Lorna's Silence (Le silence de Lorna) (2008)

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Released 6-May-2009

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Interviews-Crew-with The Dardenne Brothers
Interviews-Cast-with Arta Dobroshi
Theatrical Trailer-Lorna's Silence
Teaser Trailer-Director's Suite Trailers
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2008
Running Time 100:59 (Case: 105)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jean-Pierre Dardenne
Luc Dardenne
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Arta Dobroshi
Jérémie Renier
Fabrizio Rongione
Alban Ukaj
Morgan Marinne
Olivier Gourmet
Anton Yakovlev
Grigori Manoukov
Mireille Bailly
Stéphanie Gob
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown French Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/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

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Plot Synopsis

     If you've seen any of the films by the Belgian filmmakers, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, you will know their work is far from light-hearted entertainment. The films of the Dardenne brothers provide a poignant, thought provoking and often harrowing insight into the darker side of humanity. The brothers follow a simplistic, but regimented style of filmmaking. They use extensive rehearsals to workshop their screenplays, placing no time limit on the process. They also shoot their films in continuity and utilise small crews who are familiar with their creative requirements. Their latest film, Lorna's Silence, delves into the dark world of the illegal international marriage trade.

     Lorna (Arta Dobroshi) is an Albanian woman in her late twenties. She dreams of a better life, buying and running a café with her boyfriend, Sokol (Alban Ukaj). In her quest for quick money, she has entered into an arrangement with a small underworld group. Lorna has just gained Belgian citizenship through a marriage of convenience to Claudy (Jérémie Renier). The shady group, led by Fabio (Fabrizio Rongione) and his henchman, Spirou (Morgan Marinne), now require Lorna to separate from Claudy and marry a wealthy Russian man.

     Although Lorna and Claudy live together in the same apartment, it is purely to preserve the illusion of a loving marriage. Claudy is a relapsing drug-addict and the main reason for his selection by Fabio is because he can be easily eliminated when no longer required. The group's plan for a quick divorce is for Claudy to die from an "accidental" overdose, thus freeing Lorna for marriage to the Russian. Although Lorna shows little compassion for Claudy in general, she does try to prevent his demise. However, she also realises her silence is paramount to the success of the overall operation. While Lorna remains focused on her long term goal with Sokol, she is soon forced to question her silence amongst a mounting web of danger, suspicion and deceit.

     Performances from the ensemble cast are all first-rate and, as usual, the brothers’ direction is assured. Lorna's Silence should appeal to those familiar with the previous work of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. However, if you're looking for some light-hearted entertainment on a quiet Saturday night, you might prefer to look elsewhere.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Lorna's Silence is presented in the correct aspect ratio of 1.85:1, which is 16x9 enhanced.

     The transfer exhibits an impressive degree of sharpness and clarity. Blacks were clean and shadow detail was generally excellent. Colours appeared natural and well balanced. There were no MPEG artefacts in the transfer. Film-to-video artefacts were negligible and film artefacts were non-existent.

     English subtitles are available in your choice of yellow or white. Both are clear and easily legible. I noticed that on a couple of occasions the subtitles were accompanied by a form of number coding. This is obviously an error on the disc but, as I said, they were very infrequent and weren't at all problematic to the reading.

     This is a DVD 9, dual layer disc. The layer change was easily noticed at 36:58.

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

Audio

    There is only one audio track available on the disc - French / Albanian Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s), which is surround encoded.

     Although my comprehension of the French and Albanian languages is minimal to say the least, the dialogue quality sounded clear throughout. This is the first film by the Dardenne brothers to feature any form of music. The music was used in one scene and over the final credits. The carefully selected piece of music is a Beethoven Sonata. This film is very dialogue driven, so surround activity was limited. It consisted mainly of ambient sound, such as passing cars etc. For the same reasons above, the subwoofer was also used minimally.

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

Extras

Menu

     The main menu is animated, 16x9 enhanced and features a sample of the Beethoven Sonata used in the film.

Interview with director's Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne (36:58)

     This interview was filmed in 2009 and features filmmaker, Solveig Anspach discussing Lorna's Silence with the Dardenne brothers. Solveig also asks many questions relating to their style and principals of filmmaking. In French with English subtitles.

Interview with actress Arta Dobroshi (14:59)

     This interview was also filmed in 2009. Arta Dobroshi is a thoroughly charming and dedicated actress. In this interview she discusses her acting career and her experiences working on Lorna's Silence. In English.

Theatrical Trailer - Lorna's Silence (1:26)

Director's Suite Trailers

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, Region 1 edition of Lorna's Silence released by Sony in January 2010. The only extra included in this edition is the theatrical trailer.

     Of greater relevance to our local edition is the Region 2, UK release. This was released under the title The Silence of Lorna in April 2009 by New Wave. It features the same two interviews and theatrical trailer as the Madman edition. The UK set also includes the addition of a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mix. I would suggest this probably wouldn't make a great difference to this dialogue driven film. With all that in mind, there seems little reason to look past the local release from Madman.

Summary

     Lorna's Silence is a tragic, poignant and thought-provoking film by the Dardenne brothers.

     The transfers are both very good. The small selection of extras is interesting and relevant.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DMP-BD35 Blu Ray Player, using HDMI 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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