The Taste of Others (Goût des Autres, Le) (2000)
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Trailer-va savoir, Time Out and The Last Kiss
|Year Of Production||2000|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (59:50)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Agnes Jaoui|
Twentieth Century Fox
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
French oil trucking magnate Castella (Jean-Pierre Bacri) is awaiting an oil deal with the Iranians. He has had two bodyguards, Frank (Gerard Lanvin) and Bruno (Alain Chabat), hired to shadow him and his wife while the deal is underway. To help with the negotiations, he has reluctantly employed an English teacher, Clara (Anne Alvaro). However, when he and his wife go to their daughter’s play, Castella is stunned to find that his English teacher is the lead actress. Moreover, her performance awakens something in him that he thought long dead – passion. Although socially inept, he begins trying to insert himself into her world of high art and finds that although he is but a simple man, there is something in this world that appeals to him which his life cannot give him. Meanwhile, at the same play, Bruno goes for a meal at the nearest bar where he comes across a female bartender, Manie (Agnes Jaoui), who claims they slept together at one point. Although Bruno does not remember, he finds himself intrigued by this girl all the same and arranges to meet her, despite the fact he is in love with another girl who has gone to the US for six months as an intern. Manie also happens to be Clara’s dealer and personal friend. All these lives coalesce into a tapestry that weaves itself back and forth in no particular direction.
The Taste of Others (Le Gout Des Autres), or as the subtitles retitle this film It Takes All Sorts, is a rather meandering comedy drama with, in all honesty, very little drama and very little comedy. It feels slight, dealing with a lot of mundane scenes and snippets of lives which just add no greater meaning to the whole. There is no real plot here, no tension nor suspense. That is all good and fine, because character studies are often great films. But these characters just don’t even seem to be there. They are a jumble of lines and situations and not much else. I never got a sense of who any of them were on anything below the shallowest level, and consequently I didn’t feel for any of them. Don’t get me wrong, these are not bad actors and actresses here, just that maybe this is one of those detached French dramas that approaches the world from an overly minimalist perspective. It has a certain early Hal Hartley feel to it, lacking the panache and style and haunting music of Amateur, but still involving long conversations in which very little is really discussed, and nothing much about the characters is revealed. There is a certain off-beat humour, to be sure, but it just does not quite attain true comedic level in the way that The Girl On The Bridge did in its quirky way.
In all honesty, if I had not chosen to review this film and were merely watching it on SBS, I would have turned it off about halfway through. It just does not go anywhere, or explore any of its themes particularly well. It is not gritty enough to be true realism, but I got the impression it was trying to be subtle. That’s all very well, except that it is possible to be too subtle. Furthermore, it is not comedic enough to be comedy, passionate enough to be a love story, dramatic enough to be a drama, or any of those things much to be a successful melange of them all (which would have been quite interesting if writer/director/actress Agnes Jaoui could have pulled it off). Instead, it feels off-hand and perhaps even a little shallow. Maybe if I were French I would enjoy this more, but this really just was not for me.
Presented in 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced, this is the original aspect ratio.
This is a truly fine transfer, and I have not seen much better for a while. Honestly, I had to go nitpicking back through it to find anything at all wrong with it. The only thing I can think to criticise this on is that maybe it was a touch soft, but that seems to be a trend in European films, although I am not entirely sure why. A large number seem to be filmed with a filter that makes the picture just a little soft rather than crisp and bright and real.
Colours were well saturated, not seeming at all washed out. Flesh tones were right on the money. Shadow detail was fine, and scenes shot in low light did not degenerate into grainy and murky imagery.
MPEG artefacts are non-existent, and there were no film-to-video transfer artefacts. No aliasing, no moire, no nothing. I am impressed.
There was the odd bit of dirt here and there, but like I said, I had to go hunting to find it.
There is only one set of subtitles, and they are in English. They are yellow with a black border. Other than the fact that the subtitles translated the title of the film as It Takes All Kinds, I discerned no other faults.
The dual layer pause is at 59:50. It occurs during a scene change and is hardly noticeable.
There are two soundtracks available –a French 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround track, and a French 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo track. The 2.0 Dolby Stereo track was fine, but really lacked the ambience and depth of the 5.1 Dolby Digital track.
The dialogue was clear throughout, although when the French actors start speaking English it is a little muddled. This is intentional, though, because our main character is meant to be bad at English.
There were quite a lot of directional cues in the form of traffic and passers-by, and good ambience in crowd scenes or outdoor scenes where the surrounds would pick up to create a full surround effect.
Sadly, the subwoofer was dormant the whole way through. I skipped back and put my hand on the speaker in places where it might have been utilised, but if there was a slight murmur there, I didn’t get any of it.
|Surround Channel Use|
All menus are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, static and silent.
Presented in 1.85:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo, this is a set of three 30-second trailers promoting the film. The quality is pretty grainy and there are lots of film artefacts.
A set of stills with filmographies and some biographical information for Agnes Jaoui, Jean-Pierre Bacri, and Alain Chabat.
Twelve inset stills from the movie.
Three inset stills documenting some of the promotional artwork for the film.
Presented in 1.85:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo. This film looks pretty cold.
Presented in 1.85:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo. Another cold and clinical looking French film.
Presented in 1.85:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo. This film actually looks fun, but it’s Italian not French.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Details of the R1 release of this disc are sketchy at best. If somebody has some reliable information, please let me know. However, I doubt very much whether the video transfer will be able to match this one and so I’m going to give this to R4 until someone gives me a reason to do otherwise.
The Taste Of Others is an interweaving quasi-comedic drama that is neither very comedic nor very dramatic, and lacks any gritty realist edge that might try to lift it out of this non-genre genre. Moreover, it is quite meandering and perhaps even a little dull.
The video is excellent, although conforming to the typical European ‘slightly-soft’ look.
The sound is pretty good, but there is no subwoofer use in the 5.1 Dolby Digital mix.
The extras were promotional and added no deeper understanding to the movie.
|DVD||Panasonic DVD-RV31A-S, using S-Video output|
|Display||Beko 28" (16x9). This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver.|
|Speakers||Energy - Front, Rear, Centre & Subwoofer|