Russian Dolls (Poupées Russes, Les) (2005)

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Released 9-Jun-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Menu Audio
Short Film-The Apprentice
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Gallery-Photo
Trailer-The Beat My Heart Skipped,Turtles Can Fly,The Return, Brides
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 123:35 (Case: 120)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Cédric Klapisch
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Romain Duris
Kelly Reilly
Audrey Tautou
Cécile De France
Kevin Bishop
Evguenya Obraztsova
Irene Montalà
Gary Love
Lucy Gordon
Aïssa Maïga
Martine Demaret
Pierre Cassignard
Olivier Saladin
Case ?
RPI $34.95 Music Loïc Dury
Bruno Epron Mahmoudi
Laurent Levesque


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
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

Romain Duris returns to one of his most mainstream roles as Xavier, our everyman hero in Cédric Klapisch's Les Poupées russes (The Russian Dolls) (2005), a sequel to the international hit L'Auberge espagnole (The Spanish Apartment) (2002).

While L'Auberge espagnole (The Spanish Apartment) (2002) told the tale of international early twenty-somethings finding friendship despite cultural differences and language barriers, Les Poupées russes (The Russian Dolls) (2005) has the gang battling to make their dreams a reality. Primarily focused on Xavier (Duris), we learn he is now a freelance writer who has written a book about that year of friendship and innocence in L'Auberge espagnole (The Spanish Apartment) (2002) some five years ago, but it remains unpublished.

Xavier is now the writer of a television soap-opera, a position with only financial benefits for him rather then the creativity and challenge he craves. Nevertheless, he tries to write a real tale of love, but he often finds himself hopeless as he is unable to please or understand all the women in his life - these are his Russian Dolls:

Martine (Audrey Tautou) is no longer Xavier's girlfriend but the two still remain close friends. Martine is now the mother of a child who has an absent father and Xavier often has to resist the urge to be with her.

Isabelle (Cécile De France) now resides in France and works for a successful financial firm. Xavier briefly resides in her apartment as he has nowhere else to go. Isabelle and Xavier have a close friendship with Isabelle often advising Xavier to stop dreaming and to take responsibility for his actions.

The British Wendy (Kelly Reilly) also returns to Xavier's life as they are both writers and she helps him with his television scripts. Despite Wendy's on and off boyfriend, Wendy and Xavier begin a relationship.

Finally there is the model Celia Shelton (Lucy Gordon), who Xavier is ghost-writing an autobiography for. Despite being in a relationship with Wendy he begins a romance with Celia.

All the women reflect Xavier's search for his final doll the one he will choose to stay with and remain faithful to. For Wendy's Brother William (Kevin Bishop), he has found his Russian Doll in Natalia (Evguenya Obraztsova), and as the two prepare to marry in St. Petersburg all the gang will reunite to celebrate not only the marriage but their friendship and growth as adults.

Cédric Klapisch has created a wonderful cast of characters that seem real; they make the wrong choices, learn from their mistakes, are driven by impulse and often are just worried about their existences. As his characters reach the dreaded age of 30, not much has changed since that year in L'Auberge espagnole (The Spanish Apartment) (2002) but they soon have to accept their responsibilities as mature adults. I thoroughly enjoyed this sequel and feel it is a better film than L'Auberge espagnole (The Spanish Apartment) (2002) as it is focused primarily on Xavier and we understand why he makes the decisions he does despite knowing they are often morally wrong. Wonderfully filmed in Paris, London and St. Petersburg with a upbeat soundtrack, the film shows at the basis of it all we all want to find a connection no matter the colour of our skin, the dialect of our language or the social and cultural differences between us.

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Transfer Quality

Video

The film is presented in it is original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. It is encoded at an average bitrate of 6.69 Mbps. The colours are bright and the shadow detail well defined. There is no visible MPEG compression artefacting and the picture is defect free. The subtitles are large and white and true to the onscreen dialogue, but they are 'burned' into the print.

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

Audio

As the film is influenced by the MTV school of filmmaking the music in the French Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is as important to the onscreen drama as the dialogue. The film utilises a soundtrack incorporating an international landscape with artists such as Seti, Track Addicts, Spleen, El Fudge and Diody. Due to the amount of music in the film, the soundtrack proves to be an encompassing experience with moderate use of the subwoofer. Like the picture, the soundtrack proves to be defect-free.

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

Extras

Short Film

The Apprentice is an Australian short film. While it has nothing in common with the main film, its premise will have you guessing to the end.

Filmographies-Cast & Crew

Filmographies are provided for Duris, Tautou, Reilly and Cédric Klapisch.

Gallery

A selection of 16 press photos.

Trailer

A selection of 4 previews from Palace Films: The Beat My Heart Skipped, Turtles Can Fly, The Return and Brides.

R4 vs R1

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

The French R2 single disc release has DTS French audio and English and French subtitle options. The 2 Disc Set includes the same first disc and a second disc which includes one hour of deleted scenes presented by the director, an 8 minute reunion, a 48 minute Making-Of and a 35 minute Master Class. It has been noted on DVD talk-back Forums that the film on the R2 1 disc and 2 disc set DO include English Subtitles. Although I can not confirm if the extras do.

Summary

An engaging film presented with minimal extras. The R2 release is the better option and it does include English subtitles for the main feature but not for the extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Vanessa Appassamy (Biography)
Tuesday, May 09, 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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
English Subtitles on the 2 disk R2 - dvd_dude REPLY POSTED
RE:English Subtitles on the 2 disk R2( russian dolls/spanish apartment) - dvd_dude