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Home Vision Entertainment presents
More (1969)

"How can you pass up a new experience?"
- Estelle (Mimsy Farmer)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: April 07, 2005

Stars: Mimsy Farmer, Klaus Grünberg
Other Stars: Heinz Engelmann, Michel Chanderli, Louise Link
Director: Barbet Schroeder

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (Nudity, sexuality, explicit drug use, language)
Run Time: 01h:55m:55s
Release Date: April 05, 2005
UPC: 037429174623
Genre: cult


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B BBA C-

DVD Review

Like its successor, La Vallee, More first came to my attention in the 1970s through its excellent Pink Floyd soundtrack, which contains a number of memorable songs including Cirrus Minor, The Nile Song, and Cymbaline, but until this DVD release, I had never seen these in context due to the extreme scarcity of the film on home video. Unlike La Vallee, the music is far more prominent here, but does share the same differences between the album release and the arrangements in film.

Marking his directorial debut after years in the company of the stars of French cinema's new wave, Iranian-born Barbet Schroeder's 1969 More paints a portrait of the late 1960s counter-culture, one of free spirits, free love, and experimenting with whatever drugs were available. The utopia many were seeking ran into a fatal flaw—human falibility—and many found themselves in over their heads due to their own insecurities and reliance on substances to cope with reality.

More finds Stefan (Klaus Grünberg), a German college graduate, en route to Paris, where, like many young adults of the era, he hopes to "find himself." Destitute, he hooks up with Charlie (Michel Chanderli), a small-time hustler who takes him to a party. There, Stephan meets American expatriot Estelle (Mimsy Farmer), but Charlie warns him to stay away due to her reputation for destroying men. Failing to heed the advice, Stefan falls for the girl, who introduces him to the world of drugs through marijuana, and reveals to him that she used to be a heroin user. After a night together, she informs him that she is leaving for Ibiza, and that he is free to join her. Stefan has no money, so he pulls off a robbery to fund his trip. Upon his arrival in Ibiza a few days later, Estelle is nowhere to be found, and even the man he was told to contact, an ex-Nazi named Dr. Wolf (Heinz Engelmann), is unaware of her whereabouts. When she finally shows up, she is cold and distant, but the two take off together to a secluded part of the island and indulge in the summer enjoyments of nude sunbathing, sex, and recreational drug use. The fun begins to fade, however, when Stefan discovers Estelle's heroin use, insisting she get rid of it. She in turn convinces Stefan to try it, just once...

Delineating Stefan's immersion in the drug culture escalating from his first experiences, the film could be a banner for the "Just Say No" campaign; but like many of his later films that deal with subcultures, Schroeder takes a dispassionate view, neither condoning nor condemning his subject. More is a study of dependence, and an observation of personal weakness and self-destruction. Stefan is reliant on undependable people and eventually substances to fill his needs, while Estelle knowingly and willingly facilitates him. Neither lead character is particularly likeable; Stefan is often abusive, while Estelle's flighty self-centeredness makes her equally unattractive. Their journey through a myriad of intoxicants is predictable, yet intriguing, although the performances are a little on the weak side.

Not surprisingly, the film has a very European feel to it. The tone is fairly light given the subject matter, but there is an element of drama and darkness at play as well. Although the cultural influence is present in the dialogue, the style forgoes the psychedelic angle in favor of a more detached perspective. The rugged and scenic beauty of Ibiza is captured by Academy Award-winning cinematographer, Néstor Almendros, in his fourth film, capturing the sun-drenched island with his trademark use of natural light. Heavily edited upon its release due to a number of graphic drug preparation and usage sequences, these areas have been restored, which may not sit well with some audiences. While by no means a perfect film, it is better than I had expected, and for those Floyd fans like myself who may not have seen it until now, this should be a treat.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.55:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: More is presented in a nonanamorphic 1.55:1 transfer. The image quality is generally quite good, the source is relatively free of defects, color saturation is punchy without being excessive, and black levels are strong. There are a number of subtle compression related artifacts, most noteably I-frame updates, which affect areas with fields of color and backgrounds. There are a few places where contrast is a little harsh, but this probably originates in the original film, since they occur in very bright outdoor sequences. All things considered this is a very reasonable presentation.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish/Multiligualno


Audio Transfer Review: Multilingual mono audio is well presented, and I would attribute any deficiencies to the source material. Clarity is quite good, although gets a bit muddled during sequences with elevated dialogue levels. Background hiss is very subtle, again due to the original recording. Both high and low frequencies are fairly well represented, but without extremes, the sound is fairly full and representative of the technology of the time.

As noted on the disc, there are two edits that cause dropouts in the dialogue due to censorship at the time of release, which are subtitled.

Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: unmarked keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Liner notes
  2. Excerpt from an interview with Barbet Schroeder
Extras Review: Extras are pretty light, consisting only of the film's original trailer, which looks much worse than the film image.

The included leaflet contains a brief essay on the film by film professor and author Wheeler Winston Dixon, and an interview excerpt with director Barbet Schroeder, which explains his approach. There is also an explaination of the audio edits found in the soundtrack.

Extras Grade: C-

 

Final Comments

Throughout his career, Barbet Schroeder has brought his fascination with subcultures to the screen. With one of the few fully original Pink Floyd soundtracks, More documents one man's downward spiral during the glory days of drug experimentation, but more than just a drug film, it provides a look at the effects, and servicing of dependence. Due to the subject matter and content, recommendation is guarded, but as a longtime fan of its music, I am thrilled to finally have this in my collection.

 


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