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Home Vision Entertainment presents
Un deux trois soleil (1993)

"One, two, three, freeze!"
- Victorine (Anouk Grinberg)

Review By: Matt Peterson   
Published: July 13, 2004

Stars: Anouk Grinberg, Marcello Mastroianni, Olivier Martinez
Director: Bertrand Blier

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (adult themes, sexuality, bizarre and disturbing situations)
Run Time: 01h:44m:43s
Release Date: July 13, 2004
UPC: 037429196427
Genre: foreign


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- D+B-B D

DVD Review

A schoolteacher walks down a dusty Marseilles road, trailed by a pack of children. This looks like a purse snatching waiting to happen, but the kids' motivations are certainly more carnal. They slink up to the unsuspecting teacher, who seems to have an attitude rooted in reality, while her students do not. The kids make suggestive remarks, expressing their desire to conquer the teacher in a most humiliating fashion. What am I watching here? A nightmare? Maybe. This is the reality of Blier's film—where society's conventions are left to the winds, and chaos of character and storytelling results.

Victorine is a child, then an adult, then a child again (each age is played by the same actress, Anouk Grinberg). This can be classified as a coming-of-age tale, but a decidedly disturbing one that simply defies classification. She has a mother who acts like a child, and is unable or unwilling to give proper parental attention. She has an adopted mother who is adept in African mystical healing. Her father (the memorable Marcello Mastroianni) is a drunk, and father to a seemingly endless chain of orphans or illegitimate children who glom on to him as he waddles through town. Throughout her journey, Victorine encounters what life can offer, including love, loss, violence, sexual advances, and even revenge.

Sound odd? You're right. Blier is trying to explore every facet of life in this incoherent tale. He certainly trying his hardest to be creative here, throwing all traces of conventional storytelling and character out the window. Adult characters act like children, sitting in classrooms with other children, Victorine acts like a 10-year-old in one scene, only to be followed by a scene of her making love to the oddly inserted Paulie (Olivier Martinez). These are strange juxtapositions that frankly made me confused and concerned about what age she was representing from moment to moment. I was constantly looking for a touchstone to indicate that her maturity matched what was being depicted. Other scenes cross the line. With lines like "I'm not nice. I'm in love," the script's attitude toward love takes on a possessive, controlling tone I felt was cruel.

The film is well photographed, containing colorful, creative cinematography. Musically, the film features an out-of-place, yet memorable Arabic pop soundtrack meant to comment on the melting pot that is modern France. Grinberg, who looks amazingly like Juliette Binoche, slides between ages with ease, though the sudden start-and-stop age changes makes for awkward transitions. She and Mastroianni have an undeniable screen presence, making their scenes tolerable. Characters come and go (and sometimes die and resurrect), but there are some interesting moments that work, such as an exchange between a poor boy and an old man, who encourages him to steal from his home—he wants to help those in poverty, announcing outside his door how much food he has, inviting normally unwelcome visitors.

Fellini certainly has imitators, but can anyone be as successful? Through a collection of disjointed vignettes that bounce between time and space, we are meant to glean some level of truth about human relations. There are clearly no inhibitions here, and those dirty thoughts many think but don't act on are suddenly played out, with odd and unsettling results. Inner dialogue becomes outer dialogue. Direct camera address is used. In the end, this creative attempt to show relationships and the continuum of growing up laid bare falls flat, decaying into a cold, misogynistic treatment of character. Perhaps, the farcical, almost whimsical nature of some scenes may appeal to the cinematically daring, but I felt this film does more harm than good.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: D+

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: The anamorphic 2.35:1 transfer shows good color and contrast, and appears to be slightly windowboxed. Minor jaggies consistent of a PAL to NTSC transfer are present, and the image has a somewhat digital look. Fine lines can look almost pixilated, showing some artifacting. Still, a decent image.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Frenchno


Audio Transfer Review: Audio is a serviceable Dolby 2.0 track, with clear dialogue, some decent fidelity, and no hiss.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu
Scene Access with 19 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Insert with an essay by Sue Harris
Extras Review: Extras contain a director's filmography and an insert with a retrospective essay on Blier by author Sue Harris.

Extras Grade: D

 

Final Comments

Blier's creative attempt to explore life and coming-of-age fails on many fronts. A disjointed flow, disturbing situations and a misogynistic treatment of character makes this a tough watch. Unless you feel daring, one, two, three, skip it.

 


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