09/16/2014  
Found on DVD Sep 23Beyond Borders & Faces of Israel on DVD in SeptemberAfter on DVD Sep 23Transformers: Age of Extinction on DVD & Blu-ray Sep 30The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Seventh SeasonThe Fed Up Back-to-School Challenge - No Sugar for 10 DaysSnowpiercer on Blu-ray & DVD Oct 21

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Robin Thicke was "high on Vicodin and alcohol" while re...
TV review: 'The View' adds new faces, keeps old look...
Found on DVD Sep 23...
Box Office Charts From Yahoo! Movies Sep 11 - 13...
Beyond Borders & Faces of Israel on DVD in September...

JB Joseph Burke

The Answer to American Idol's Problems Is......
CONCRETE BLONDES...
CREAM FAREWELL CONCERT...
JACK REACHER...
MANBORG...

CA Chuck Aliaga

CORRUPTION (BLU-RAY)...
THE ATTACK (BLU-RAY)...
TANK GIRL (BLU-RAY)...
HORROR STORIES...
THE UNINVITED (BLU-RAY)...

RR Rich Rosell

THE GIRL...
THE HORDE...
LIFE IS SWEET (BLU-RAY)...
SHOUT AT THE DEVIL (BLU-RAY/DVD COMBO)...
THE BLUE ANGEL (BLU-RAY)...

MZ Mark Zimmer

BABY PEGGY: THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM...
STORAGE WARS: VOLUME THREE...
Take Part in a Film Restoration...
THE 39 STEPS (BLU-RAY)...
DARK SHADOWS: THE BEST OF BARNABAS...

JS Jesse Shanks

2 BROKE GIRLS...
DOWNTON ABBEY SEASONS ONE & TWO LIMITED EDITION...
FLORENCE AND THE SPIRIT OF THE RENAISSANCE...
NAZI COLLABORATORS...
KATT WILLIAMS: KATTPACALYPSE...

RJ Ross Johnson

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP (BLU-RAY)...
PURPLE NOON (BLU-RAY)...
WEEKEND (BLU-RAY)...
JUAN OF THE DEAD...
THE DEVIL'S NEEDLE AND OTHER TALES OF VICE AND REDEMPTI...

JD Jon Danziger

SUNSET BOULEVARD...
SALO, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM...
TABLOID...
CUL-DE-SAC...
3 WOMEN...

JC Joel Cunningham

YOJIMBO/SANJURO...
SUMMER HOURS (L'heure d'ÈtÈ)...
WIZARD OF OZ...
WINGS OF DESIRE...
HORTON HEARS A WHO!...

DH Dan Heaton

REVANCHE...
LAST DAYS OF DISCO...
NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS...
STARGATE SG-1: CHILDREN OF THE GODS...
STARGATE ATLANTIS: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON...

MS Matt Serafini

THE STEPFATHER...
THE HILLS RUN RED...
MANAGEMENT...
NIGHT OF DEATH...
GNAW...

KC Kevin Clemons

Freddy Got Fingered...

JU Jeff Ulmer

Secure The Second Season of The Border on DVD August 25...
THE WALTONS: THE COMPLETE 9TH SEASON...
Dance Me Outside kicks onto DVD May 6, 2008...

DD Dale Dobson

Film-Fest 4: Sundance 2000 & Hawaii...

RM Robert Mandel

Saving Private Ryan...

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Belle époque (1992)

"Love brings pain, but you had a good time."
- Rocio (Maribel Verdú)

Review By: Jon Danziger  
Published: May 25, 2003

Stars: Penélope Cruz, Jorge Sanz, Miriam Diaz Aroca, Fernando Fernán Gómez, Ariadna Gil, Gabino Diego, Mary Carmen Ramírez, Maribel Verdú
Director: Fernando Trueba

MPAA Rating: R for sexuality and language
Run Time: 01h:49m:26s
Release Date: May 20, 2003
UPC: 043396793798
Genre: foreign


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- BA-B+ B-

DVD Review

"Belle époque is about the best things in life: friendship, sex and food." -director Fernando Trueba, from the commentary track

Trueba sure has figured something out, and his film demonstrates that living la dolce vita isn't the exclusive province of Italians. This movie won as Oscar®, for Best Foreign Film, in 1993, beating out such worthy competition as Farewell, My Concubine; Trueba's film may not be a profound meditation, but it's a breezy and very attractive way to pass the time.

Spain, 1931, at the height of the revolution: Fernando (Jorge Sanz), a young seminarian, has been pressed into military service, and when we meet him, he's gone AWOL. He's rousted out by two buffoonish MPs, who handcuff him and then promptly both are killed in a heated argument between them. (The older is the father-in-law of the younger, to boot.) Now Fernando is on his own, and seeks refuge in the local whorehouse, where he befriends Don Manolo (Fernando Fernán Gómez), elder gentleman of the town. Manolo looks after the young soldier, who cooks elaborate and delicious meals for his benefactor, before he can get onto the next train back to Madrid.

