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Fox Lorber presents
La Collectionneuse (1967)

"She usually came home at dawn, when I was getting up. The boy wasn't always the one who'd come to pick her up."
- Adrien (Patrick Bauchau)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: May 19, 2000

Stars: Haydee Politoff
Other Stars: Patrick Bauchau, Daniel Pommereulle
Director: Eric Rohmer

Manufacturer: DVSS
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (sexual situations, mild language)
Run Time: 01h:22m:23s
Release Date: April 25, 2000
UPC: 720917520520
Genre: foreign

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ CC-C D-

DVD Review

Cruelty can come in many flavors; La Collectionneuse, the fourth of Eric Rohmer's Six Moral Tales explores the cruelty of love and romance. Fox Lorber bills this film as a romantic comedy on the case, which is surely a misnomer. There is little romance and practically zero comedy beyond irony visible in this tale of the cruelty of male and female relationships.

The cruel and wanton nature is exemplified by our first lengthy exposure to Haydée (Haydee Politoff), as she and one of the men she collects from day to day decide to kill a chicken by throwing rocks at it. This action is a metaphor for the romantic relationships in the film as they develop and fall apart.

Rohmer's Six Moral Tales all center on an individual who is sure of himself to the point of smugness. He rationalizes his conduct, often to an extreme, while he (as the audience learns, though the protagonist does not always) would be better off accepting the world as it is.

An art dealer, Adrien (Patrick Bauchau)—anglicized to Adrian in the subtitles—accepts the use of a villa on the French Riviera along with his friend Daniel (Daniel Pommereulle), an artist. However, to Adrien's chagrin the owner of the villa has also promised the use of the villa to boyish waif Haydée (Politoff). She collects men like some people collect art, and Adrien determines that he will avoid her attractions and soon becomes obsessed with not getting involved with her. Adrien goes so far as to push the unwilling Daniel into a relationship with Haydée, and fixing her up with the man who is funding a gallery for Adrien. Adrien's attitude gets the better of him, as he becomes unnecessarily cruel to Haydée and Daniel alike. The fragility of human emotion is beautifully symbolized by a millenium-old Chinese vase that inevitably gets smashed to flinders.

The film is quite slow-paced and heavy with voiceover. Most of the dialogue is improvised (the stars are given co-writer credit), and tends to be rather vacuous. The film is clearly part of the 1960's European film style. There are a number of rather self-conscious shots into mirrors which are intriguing at first but which rapidly become tiresome. The film was shot on location in St. Tropez, and the scenery is often quite attractive. The unearthly blue of the water in particular is mesmerizing.

The running time is nearly six minutes shorter than the 88 minutes listed on the keepcase. The French version runs 89 minutes, which leads me to believe that significant portions have been cut from this print.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: C


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: There does not appear to have been any restoration done to this film, which really could have used it. There is nearly constant speckling at the rate of about 2 per second, scratches throughout, frame damage, dirt and hairs. The picture is extremely grainy and colors generally appear somewhat washed out. A few scenes appear extremely dark; it appears as if Rohmer were trying to use ambient light whenever possible, so this may well be a fault of the source materials rather than the transfer. Blacks are fairly good but a little on the grayish side.

The subtitles are burned into the picture and cannot be removed. They are only available in English.

Image Transfer Grade: C-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: The two channel mono is adequate for the film; there is music only over the title credits and when there would be music appearing naturally within the context of the film. The dialogue appears to be almost entirely looped, since the mouth movement often does not match the words spoken. The added bird sounds in outdoor scenes sometimes overwhelm the dialogue. The sound is generally clean with little audible hiss or noise.

Audio Transfer Grade: C


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Packaging: Alpha
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. List of awards
Extras Review: The extras are pretty thin; we are given a short list of production credits, a filmography for the three main stars and for Rohmer, and a brief mention of awards won for the film. There's not even a trailer to be found. The chaptering is not as generous as it could be, as several chapters go on for quite some time even though they change scene completely.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

This rather quiet and subdued film will please lovers of serious foreign films, but one shouldn't expect the romantic comedy that Fox Lorber claims. There are more tears to be found here than laughter.


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