Marie-Jo and her Two Loves (Marie-Jo et ses 2 Amours) (2002)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 24-Aug-2004

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-The Closet, Satin Rouge, Monsieur Batignole, The Dinner Game
Trailer-The Diaries Of Vaslav Nijinsky
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 119:00 (Case: 124)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (53:54) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Robert Guédiguian
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Ariane Ascaride
Jean-Pierre Darroussin
Gérard Meylan
Julie-Marie Parmentier
Jacques Boudet
Yann Trégouët
Frédérique Bonnal
Souhade Temimi
Maya Seuleyvan
Frédéric Garbe
Danielle Stefan
Jacques Germain
Axel Köhler
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     The opening of the film Marie-Jo And Her Two Loves features an excerpt from Dante's Divine Comedy:

Midway this way of life we're bound upon, I woke to find myself in a dark wood: where the road was wholly lost and gone. Ah me! How hard to speak of it. The mere breath of memory stirs the old fear in the blood. It is so bitter, it goes nigh to death.

     A sombre and fitting note for this bleak tale of the dark side of love. Marie-Jo (Ariane Ascaride) and her husband Daniel (Jean-Pierre Darroussin) have carved a life for themselves in the beautiful surrounds of Marseilles. He is a builder, she helps with his accounts and is also a driver for a local hospital. They have a vivacious and intelligent daughter, Julie, (Julie-Marie Parmentier) who intends to study whatever her fiancé, Sylvain (Yann Trégouët) does at university.

     Marie-Jo loves her husband and he worships her. But there is a problem. Marie-Jo also loves Marco (Gérard Meylan), an intense and brooding ships' pilot. The film is a non-judgemental examination of the nature of love and its maverick tendency to not stay neatly within boundaries.

     The performances of all central characters are absolutely sublime. This is a study in understatement, which is something of a coup, given the explosive and sensational thematic content. Ariane Ascaride delivers a Marie-Jo who is confronting her middle age with a deep-seated dread. It is not so much a dread of youth passing, but of life passing. Her genuine love for both men leaves her in a quagmire of misery. Whomever it is she is with, she misses the other. For Marco, this is the stirring of feelings he's never before experienced. He accepts what time she can give him, in the eternal hope that she may be able to give him more one day. Daniel begins to suspect that Marie-Jo has a lover, but does not want to finally shatter the myth of their exclusive partnership. And so, this trio are held in a holding pattern of misery. When Marie-Jo finally attempts to break the impasse and goes to live with Marco, Julie explodes in a tirade of vitriol and resentment against her mother.

     The film is a ponderous piece - long, slow dissolves make the action as duplicitous as the storyline. It is an examination of boundaries, of freedoms and paradigms. For the younger, more naïve Julie, her mother's actions threaten not just her familial security, but challenge her own starry-eyed notions of monogamy. Daniel's response is more complex. Whilst he finds the situation literally unbearable, he is less inclined to lay blame or indulge in flights of fury or revenge. He too feels the ravages of time and sees things changing.

     Director Robert Guédiguian walks an emotional tightrope with this film, and delivers an elegant and thoughtful piece. With an ending that could have easily dived into melodrama, it is clear that a masterful hand kept this film on track and instead, provides a portrait of real life, beautifully sketched.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 16x9 enhanced.

     The luminance of this transfer is very good, with excellent shadow detail and only occasionally problematic grain levels. There is little low level noise and the bright outdoors scenes are handled without excessive flaring or detail loss.

     The colour palette is vast and well transferred with no halation and excellent rendering of skin tones.

     English subtitles are an optional extra and they are clean, clear, bright and timely.

     The actual transfer is quite acceptable, although there is some presence of aliasing on the usual suspects. There are few dust spots or scratches marring the presentation, and it is quite a crisp, clean print.

     This disc is an RSDL disc with the layer change at 53:54, between Chapters 6 & 7. It is actually not a very good layer change and does somewhat disrupt the film.

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

Audio

     There are two audio tracks on this DVD - French Dolby Digital 5.1 and French Dolby Digital 2.0.

     Dialogue presents no problems at all in this transfer - it was clear and audible at all times. There were no audio sync problems at all.

     The music utilised within this film is utterly wonderful. The selection of magnificent classical pieces, the intelligent use of Louis Armstrong's Wonderful World, and the inclusion of local French pop tunes builds into a musical background that completely enhances the film.

     The surround soundtrack was quite audibly present, but, given the nature of this film, it was always a subtle presence rather than a distinctive feature in its own right.

     The subwoofer activity was minimal, as would be expected in such a presentation.

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

Extras

Menu

     The menu is static with music from the film.

Trailer (1:57)

Madman Trailers

The Closet; Satin Rouge; Monsieur Batignole; The Dinner Game and Diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky.

R4 vs R1

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

     I can find no evidence at this time of an R1 version so we have a winner.

Summary

     Marie-Jo And Her Two Loves is a grown up film that explores challenging themes. It is at once delicate and sweeping, and handles explosive subject matter with a very subtle approach. The photography is wonderful, the production values are slick and the performances are completely engaging. A warning for the faint-hearted - there are significant amounts of nudity in this film - nothing leery - but if this concerns you, you have been warned.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Mirella Roche-Parker (read my bio)
Monday, June 14, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDSinger SGD-001, using S-Video output
DisplayTeac 76cm Widescreen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationTeac 5.1 integrated system
SpeakersTeac 5.1 integrated system

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE