American one.
Polytechnique came out on Blu-ray a while back but, looking closely, the film is transferred twice - once in an English option and separately in French. The film was shot at the same time with different takes and actors dialogue in both languages - neither are DUBs. These are different versions of the film also offering two versions of the critical moment when the massacre begins.
It is dual-layered with a reasonable bitrate. It is predictably clean and the 1080P provides a very pleasing HD presentation in the film's original black and white. I might have seen one or two slight instances of noise but it was never distracting. Pierre Gill's cinematography (extensive, well-thought out, pans and unique angles) does a great job adding a vérité, and disturbingly haunting feel. The video quality is adept - often rich and pleasing but I suspect it could have been better (crisper) - accentuating the contrast and adding more consistency to the grain textures - if it had a more robust bitrate. This Blu-ray does an acceptable, but not stellar, job in presenting the film.
BFI's Blu-ray release of Denis Villeneuve's "Polytechnique" features a slightly darker transfer, with stronger contrast, perhaps aided by the slightly higher bitrate for both versions of the film (French and English versions were shot concurrently with actors providing both languages in different takes).
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Alliance use a DTS-HD Master in 5.1 surround at a healthy 3136 kbps for both English and French versions (as well as lossy Dolby 5.1 options for both languages as well.) Audio quality is great with a supportive score by Benoît Charest - beautiful, haunting and contemplative - it works very well with the narrative. The gunfire effects are explosive and will rattle your home theater with their bomb-like depth. The film doesn't have a lot of dialogue but what I did see in the English version did not seem like a distracting out-of-synch DUB. There are optional English subtitles (sample above) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'.
For the English-language version we have the option of watching the film in either 5.1 24-bit DTS-HD Master audio or linear PCM 2.0 stereo. The same identical options are also available for the French version of the film (the two versions were shot concurrently). There are optional English subtitles for the French version of the film, as well as optional English subtitles for the hard-of-hearing over the English version. The linear PCM options are a nice addition that was lacking on the 2014 Blu-ray release. This is a Region 'B' Blu-ray from BFI.
Both supplements featurettes are in French (Quebecois) with no English subtitle or DUB option on the 2 extras. This is a drawback. Ici comme ailleurs is a TV clip from 1989 about the event. Enjeux - "Tuerie a l'ecole Polytechque - 10 ans apres runs 47-minutes and is from 1999 with some interviews with individuals about the horrific shooting. There are also two trailers for other Alliance productions.
The main bonus feature here is Judith Plamondon's 52-minute documentary "Polytechnique: Ce qu’il reste du 6 décembre". This solemn and thoughtful examination of the Polytechnique tragedy features interviews with survivors and witnesses, and is absolutely worth your time. The documentary was made for the thirtieth anniversary of the Montréal massacre. It is narrated by Karine Vanasse, actress and co-producer of Polytechnique. The only other feature on this disc is the film's trailer. The first pressing features an illustrated booklet featuring foreword by Denis Villeneuve, reminiscences by actor Karine Vanasse, a new essay on the film by Jessica Kiang and a look at the career of Denis Villeneuve by Justine Smith.
BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
"Polytechnique" is an honest depiction of a horrible tragedy, handling the serious and traumatic subject matter without being exploitative or insensitive. BFI is wise to include Judith Plamondon's documentary, "Polytechnique: Ce qu’il reste du 6 décembre", which helps to provide more context for the massacre and its survivors. Due to the violence against women, this is not an easy film to sit through, but an important one that is sadly just as relevant today, with school shootings and rampant misogyny still rearing its ugly head.
March 2nd, 2016