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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Et maintenant nous sommes en vie" )

 

directed by Thibault Arbre
France/Belgium 2015

 

As is tradition in NOW WE'RE ALIVE's depopulated world of muted colors and symmetrical compositions, Tom (Charles Lemaire) on his twenty-fifth birthday must chose the love of his life - from among a selection of women also turning twenty-five that day - by her voice alone and then must go out into the world and find her within thirty days. The task gets daunting day by day, and Tom eventually resorts to paying counselor Christian (Fabian Richard), a solitary individual who has a knack for helping clients find their "soul voice." When Tom closes his eyes, he finds that he is able to visualize her and draws her likeness. He takes to the streets with "missing soul voice" posters and even tries to find her by going to the police and reporting her as his mugger. As the deadline draws near, Tom descends into hopelessness and begins to believe claims by other searchers that the notion of a "soul voice" is a scam and he should pounce before all he is left with are the ugly ones. His father (Alexis Desseaux, VALMONT) then reveals that if he is unable to find his "soul voice" after thirty days, she comes to him, and that the experience was a lesson in desire and patience. When his "soul voice" is revealed as Lea (Laure Haulet), she looks nothing like the way she did in his mind and he rejects her. After much coercion from his father (who was present when he chose her and swears that he did indeed choose Lea) and pressure from Lea's family, Tom apologizes to Lea and marries her (knowing that neither can marry again if they break up); yet, when Tom closes his eyes in Lea's presence, he sees the other girl who tells him her name is Jeanne (Victoria Oberli). Rather than getting to know Lea, Tom instead tries to discover more about Jeanne and where she is, but she is unable to remember vital details. As Lea doubts his interest in her (he feigns an eye infection to explain to her, his parents, and her family why he keeps his eyes closed in their presence), Tom does not return to work and instead starts trying to track down the other possible "soul voices" (the birth registry is not published until a year after the birthdays of all parties). Discovering that counselor Christian is also alone because he became convinced that his partner was not really the one he chose, Tom has no doubt that Jeanne is out there somewhere but he may be pursuing an impossible ideal that even Jeanne may not be able to live up to if she even exists.

Imaginative, mentally stimulating, and ultimately moving piece of French magic realism nearly alienates its viewer with a first act that is deliberately-paced following a blandly-handsome protagonist who threatens to alienate the viewer with behavior that should be romantically-obsessive but comes across as immature and churlish. The film is shot in desaturated colors and has a perpetually overcast and dull look that becomes monotonous, and even the internal sequences with Jeanne are lacking life with an unnatural greenish lighting and overall tinge that saps any sense of vitality these moments should bring to the film. The film's twist refreshingly does not take things into horror film territory, and instead reveals the extraordinary things possible with the power of love in this film's world with an ending that is irrational yet satisfying rather than delusional or escapist.

Eric Cotenas

Poster

Theatrical Release: 23 September 2016 (USA)

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DVD Review:  - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

 

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:36:21
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.25 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio French Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English (burnt-in)
Features Release Information:
Studio:

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
� Director's Intro (16:9; 2:46)
� Photo Gallery (16:9; 5:41)
� Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:50)
� Previews

DVD Release Date: September 27th, 2016
Amaray

Chapters 10

 

 

 

Comments

Typical offering from Cinema Libre, mid-range bitrate that does not take full advantage of the space on a DVD5, serviceable transfer, burnt-in subtitles, and stereo audio (even though press release states 5.1 surround). The dullness of the image is primarily that of the cinematography rather than the transfer or encode. Extras are few but the short director's introduction is reasonably informative about the director's preferences and concept for the film. Also included are trailers for the previously-reviewed FRENCH AFFAIRS and THE LITTLE BEDROOM.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

 

Region 0 - NTSC

 




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