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Home Vision Entertainment presents
Rendez-vous (1985)

"The nights I've slept alone since I came to Paris I could count on the fingers of one hand."
- Nina (Juliette Binoche)

Review By: Matt Peterson   
Published: February 14, 2005

Stars: Juliette Binoche, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Wadeck Stanczak, Lambert Wilson
Director: André Téchiné

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (strong sexuality/nudity, some language)
Run Time: 01h:23m:00s
Release Date: February 15, 2005
UPC: 037429204320
Genre: foreign

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

Nina (Juliette Binoche) is a struggling young actress. Recently relocated to the streets of Paris, she has landed roles as chambermaids and other bit parts that give her pitifully small scenes. Her on-stage abilities don't suggest she deserves much more, but her ambition to find her big break is apparent. Still, she seems patient, and is content to let things happen as they may. Her current strife is more immediate, however; a stunning beauty, Nina is just discovering the complexities of love and lust. Most of her suitors are more interested in the latter, wanting to satisfy their carnal desires with Nina without the cumbersome emotional attachments. All this groping and chasing has left Nina cold; what is love to her? Just sex?

Looking for a new apartment, Nina meets Paulot (Wadeck Stanczak), a mild-mannered real estate clerk who is immediately infatuated with the stunning girl. He is not like her other animalistic predators, though, looking instead for a tender relationship, not quick a roll in the hay. Nevertheless, Nina proves frustrating for the young boy scout; she frequently sleeps with other men who have far fewer positive attributes, including his cruel and manipulative roommate, Quentin (Lambert Wilson). An unknown tragedy has struck Quentin, resulting in a dark transformation of his intense character, but Nina cannot resist his advances.

Paulot's frustration is exacerbated when an older director, Scrutzler (Jean-Louis Trintignant), casts Nina as Juliet in Shakespeare's play, seemingly bartering for her affections. Scrutzler too has deep connections with Quentin, whose acting talents attracted his attention long ago. These details are a mystery to the young real estate clerk. Infatuation turns to bitter obsession, and Paulot's life is turned upside down. When death's knock is heard once more, Nina must deal with the ghosts of her past suitors, comprehend the power of her charms, and decipher the nature of true love. How long will Paulot be willing to wait?

Rendez-vous is compelling, exploring themes of love, loss, and the complications that come from being an attractive woman. Who is out for true love, and who is not? How can one tell the difference? Is life nothing more than a play? These questions are the focus of this tale, marvelously explored by Juliette Binoche. Her powerful, sexually electric performance does not suggest this was her first major screen role. A stunning debut for any actor, her future success was assured. Other performances are worthwhile, especially Jean-Louis Trintignant's subtly complex Scrutzler, but none shine as brightly as Binoche.

André Téchiné's (who won best director at Cannes) lyrical film is astutely directed, utilizing some skilled camera moves to reveal the facets of this romantic mystery. Taking a few pages from the stage, Rendez-vous occasionally gets bogged down in some hallucinatory stylistic devices that don't quite work. At times, one wonders why Nina's character would be so attracted to some of the rather creepy characters in this film, but what can one say about love (or at least lust)? This is by no means a great film, but a solid romantic thriller that solidifies Binoche as a true talent.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Home Vision's anamorphic 2.35:1 transfer is good, but is quite soft throughout, depriving the image of some fine detail. Colors are rather drab and subdued, and grain is evident. This is still a relatively clean, stable transfer with no distracting digital enhancement issues.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: The monaural French audio is clean and clear, showcasing the film's sweeping musical score, reminiscent of Barber's Adagio.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 14 cues
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Insert with an essay by Brian McFarlane
Extras Review: The only extras are the theatrical trailer and an insert with an essay by author and critic Brian McFarlane. The disc comes in a white Amaray keepcase.

Extras Grade: D


Final Comments

André Téchiné's examination of love and loss, reality and fantasy is effective, elevated by Juliette Binoche's impressive debut. Despite some tired theatrical devices, this is a solid outing with a decent quality presentation by Home Vision.


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