Mademoiselle Chambon (2009)

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Released 10-Aug-2011

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Interviews-Crew-Director Stephane Brize (31.33)
Deleted Scenes-(11.42)
Theatrical Trailer-(1.16)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 96:17 (Case: 101)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Stéphane Brizé

Madman Entertainment
Starring Vincent Lindon
Sandrine Kiberlain
Aure Atika
Jean-Marc Thibault
Arthur Le Houérou
Bruno Lochet
Abdellah Moundy
Michelle Goddet
Anne Houdy
Geneviève Mnich
Florence Hautier
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $34.95 Music Ange Ghinozzi

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     Mademoiselle Chambon is a gentle romantic drama set in a small town in the south of France. It is a thinly plotted yet deeply emotional experience.

     Builder/renovator Jean (Vincent Lindon) lives a happy existence. He draws satisfaction from his work, starting from an empty space and creating a home for people or changing the interior of the house which, in turn, alters their lives. He has a loving wife Anne-Marie (Aure Atika) and a young son. When his wife suffers a minor back injury at work Jean has to take over some of her duties, including picking their son up from school. He is drawn into contact with his son's teacher Mademoiselle Chambon (Sandrine Kiberlain). She is a substitute teacher, travelling from locale to locale, imparting knowledge, but without any real sense of belonging. These characters are drawn to each other throwing their ordinary happy lives into disarray.

     Mademoiselle Chambon is not an infidelity drama in the mould of Damage with furious sex scenes and even more furious eruptions from the wronged parties. This is a very minimalist film from director Stephane Brize which pares back all the overt trappings of the romance genre so that each look and brushing of the hand speaks volumes. Real-life couple Kiberlain and Lindon are brilliant as the would-be lovers with all their meetings shot through with emotional resonance. On the rear of the DVD case a featured reviewer compares the film to Brief Encounter. That is not a bad reference. Where the David Lean film had Rachmaninov as an unseen character, in this film there is solo violin music, composed by Elgar and others, as played by Mademoiselle Chambon. Further, the structure of the film plays out much like Brief Encounter.

     For those who demand a "meet cute" in their romance this film will be far too subtle. Much of the film has the couple sharing moments and banalities as their desire and fears act as an undercurrent. The director allows the characters to live their lives and much time is spent watching Jean, the careful builder, work with his materials. The film scored a number of Cesar nominations but in a year, 2009, that saw the mighty Un Prophete it only picked up one for Adapted Screenplay. For those who give it time, Mademoiselle Chambon is an exquisite and very moving film which stays long in the memory.

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Transfer Quality


     Mademoiselle Chambon was shot on 35mm film and projected at the cinema at a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. That aspect ratio has been preserved for this DVD release. It is 16x9 enhanced.

     This is a well shot, good-looking modern French film. The colours are strong and stable. The flesh tones are accurate and there is a good degree of sharpness throughout. There is a light film-like grain structure to the movie.

     There are no technical defects with the transfer.

     There are yellow subtitles in English which are clear and easy to read.

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


     There are two soundtracks for Mademoiselle Chambon. One is a French Dolby Digital 5.1 track running at 448 Kb/s and the other a French Dolby Digital 2.0 track running at 224 Kb/s.

     Both soundtracks give a good account of this film. There is not a huge amount of work for the surround sound to do-I noticed it best in the opening credit sequence when the sounds of Jean working created a pleasing soundscape. The sub-woofer is rarely used. Neither of these should be seen as a criticism of the film which relies upon dialogue and also silence for effect. The dialogue is clear and easy to understand.

     There are no technical defects with the sound.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     There are three extras added this DVD.

Interview with director Stephane Brize

     This is a long interview which is surprisingly candid. The director is asked about the qualities of his film including the adaptation of it from the original novel by Eric Holder. He is very frank about his fears and concerns as he attempted the adaptation. Much time is devoted, thankfully, to an important scene in the film where he analyses, perhaps agonises, over the decision to include the scene, as well as the manner in which he filmed it. The running time might make it a little long for most. It is shot in a fairly dry manner but nevertheless provides some useful insights into the film.

Deleted Scenes

     These scenes are introduced by film scholar Stephane Goidet. He explains, in a manner which doesn't make a great deal of sense, that it was decided to put the deleted scenes into a non-chronological film so that they were, as it were, a short film we watched alongside the movie. That doesn't really work, however these scenes are worth watching. There is a pre-cursor to the scene referred to above which in my view does not add to the moment. Otherwise these scenes are interesting but not compelling.

Theatrical trailer

     The trailer for the film.

R4 vs R1

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

     The film has been released in Region 1 with the same feature set (plus a few stills). I has also received a Region A Blu-ray release which would enhance the experience.


     Mademoiselle Chambon is a minimalist romance which is light years from any Hollywood infidelity drama and all the better for that distance. It is well acted and the DVD transfer is pleasing throughout both in sound and vision terms. The extras are interesting.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer SC-LX 81 7.1
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 7.1

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