The Beat My Heart Skipped (De Battre mon Coeur s'est Arrêté) (2005)

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Released 6-Jun-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Theatrical Trailer
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Trailer-The Edukators, My Wife Is An Actress, Time Out
Trailer-Since Otar Left
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 102:17
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Jacques Audiard

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Romain Duris
Niels Arestrup
Jonathan Zaccaï
Gilles Cohen
Linh Dan Pham
Aure Atika
Emmanuelle Devos
Anton Yakovlev
Mélanie Laurent
Agnès Aubé
Etienne Dirand
Denis Falgoux
Serge Boutleroff
Case ?
RPI $34.95 Music Alexandre Desplat

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/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 Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

De battre mon coeur s'est arrêté (2005) is a rarity, and an astonishing one at that. De battre mon coeur s'est arrêté (2005) is directed by Jacques Audiard who is perhaps best known for Sur mes lèvres (2001) (Read My Lips) which starred Vincent Cassel and Emmanuelle Devos. De battre mon coeur s'est arrêté (2005) is based on Fingers (1978) which was directed by James Toback and starred Harvey Keitel.

De battre mon coeur s'est arrêté (2005) (The Beat That My Heart Skipped) is a poetic title for a film which holds a variety of interpretations, as this rich film is multi-layered, textual and to an extent can be interpreted as Freudian.

Romain Duris is perfectly cast as Thomas Seyr. Duris' interpretation of a man torn between a forbidden desire and loyalty to his father is unnerving. Thomas Seyr is 28 years old, a yuppie who engages in brute violence and illegal activities in the name of his father, his victims are often petrified immigrants from Eastern Europe or Africa.

He is an elegant hoodlum, perfectly groomed in a uniform of black. He lives in a male dominated world of lust, greed and aggression. He is immoral and promiscuous and also seemingly irate and confused. He is vulnerable and needy and equally secure and charismatic.

The camera is almost always on Duris and watching him is incredibly engaging. Duris’ inhabits Seyr effortlessly, constantly twitching and impulsive; his face is tightened with a leering snarl which is only softened to reveal a delicate smile when he plays the piano, which is his saviour and dually his oppressor.

The piano as an instrument in cinema is often a metaphor for a redeemer from a past sordid existence or trauma and it is equally a present source of madness and frustration. Films such as François Truffaut’s Tirez sur le pianiste (1960) (Shoot the Pianist), Bob Rafelson’s Five Easy Pieces (1970) and Michael Haneke’s La Pianiste (2001) (The Piano Teacher) have previously explored this territory but what is unique to De battre mon coeur s'est arrêté (2005) is that the piano is a link to a past life for Seyr.

Thomas Seyr was a talented musician as a child - his mother was a respected classical pianist. After she passed away, Seyr turned his back on a respectable career and inherited his father’s fiendish ways. The existent relationship between Thomas Seyr and his semi-retired father, Robert Seyr (Niels Arestrup), is a volatile one. Thomas needs his father’s acceptance while his father needs Thomas to do his dirty work. Robert Seyr doesn’t share the same pain and anguish as his son and uses it to his own benefit, while Thomas often acts outs atrocities out of love for his father.

By chance Thomas Seyr is offered a second opportunity to redeem himself; it is his choice between loyalty to his father and rediscovering his mother and his passion and ability for classical music which is at the heart of De battre mon coeur s'est arrêté (2005) - it is this choice which will cause his heart to skip a beat.

This character study is quietly crafted and the audience needs to lend itself to this film. The scenes in which Seyr plays the piano are brilliantly and realistically crafted. This is a poetic film steeped in film noir and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is intense and Duris’ performance needs to be seen. The Guardian’s resident critic Peter Bradshaw named Duris as a young Alain Delon and claimed his performance is reminiscent of a young Robert De Niro. Personally, I undisputedly agree and recommend this film to anyone who wants to experience quality cinema.

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Transfer Quality


De battre mon coeur s'est arrêté (2005) is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. The quality of the transfer is very good. The average bitrate is consistent at 5.17 Mb/s.

The look of the film is sharp and very natural; the hand-held camera and slight grain add to the realism.

Shadow detail is excellent. Most scenes are set on the Paris streets at night and the edge between shadow and minimally lit source is well balanced.

Colour is rich and flesh tones are natural.

The English subtitles are 'burned in' which is unfortunate, as I prefer optional subtitles. They are white and in a large font. While they are not a literal translation of the French dialogue they do give an overall understanding of the phrases and profanities.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


The French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s) track is also well produced. An eclectic soundtrack for this film has been assembled, including Alexandre Desplat’s melodramatic score. The character of Thomas Seyr is not only fond of classical music from composers such as Mozart, Chopin, Debussy, Liszt and Brahms, he also listens to The Kills, Bloc Party, Luke Vibert and many others.

The soundtrack is quite encompassing and there are no issues regarding audio synchronisation.

This is a well composed soundtrack and while the film is largely dialogue based, the musical score truly sets the tone of the piece.

Subwoofer usage is subtle and effective.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Main Menu Audio & Animation

Well themed menu design with selective score and images from the film.

Theatrical Trailer

Includes English Subtitles.

Filmographies of Cast & Crew

Credits for Actor Romain Duris, Actress Emmanuelle Devos and Director Jacques Audiard.


10 Still Photos from selected scenes.


Trailers for The Edukators, My Wife Is An Actress, Time Out, Since Otar Left

R4 vs R1

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

As this is an R4 rental release, it contains minimal extra features.

Currently the R1 DVD has the following technical specifications:

The R2 is the best release but it does NOT contain English subtitles:


A brilliantly crafted film with a magnificent performance from Romain Duris.

The rental DVD is satisfactory but contains minimal extras.

The R1 is the better option for those who desire English subtitles. Otherwise, opt for the R2 for the best presentation of the film.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Vanessa Appassamy (Biography)
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1910, using DVI output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE 700. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationYamaha DSP-A595a - 5.1 DTS
Speakers(Front) DB Dynamics Polaris AC688F loudspeakers,(Centre) DB Dynamics Polaris Mk3 Model CC030,(Rear) Polaris Mk3 Model SSD425,(Subwoofer) Jensen JPS12

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