Posted in: Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on November 7th, 2006
Bernard Campan, diffident office worker with a bad heart, enters an Pigalle brothel/bar and informs prostitute Monica Bellucci that he has just won 4 million Euros. He will pay here handsomely to live with him until the money runs out. She agrees. Campan’s doctor friend disapproves, being particularly worried about what a bombshell like Bellucci will do to Campan’s heart. Can the couple find true love? Or is the relationship only based on money? And what about loquacious gangster Gérard Depa…dieu, the other man in Bellucci’s life?
This is the sort of quirky comedy that is French to its very soul. It is loaded with all sorts of surreal asides which may or may not be actually happening (not a huge surprise, given director Bertrand Blier’s long-standing love of the surreal), and the characters speak in gloriously baroque prose. In many ways, the film is less a story, more a philosophical thesis, but it is also very charming and quite hilarious.
The script is extremely dialogue-heavy, and that is what takes pride of place in the audio mix. There is very little by way of sound effects – the film could almost be a play, in the way that the dialogue is backed largely by silence (no hiss, though, so that’s good). The music, however, does play a role, often coming in as dramatic and ironic counterpoint to the scenes, and at such times the 5.1 mix really comes into play in impressive fashion.
The colours are lovely, warm and rich, with good contrasts. Grain is next to nil, though there is a bit apparent in some of the night scenes. Flesh tones are excellent, as are the blacks. The image is sharp, and the aspect ratio is the full 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. In general, the look is quite naturalistic, but there are some moments of pronounced stylistic shift in the palette, and the transfer handles all of this very well.
Definitely not for all tastes, but it is so very, very witty. Well worth watching.