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Clouds of Sils Maria [Blu-ray]
(Olivier Assayas, 2014)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: CG Cinéma
Video: Criterion Collection Spine #822
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 48,452,902,497 bytes
Feature Size: 35,241,498,624 bytes
Video Bitrate: 32.65 Mbps
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: June 28th, 2016
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3333 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3333 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
English (SDH), none
• Beyond Time, a new interview with director Olivier Assayas (37:46)
• Parallel Lives, a new program featuring actors Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart on their roles in the film
• Cloud Phenomena of Maloja, a silent 1924 documentary by Arnold Fanck that is seen in the film (10:24)
• Trailer (2:09)
• PLUS: An essay by critic Molly Haskell
Description: This multilayered, immensely entertaining drama from the great contemporary French director Olivier Assayas is a singular look at the intersection of high art and popular culture. The always extraordinary Juliette Binoche is stirring as Maria, a stage and screen icon who is being courted to star in a new production of the play that made her famous—only this time she must assume the role of the older woman. Kristen Stewart matches her punch for punch as her beleaguered assistant, called upon to provide support both professional and emotional for her mercurial boss. And Chloë Grace Moretz is Maria’s callow new castmate, a starlet waiting in the wings. An amorphous, soul-searching tale, filled with ethereal images of its Swiss Alps setting, Clouds of Sils Maria brilliantly dramatizes one woman’s reckoning with herself and the world.
Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart, and Chloë Grace Moretz light up this exhilarating, behind-the-scenes look at art, acting and aging from acclaimed director Olivier Assayas (Carlos). Maria Enders (Binoche) is a renowned actress at the peak of her career. But when she's cast opposite a young Hollywood starlet with a penchant for scandal (Moretz) in a new production of the play that first made her famous, Maria must come to terms with what it means to be a middle-aged actress in a youth-obsessed industry. Retreating high into the mountains with her personal assistant (a revelatory Stewart, first-ever American winner of a César acting award), Maria confronts her personal demons and prepares for the most important role of her life. Set amidst the scenic splendor of the Swiss Alps, Clouds of Sils Maria is propelled by tour-de-force performances from three actresses at the top of their game.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
In the superb French film “Clouds of Sils Maria,” Ms. Stewart
plays an ordinary American abroad, a new-age, pop-savvy Daisy Miller
who, with expressive intelligence that few blockbusters allow, makes a
passionate argument for the kinds of movies the actress herself is best
known for. Ms. Stewart has rightly won a lot of attention for her
performance (the French film industry rewarded her with its highest
honor, a César), but it would be a mistake to think of this as some sort
of career rescue mission.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Clouds of Sils Maria looks excellent on Blu-ray from Criterion and is cited as from a "2K digital master" and the film was shot with an Arricam LT. We can presume that this is an excellent replication of the film's theatrical appearance. Being modern it looks pristine without any marks or flaws on this dual-layered transfer with a very high bitrate. Colors are realistic and some of the outdoor scenery sequences are extremely impressive.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround sounds strong but not challenged by the film's requirements. There are not a lot of separations. Many will notice Handel's Sonata No. 2 in D Minor and Pachelbel's Canon in D. There are optional English subtitles (and mandatory English subtitles for the non-English dialogue - see sample) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A' disc.
Beyond Time, a new interview with director Olivier Assayas running 38-minutes. Writer and director Olivier Assayas created the part of Maria Enders in Clouds of Sils Maria for Juliette Binoche at the actor's request - she wanted to work with him again after their collaboration on Summer Hours. In april 2015, Assayas sat down with Criterion in Paris to discuss the project. Parallel Lives, is a new program featuring actors Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart on their roles in the film. In these interviews, conducted by Criterion in Paris and New York City in 2015, actors Binoche and Stewart reflect on their work with director Assayas and taking on the roles of Maria and Valentine in Clouds of Sils Maria. Cloud Phenomena of Maloja, is a silent, 10-minute, 1924 documentary by Arnold Fanck that is seen in the film. It is accompanied by a score by the Sardinian jazz trumpet player Paolo Fresu, recorded during a live performance at the Festival della Montagna in Cuneo, Italy, in 2010. There is also a trailer and the package has liner notes with an essay by critic Molly Haskell.
June 4th, 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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