Beloved (Les Bien-Aimés) (2011)

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Released 8-May-2013

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Musical Deleted Scenes-Deleted Scenes (5:49)
Theatrical Trailer-Thetrical Trailer (2:11)
Trailer-Palace Films Trailers (7:48)
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 133:15 (Case: 138)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (81:07) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Christophe Honoré
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Chiara Mastroianni
Catherine Deneuve
Ludivine Sagnier
Louis Garrel
Milos Forman
Paul Schneider
Rasha Bukvic
Michel Delpech
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music Alex Beaupain


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English (Burned In) Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Beloved (Les Bien-Aimés) is director Christophe Honoré's second collaboration with composer Alex Beaupain, after Love Songs (Les Chansons D’Amour) in 2007. Beloved includes an all-star cast in a dual homage to the city of Paris, in both its 1960s and modern incarnations, and the French New Wave cinematic era. It fuses a common tale of romantic ineptitudes and complications across different generations, albeit, developed from a basic screenplay.

     Beloved centres around Madeleine (played by Ludivine Sagnier in her youth and by Catherine Deneuve in her later years) and her daughter Vera (Chiara Mastroianni, Deneuve's real life daughter with Italian screen legend, Marcello Mastroianni) and their disastrous love lives, from Madeleine’s marriage to Czech medical student Jaromil (Radivoje Bukvic) in the mid-1960s which fails, and is re-kindled when Jaromil (played by acclaimed Czech director, Milos Forman in his later years) returns in the present to have an affair with Madeleine. Meanwhile, Vera falls for a gay rock musician in Henderson (Paul Schneider) – whilst contending with a younger suitor in Clement (Louis Garrel) with the potential for tragedy, due to the threat of AIDS in the modern era, as opposed to the 'free love' attitude of Madeleine’s generation.

     Beloved recalls Jacques Demy’s musical classic, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, which incidentally made a star of Deneuve in 1964. The only thing is, that, the characters may express their innermost feelings through song, like in Demy's classic French musical, although Beaupain's songs are instantly forgettable in comparison to Michel Legrand's originals in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.

     Christophe Honoré's preoccupation with the themes of modern life, AIDS, diverse sexuality and the drug scene is honourable, but ultimately doesn't counter-balance as well as it might have hoped with the levity that comes from the musical interludes. At least the performances here are top-notch. The pacing is distinctly French, as the film meanders through its complications at a lot slower pace than a typical Hollywood film. However, if you enjoy French films, you will no doubt enjoy this too.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Beloved was shot using Arricam LT cameras and 3-perf Super 35mm film.

     The aspect ratio is 2:35:1, 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions.

     Beloved is presented on a 7.56 gb dual-layered DVD, with an average bitrate of 6.75 m/b per sec, which is above average for DVD.

     Primary colours are accentuated in this visual transfer, especially blue and red. It gives the film the intended 1960s 'retro' visuals desired.

     There are no film artefacts present, however, the film process used to shoot Beloved means that it does have an intentional slight 'film grain' look to it.

     Unfortunately, subtitles are not optional. Rather, they are forced or 'burnt-in' in English.

     The RSDL change occurs at 81:07, in-between a scene change, so it is not noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     As mentioned, Beloved features musical interludes sung by the main characters to express their feelings and conflicts, like the 1964 film, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.

     The main audio track is a French Dolby Digital 5.1 track encoded at 448 kbps.

     Dialogue is clear and synchronised, as are the musical numbers.

     Alex Beaupain's musical soundtrack is mainly light and pop in feel, but he does utilise subtle orchestral-type ambient effects at times through the film.

     The surround channel mix features during the musical interludes mainly.

     The subwoofer supports the lower frequency bass sound of the songs, otherwise it's silent.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Deleted Scenes (5:49)

     These are two deleted musical sequences that are less than three minutes each. I would agree that they are superfluous to the main narrative.

Theatrical Trailer (2:11)

     The original theatrical trailer.

Palace Films Trailers (7:48)

     Four Palace Films trailers are included for Paris Manhattan (2:00), All Our Desires (2;21), Declaration of War (1:34) and Goodbye First Love (1:53).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 2 United Kingdom DVD release includes interviews with the cast, director Christophe Honoré and composer Alex Beaupain by SOHK.TV, as well as optional English subtitles.

Summary

     I can't help but feel that if the musical elements were removed from Beloved then it would have been a much more successful movie. Vera and Madeline’s complicated love lives contains moments of interest and intrigue, but the use of song becomes alienating and confusing. Vera’s strained relationship with her ex, her pursuit of a gay co-worker and her emotional struggles do offer the opportunity for a satisfying resolution, only to be denied by the musical interludes, which only serve to repeat what has gone on before.

     A Rotten Tomatoes score of 55 out of 100, with 23 favourable reviews and 19 critical ones, supports the view that you will either love this or hate it, and I can't help but agree with this notion.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Stivaktas (I like my bio)
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S550 (Firmware updated Version 020), using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA46A650 46 Inch LCD TV Series 6 FullHD 1080P 100Hz. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-K1000P. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationSony HTDDW1000
SpeakersSony 6.2 Surround (Left, Front, Right, Surround Left, Surround Back, Surround Right, 2 subwoofers)

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