Don Manolo takes his young friend to the train station, where he's picking up as well as dropping off: his four fair young daughters are coming for a visit with their lonely father. Fernando gets a look at the girls, and lo and behold, conveniently fails to adhere to his travel schedule. (As Don Manolo says: "He missed his train when he got a whiff of my daughters.")

The bulk of the movie is about the relationships between Fernando and the four women: there's Violeta (Ariadna Gil), a lesbian; Amalia (Mary Carmen Ramírez), a young widow; Rocio (Mirabel Verdú, perhaps better known now for her leading role in Y tu mamá también), who is being courted by Juanito (Gabino Diego), the richest and dorkiest boy in town; and sweet virginal Luz, played by a very young Penélope Cruz. Each of the four, in their way, find Fernando irresistible, and he's got room on his dance card for each of them, in turn.

In some respect, the setup of the film is like a dirty joke about the farmer's daughters, or is like the premise of a porn film or a Penthouse Forum entry: the young stud on the run with the four sisters each ready to jump his bones. But the film's charms are bountiful, with the photogenic young cast supported by some first-rate moviemaking, and if the picture is not revelatory, it is always entertaining.

There's just a dollop of political content here, and I admit to knowing mighty little about 1930s Spanish politics; a crash course in Franco and his time might be called for if you want to savor some of the broader nuances of the piece. But Sanz is especially good as Fernando, and even better is Fernando Fernán Gómez as Don Manolo, sorry to be losing a friend to the undeniable allure of his progeny. And from an outsider's perspective, it all does feel very Spanish, with much discussion of the fates of our immortal souls peppered between tempting plates of paella (you can almost smell the saffron) and Fernando's careful unbuttoning of the women's garters. If you can pass this up, you're a more self-denying soul than I.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The anamorphic transfer looks luminous, if a little gauzy; that may well be the intended effect of the filmmakers, but sometimes it seems as if some Vaseline was spread on the lens. Still, the transfer looks fine, with only the occasional scratch.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Spanish, Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The original Castilian track sounds pretty clean, though a little bit of popping can be made out from time to time. One of the pleasures of the film is hearing the rolling cadences of the language, but if you're deeply averse to reading subtitles, the English-language dub track is a workmanlike substitute.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Sense and Sensibility, All About My Mother, The Age of Innocence
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Fernando Trueba
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The director obviously thinks of this project as a highlight of his career, and speaks of it with tremendous fondness on the commentary track. Earning particular praise are Rafael Azcona, Trueba's writing partner and one of the brightest lights of Spanish cinema (they wrote the script each day over lunch at a favorite restaurant in Madrid, no doubt accounting for the importance of food in the film), and composer Antoine Duhamel, veteran of the nouvelle vague, whose credits also include Pierrot le fou and Domicile conjugal. He also cites Renoir's Une partie de campagne as a particular inspiration for his work here.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

Belle époque is smart and sexy without being overly ambitious or graphic, and looks pretty great on this disc. Vamanos!

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

television, the view, abc, rosie o'donnell, nicolle wallace, rosie perez, kristen chenoweth, whoopi goldberg, music, robin thick, vicodin, alcohol, blurred lines, paula patton, paula, horror, movies, box office, drama, foreign, movie, dolphin tale 2, harry connick jr., winter, nathan gamble, cozi zuehlsdorff, kris kristofferson, ashley judd, morgan freeman, saturday night live, weekend update, michael che, cecily strong, colin jost, sasheer zamata, action, u2, songs of innocence, worldwide giveaway, itunes store, bono, joey ramone, raised by wolves, comedy, documentary, series, sons of anarchy, charlie hunnam, danny trejo, theo rossi, katey sagal, nicki minaj, new york fashion, alexander wang, anaconda, i saw the light, hank williams, tom hiddleston, shelton hank williams iii, move it on over, wheatland music festival, adventure, marvel, guardians of the galaxy, sci-fi, fantasy, superheros, celebrity, joan rivers, the tonight show, johnny carson, atlantic city, edgar rosenberg, 2010 documentary, joan rivers: piece of work, daytime talk, hack attack, rupert murdoch, news of the world, good night and good luck, sony pictures entertainment, reality, dancing with the stars, janel parrish, jonathan bennett, sadie robertson, lea thompson, lolo jones, zoe saldano, rocket racoon, bradley cooper, chris pratt, vin diesel, biography, history

On Kindle!
On Facbook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

earth mosaics

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

DVD Marketplace

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact