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Koch Lorber presents
The Emmanuelle Beart Collection (A Heart In Winter, The Story of Marie and Julien, Nathalie...) (1992/2003)

"Jealousy! For men, it's a reflex!"
- Catherine (Fanny Ardant) from Nathalie...

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: November 30, 2007

Stars: Emmanuelle Beart
Other Stars: Daniel Auteuil, Andre Dussollier, Fanny Ardant, Gerard Depardieu, Jerzey Radzwilowicz, Anne Brochet
Director: Claude Sautet, Anne Fontaine, Jacques Rivette

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (adult themes)
Run Time: 05h:30m:59s
Release Date: July 17, 2007
UPC: 741952312093
Genre: foreign


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ BBB B

DVD Review

This three-disc set of previously issued Emmanuelle Beart films does not bring anything new to the table, content-wise. It's simply a repackaging. It is, however, a solid compendium of work from three iconic French directors, each of whom get the opportunity to stretch Beart in a varied range of mature emotional configurations. And that fact that Beart is perhaps one of the most beautiful women in the history of beautiful women doesn't hurt one iota.

Un Coer En Hiver (A Heart In Winter)
Directed by Claude Sautet
01h:44m:19s

The following is an excerpt of the single disc DVD review of Un Coer En Hiver (A Heart In Winter) by Chuck Aliaga

French cinema has always been near the top in terms of delivering affecting dramas on a regular basis. 1992's A Heart in Winter (Un Coer en Hiver) is a prime example by the late writer/director Claude Sautet (Mado). Winner of the César Award for Best Director and the Venice Film Festival's Silver Lion, this film has stood the test time among international film enthusiasts. Koch Lorber gives fans an excuse to revisit this classic, thanks to their new DVD as part of their Gold Series, featuring a new HD transfer supervised by the director of photography, Yves Angelo.

Stephane (Daniel Auteuil) is a violin-maker who has worked with Maxime (André Dussollier) for many years. They have always complemented each other perfectly—Stephane has difficulty dealing with the public, his customers, so Maxime does the PR. When Camille (Emmanuelle Beart), Maxime's girlfriend, comes into the shop, she locks eyes with Stephane. Camille and Stephane have a chance to get to know each other better as he advises on her violin playing. This leads to a mistaken attraction, one that threatens Stephane and Maxime's relationship, both business and personal.

Sautet takes his time letting the complexities of his love story unravel until a pivotal discussion between Camille and Stephane, when the direction of things changes drastically. It's at this point that A Heart in Winter completely grabs us, and is what has kept it relevant and entertaining over the years. When we eventually learn the true nature of Stephane's personality, and how he can simply never change, we realize why he has no choice but to do what he does to Camille. An odd final reel has everything come full circle, giving us hope that everyone involved in this emotional ménage-à-trois can continue to exist with at least some semblance of happiness. Of course, even after the end credits have rolled, we're still not sure if Stephane has any idea what it's like to be happy.



Histoire de Marie et Julien (The Story Of Marie and Julien)
Directed by Jacques Rivette
02h:30m:39s

Jacques Rivette is one of those directors that loves to make films that tread on the edge of well-crafted tedium, utilizing the mundane elements from character's everyday lives to build some sort of compounding, often slow-moving narrative that will either become fascinating or excruciating, dependent on your tolerance. Histoire de Marie et Julien (The Story Of Marie and Julien) finds Rivette dabbling in unusual thematic components that in a film by any other director would most likely have been larger and less subtle.

Here, Beart plays opposite Jerzy Radziwilowicz as acquaintances who become much more, though only how much more is something that Rivette unravels in slow, glacier-like arcs. There's the blackmailing of the mysterious Madame X (Anne Brochet), a secret room, and an intertwining of relationships that melds bold sexual energy with a gradual reveal that Rivette builds into an intelligent (though admittedly long) discourse on love, life and death. Yet that's Rivette's style, and with Histoire de Marie et Julien (The Story Of Marie and Julien) those themes are laid out for viewers to absorb carefully, but it does require a certain obligation to stay with it for its entirety in order for things to connect properly.

This is likely the least accessible film in this collection, but easily the most intriguing. A Rivette film requires patience, and once you fall in with the flow (if you do), the journey becomes easy to follow. Beart's angelic presence—in what is a strong, multi-layered performance—is like a carrot on a stick.


Nathalie...
Directed by Anne Fontaine
01h:45m:18s

Fontaine's 2003 film pairs Beart with another French talent, Fanny Ardant, in an exploration of what makes men unfaithful. And though Beart plays a prostitute hired by Ardant to take on the persona of Nathalie in order to seduce a potentially wayward husband (Gerard Depardieu), the film itself is a quite mature take on the matter of not just infidelity, but the disintegration of a marriage. As a result this not necessarily as overtly sexual as the alluring shot of Beart humping a stripper pole on the cover might indicate, and instead a smart, thought-provoking peek at the dangerous angles of relationships.

Of the three films in this collection, Nathalie... is almost more Ardant's film than it is Beart's. Yet getting both Ardant and Beart together in one film is a plus for the viewer, as Fontaine delicately balances them on opposite ends of the social spectrum, with both of them eventually leaning in ways that may seem unexpected. Poor Depardieu—fairly likeable even as the subject of his wife's trust—can do little but try to bask in the strength and beauty of both Ardant and Beart.

There have been love triangle films before, yet the French have a unique way of telling a story that is so different from the way Hollywood would tackle the same subject, and Fontaine's film is almost like seeing a familiar story from an entirely new perspective. This may be a Beart collection—and she is certainly undeniably sexually radiant in the title role—but Nathalie... would only be half as good without Ardant as the catalyst.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 OneTwo
Aspect Ratio1.66:1 - Widescreen1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyesyes
Anamorphicyesyes


Image Transfer Review: Un Coer En Hiver (A Heart In Winter)
The following is an excerpt of the single disc DVD review of Un Coer En Hiver (A Heart In Winter) by Chuck Aliaga:

This 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation is the byproduct of a newly restored HD transfer that is easily the best this film has ever looked. The images are pristine, with sharp images throughout and crisp, bright colors. There's no color bleeding and dirt and grain are virtually nonexistent, while the blacks and contrast are at optimal levels.

Histoire de Marie et Julien (The Story Of Marie and Julien)
The packaging lists this release as 4x3, but it is actually 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Not a bad transfer, certainly one that reproduces Rivette's purposeful color palette with the proper degree of blues and greens; fleshtones likewise appear very natural. There are some slight grain and instances of edge enhancement periodically, however.

Nathalie...
Released in anamorphic widescreen that is approximately 2.35:1 (a slight variance from its original theatrical aspect ratio), Nathalie... appears with a steady stream of bright colors and warm, evenly rendered fleshtones. Probably the best looking of the three Beart titles in this set, the transfer is clean and debris-free.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoFrenchno
DS 2.0Frenchno
Dolby Digital
5.1
Frenchno


Audio Transfer Review: Un Coer En Hiver (A Heart In Winter)
The following is an excerpt of the single disc DVD review of Un Coer En Hiver (A Heart In Winter) by Chuck Aliaga:

Both the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix and the original mono soundtrack sound very nice. Purists will enjoy the mono track, but the 5.1 is especially impressive when adding depth to the film's score. This is a very talky film, and it's nice to hear crystal clear dialogue on both of the audio options.

Histoire de Marie et Julien (The Story Of Marie and Julien)
The solitary audio choice is 2.0 stereo, presented in the original French language, with optional English subtitles. Voice quality is clear, with no measurable hiss or distortion.

Nathalie...
Instead of the 5.1 mix found on the R2 version, there's just one choice here and it is 2.0 stereo, presented in the original French language, with optional English subtitles. Dialogue is presentable throughout, yet it's all without the kind of spatial sensation that could add another dramatic layer to the narrative, as with the R2 release.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 38 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
3 Original Trailer(s)
9 Other Trailer(s) featuring Gilles' Wife, Tous les Matins du Monde, Changing Times, La Moustache, Donkey Skin, La Dolce Vita, The Five Obstructions, Triple Agent, Sister My Sister
Production Notes
3 Documentaries
3 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Box Set
Picture Disc
3 Discs
3-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Un Coer En Hiver (A Heart In Winter)
The following is an excerpt of the single disc DVD review of Un Coer En Hiver (A Heart In Winter) by Chuck Aliaga:

There are a handful of extra features including a five-minute excerpt from a Claude Sautet documentary. This segment finds Sautet discussing A Heart in Winter in great detail, focusing quite a bit on the nature of his characters.

There's also a rare interview with Sautet that lasts just under 25 minutes, and a pair of French TV appearances —one by Sautet, and one by André Dussollier. Finishing up is a collection of Koch Lorber trailers including one for the featured film.


The disc also includes 12 chapters, optional English subtitles, assorted trailers and a 2-page insert booklet of production notes.

Histoire de Marie et Julien (The Story Of Marie and Julien)
There's a pair of features here, the first being the Interview With Jacques Rivette (40m:21s), an appropriately long and sprawling chat with the director who adores films that are also long and sprawling, and sprinkled with arty insight into his filmmaking style. Slightly more succinct is the Interview With Emmanuelle Beart (15m:39s), in which the actress elaborates on the acting process, and how that measures up to working on a Rivette film.

The disc also includes 14 chapters, optional English subtitles, and a series of assorted trailers.

Nathalie...
Only one main extra here, a rather lightweight Making Of Featurette (28m:29s) that is, however, very appealing visually, for prurient reasons that have solely to do with Beart.

The disc also includes 12 chapters, optional English subtitles, and a few assorted trailers.

Extras Grade: B

 

Final Comments

A repackaging of three previously issued Emmanuelle Beart titles in one boxset doesn't offer any new material or improved transfers, but it's an opportunity to snag a trio of engaging films featuring a range of emotional performances from one of France's most striking talents.

 


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