DVD Review

Mouchette (Taiwan:R0/NTSC and Cinefil/Imagica:R2/NTSC)

Reviewed by Nick Wrigley of Masters Of Cinema.

dvd cover The USD 10 Region 0 disc is an exact port of the Japanese Region 2 Cinefil Imagica DVD, which runs for about USD 40. The disc boots to the Cinefil Imagica logo and the menus are also Cinefil Imagica (production notes, director/actor notes — all in Japanese). Subtitles are player generated and either Japanese or Chinese (there are no English subtitles). Unfortunately on two separate players, and on our Mac, we have been unable to turn either of the subs off. We can only toggle between them. The "subtitles off" option apparently does nothing, a conclusion reached after trying a number of different approaches.

The transfer is non-anamorphic 1.66:1, which is the correct ratio, except we noticed the first letter of some of the credits was offscreen (and this is on our overscan-tamed TV) so maybe the transfer was cropped all the way round? Once the film was playing we really didn't notice it at all — everything looked well framed.

Ghislain Cloquet's extraordinarily beautiful cinematography of the woods and fields around where Mouchette lives look better than we've ever seen them on VHS or TV. The transfer is from a 95% clean print and is quite gorgeous in places. There are no discernable digital compression or motion errors. The sound is also particularly good. Bresson's emphasised sounds have never sounded as clear. The hip 60s music that plays during the dodgem-sequence is full and rounded. Very impressive. Our hearts warm at the strong possibility of Criterion releasing this title on DVD in 2004!

One point that we would love to clear up: at the very end of the film Mouchette splashes into the river and as the ripples subside, it's clear (with the clarity of this DVD) to see that the last 10-20 seconds of this shot of the water (the final shot of the film) are on some kind of loop... at one point the footage begins playing backwards for a few seconds, then forwards again, then backwards again at the same point as before, then forwards again.. it does this on a loop until the fade to black (music is playing over all this). Is this something peculiar to this DVD? To be investigated.

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