Wednesday, April 9, 2014

L'Immortelle (Blu-ray Review) - Kino Redemption

Directed By: Alain Robbe-Grillet
Written By: Alain Robbe-Grillet
Starring: Francoise Brion, Jacques Doniol-Valcroze, Guido Celano
Black & White/101 Minutes/Not Rated
Region A
Release Date: April 1, 2014

The Film
Alain Robbe-Grillet's debut film is a strange one. The entire thing is shrouded with mystery and it pushes the viewer to extract what you will from it. A man who has recently moved to Turkey to be a professor at a local school meets a beautiful but secretive woman who he spends several days with seeing the sights around the city and the local people. Suddenly she vanishes without a trace and nobody around the city recalls or is willing to recall her being with him. Just as suddenly as she vanished, they meet again, but before she is able to explain her disappearance she is killed in a car crash with the man. The rest of the movie is spent with the man going over the events again trying to determine if he caused the crash or not and psycho-analyzing every little detail of their brief relationship.

L'IMMORTELLE is a stunning film to look at. The gorgeous black and white photography, often shot at severe angles give the Turkish ruins, waterways and tunnels a very stark look. On a deeper level the film is incredibly interesting to look at and break down. From the main man and woman to an art shop keeper, to the stranger and fisherman. Every character symbolizes something and eventually the man finds himself facing a criminal underworld that he isn't prepared to deal with.

This was my first viewing of L'IMMORTELLE and I really like this film. I know my love for it will grow deeper with subsequent viewings as I gather and notice new things. Robbe-Grillet showed instantly that he can create incredible visuals and art with this film and it is something I've learned quickly that he would do again and again.

The Audio & Video
Kino Redemption gives L'IMMORTELLE a stunning HD transfer. The 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation seems to be taken from a very clean print as there are only a few instances of dirt or scratches. Detail level is strong while the black levels are handled brilliantly and are deep and inky. The 2.0 French language track (with optional English subtitles) is solid, but not perfect. Extremes in the high end mix are a bit of trouble for the mix but it is a rare occurrence.

The Extras
Along with a trio of trailers for other Robbe-Grillet releases and a 2014 promo short, this release features an interview with the writer/director that clocks in at over half an hour.

The Bottom Line
The debut film from the French director is a mysterious, strange and engrossing one. It appeals to many of the senses and this release does it absolute justice. L'IMMORTELLE is certainly worth your time.

L'IMMORTELLE is available HERE

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