Indochine (1992)

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Released 27-Apr-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-View Of Indochine
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1992
Running Time 151:26
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (100:46) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Régis Wargnier
Studio
Distributor

Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Catherine Deneuve
Vincent Perez
Linh Dan Pham
Jean Yanne
Dominique Blanc
Henri Marteau
Carlo Brandt
Gérard Lartigau
Hubert Saint-Macary
Andrzej Seweryn
Mai Chau
Alain Fromager
Chu Hung
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Patrick Doyle


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 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    This is a release which has been the subject of great anticipation around our house. When I first started doing DVD reviews some time ago now, my wife said to me 'If Indochine, ever gets released you had better review it!' and knowing which side my bread is buttered on I jumped at the chance to review this disc when it was released locally by Umbrella. My wife saw this film twice at the cinema when it was originally released in 1991 and has mentioned it a number of times since we have been married. Personally, I had not seen it before reviewing this disc.

    This film is a French production filmed entirely on location in Vietnam. It was made in 1991 and won the 1993 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, the same Golden Globe, was nominated for another Academy Award (Best Actress - Catherine Deneuve) and also won five Cesar Awards with another seven nominations.

    The film itself is set in 1930s Vietnam (known as French Indochina), towards the end of France's colonisation of the country and revolves around a rubber plantation owner, Eliane Devries (Catherine Deneuve). She lives on the plantation with her elderly father, Emile (Henri Marteau) and employs many local people as labour on the plantation. Although she could not be described as overly cruel she is tough and treats the local workers as somewhat second class citizens. She was friends with a family of well-to-do Vietnamese who were killed some years before except for their young daughter. Eliane has adopted the daughter, Camille (Linh Dan Pham), who has now grown into a strikingly beautiful young woman. Eliane is good friends with the local police chief, Guy Asselin (Jean Yanne), who is very keen to marry her, but she will not have him. Into this mix comes a young disillusioned naval officer, Jean-Baptiste La Guen (Vincent Perez) who starts an affair with Eliane. Despite a passionate beginning their affair quickly ends, however, Jean-Baptiste becomes reinvolved with the family when he helps Camille after a terrorist attack in Saigon. She falls madly in love with the handsome young officer against her family's wishes. After Jean-Baptiste makes a scene in front of other officers, Eliane uses her influence to have Jean-Baptiste transferred to an outpost in Vietnam. Camille resolves to run away from her impending marriage and follow Jean-Baptiste. It is here that their adventures really begin as Camille sees the state of the local peasants in Vietnam, what they must do to survive and the wanton cruelly of the French colonialists. However, it is the event which occurs once she reaches Jean-Baptiste's outpost that really changes her life completely.

    This is a romantic period drama somewhat in the style of The English Patient, although not quite of the incredible quality of that film (one of my Top 10 films). This film strays into melodrama a bit more than I would like, however this is a minor quibble in what is an epic, dramatic, sometimes confronting and magnificently filmed story of the French rule in Vietnam. The character of Eliane represents the French colonialists and Camille represents the new, young and becoming more independent Vietnam. The cinematography and locations are magnificent from the opening scene of a water-borne funeral through some of the most incredible scenery in the world, such as Ha-long Bay. The music is also very good adding significantly to the tone of the film, although it sometimes also plays a part in adding melodrama. The acting is also very strong, evidenced by the Oscar nomination for Deneuve and numerous other acting awards and nominations.

    Lovers of epic romantic dramas and beautiful scenery will certainly get something out of this film and some, such as my wife, will find it a truly memorable experience. Recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is good but not spectacular.

    The feature is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is close to the original aspect ratio of 1.66:1.

    The picture was reasonably clear and sharp throughout although somewhat affected by light grain which became heavier from time to time. Very occasionally the grain lapsed into macro-blocking such as on a wall at 28:38. There was no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was quite good.

    The colour was wonderful, rich and solid throughout. The wonderful colours of the costumes and scenery were very well rendered.

    The only noticeable artefacts were jagged edges and mild aliasing such as on blinds at 95:40 and some edge enhancement e.g. 94:50. .

    There are subtitles in English. The English subtitles were clear and easy to read, although somewhat small. There were also a few misspellings and some summarisation. Some lines flashed by a little too quickly to be read. The subtitles are automatic, however can be turned off if desired.

    The layer change occurs at 100:46 causing a slight pause.
    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is excellent especially considering the age of the film. This soundtrack sounded better than many brand new films I have reviewed.

    This DVD contains a French Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s. Don't be alarmed that the case refers to it as an English soundtrack - it is definitely the original French. This 5.1 track was very immersive and warm.

    Dialogue seemed to be clear and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The score of this film by Patrick Doyle is quite impressive as I mentioned above, and sounds very rich and warm in this transfer.

    The surround speakers were surprisingly active for a 15 year old film with quite a lot of surround effects such as rain, market and crowd noises and music accents.

    The subwoofer was also surprisingly well used for drums during the funeral, thunder and other effects.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu included music and the ability to select scenes.

View of Indochine (41:50)

    This 40 minute French production is a behind-the-scenes documentary made at the same time as the film. Unfortunately it probably only contains 15 minutes of interesting material. It is in French but English subtitles are provided. It includes interviews with the director, producer and other cast and crew over footage of the filming process. OK but not essential viewing.

R4 vs R1

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

    This movie is available in Region 1 (NTSC), Region 3 Korean (NTSC), Region 0 UK (PAL) and Region 2 French (PAL) editions. The French version contains 2 discs and includes extras such as a commentary and interviews in addition to the extra included here plus both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS soundtracks. Unfortunately, the French release has no English subtitles on anything including the film, so is not really suitable for most local consumers. The others are quite similar although our local release is the only one with 5.1 sound - the others all have 2.0 surround. The only review I could find of the Region 1 transfer indicates that the video quality is probably superior to ours as with the Korean release. This is a tough choice as the Region 1 release does not include any extras (other than text cast info) and only has 2.0 sound, however seems to have superior video quality. All things considered I will go for the local release which I would guess has the video and audio from the French release with added subtitles and one of the extras.

Summary

    A beautiful if slightly melodramatic romantic period drama set in French colonial Vietnam.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    The set has one extra which is of reasonable but not spectacular quality.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Saturday, June 17, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

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