The Quiet Room (1996)

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Released 27-Nov-2009

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1996
Running Time 92:27 (Case: 102)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Rolf de Heer

Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Celine O'Leary
Paul Blackwell
Chloe Ferguson
Phoebe Ferguson
Kate Greetham
Todd Telford
Peter Ferris
Peter Green
Case Custom Packaging
RPI Box Music Graham Tardif

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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 None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes, Mitre 10 - not really annoying, but obvious
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     After the controversy of Bad Boy Bubby, Rolf de Heer's next film was another bold departure - this time into the mind of a seven-year-old girl. When writing the screenplay, Rolf de Heer tried to immerse himself in the mind of a child. Through a child's eye he imagined watching a marriage breakdown from the perspective of a couple's young daughter. His story deals with the hurt and betrayal experienced by the child, as her parents blindly fight and argue their relationship away.

    The Quiet Room is a brave film in many ways. Most of the narrative is told through the inner voice of the young protagonist and the vast majority of the action never leaves the confines of the family home.

    Naturally, the casting of The Quiet Room was very important to the credibility of the film. Seven-year-old, Chloe Ferguson plays the young girl and her real-life sister, Phoebe plays the same character at the age of three. Chloe is in nearly every scene of the film and her performance gives the film real authenticity. The parents are played with equal proficiency by Paul Blackwell and Celine O'Leary.

    The Quiet Room centres around the household of an unknown family. For years the parents of a seven-year-old girl have fought verbal battles, some of which, have become physical.

    Things aren't all bad though and for the most part, these parents are devoted to their only child. She is very well cared for - to the point of being spoilt and she doesn't want for much. But there is one issue that is a constant source of frustration for her parents.

   Some time ago the girl decided to punish her parents for their corrosive behaviour. She vowed to stop speaking from that day forward. She holds true to the vow for many years, but when her parents relationship reaches a crisis point, the girl must find a way to break her silence and contribute to a true reconciliation.

    The Quiet Room was nominated for the Palme d'Or at Cannes in 1996. It remains one of Rolf de Heer's lesser known films, but is no less important in his overall body of work.

    This film certainly won't appeal to everyone. But for those with patience and an appreciation for something outside of the mainstream, you might be enlightened.

At the time of writing this review, The Quiet Room is only available as part of Umbrella's, Rolf de Heer Collection. It is not currently available for separate purchase.

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Transfer Quality


    The Quiet Room is presented in the correct aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    Despite some softness to the image, the transfer generally looks fine.

    There is a reasonable level of sharpness and clarity throughout. Blacks were clean and shadow detail was quite good.

    Rolf de Heer uses colour to reflect mood in the film. Warm colours reflect good times, while cool colours reflect conflict. In general, colours were nicely balanced on the disc.

    There were no MPEG artefacts evident on the disc. Film-to-video artefacts were minor and included some aliasing on timber blinds. Film artefacts were barely noticed.

    There are no subtitles available on this DVD.

    This is a DVD 5 disc, so there is no layer change.

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


    There is only one audio track available on the DVD, English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), which is surround encoded.

    There were no adverse problems with the dialogue quality or audio sync.

    The original music score is again credited to Graham Tardif. His score for The Quiet Room is intelligent and compliments the film really well. Elements of his score are reminiscent of Michael Nyman's musical style.

    The surrounds and subwoofer were active mainly during music passages.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     Like two other films in Umbrella's Rolf de Heer Collection, this edition of The Quiet Room is completely void of anything but the film - even menus.

    There is no main menu or scene selection menu. After the Umbrella logo has played and the National Film & Sound Archive notice has appeared on screen, the disc goes straight into the film. At the conclusion of the film, the screen stays black until you press the enter or play button on your remote - this will simply restart the film.

R4 vs R1

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

    There is a US edition of The Quiet Room available, but I'm not sure if it is R1 or region-free. The US edition was released by Image in 2008 and apart from the NTSC transfer, it seems exactly the same as this Umbrella release.


    After the controversy of Bad Boy Bubby, Rolf de Heer's next film was the beautifully written and acted, The Quiet Room. Although, it's not a film for everyone, this will reward those with patience and a desire for something outside of the mainstream.

    The transfers are fine.

    There is absolutely nothing but the film on this edition.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

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