Sunday, November 2, 2014

Abuse Of Weakness on DVD!

Okay, I've done a couple posts leading up to it, but now I finally have the official Strand DVD release of Breillat's latest film, Abuse of Weakness, in hand. The transfer naturally looks great, since you'd almost have to go out of your way to screw up a brand new release. I've provided a screen cap, above (right click and "view image" to see it full size), for you to judge anyway. The IMDB lists this as 2.35:1, while this is visibly about 1.85:1; but I think that's just the IMDB being inaccurate. I could certainly see shots like the one above especially benefiting from an HD blu-ray presentation, but for a DVD release, you really can't hope for any better than this.

The extras are as detailed in my last post, but now that I've actually had the chance to watch them all, I can get a little more specific. The short film is indeed her Venice Reloaded short, which looks great here, and you've got the trailer for this film as well as Sleeping Beauty, Bluebeard and four other Strand releases.

Finally, the most compelling extra, the new interview with Breillat. This was apparently recorded at the Melbourne International Film festival and is a good 18 minutes long. It's a very good interview, covering the essential point of how this film mirrors her own real life incident, as well as how this film fits in with the rest of her body of work, working with Isabelle Huppert and Kool Shen, differences between her book and the film, and it even addresses her unmade film Bad Love, which I posted about back in 2008. She is a bit hard to understand here, to the point where I was wishing for subtitle options despite the fact that she's speaking English; but if you're patient and willing to concentrate enough to make it out, it's absolutely worthwhile.

And the film itself is quite compelling... even compared to her other films, I'd say it's not her best, but pleasingly near the top. A large portion of this has to be credited to a command performance by Isabelle Huppert. She and Breillat feel like ideal collaborators, and I'd love to see her continue to become the Mastroianni to Catherine's Fellini, or the Keener to Catherine's Holofcener. And if you had any misgivings about the male lead being given to a rapper, I have to say Kool Shen was actually quite convincing and natural as Huppert's foil.

So, I'm pleased to report this is a pretty ideal DVD release. And that's good, because there's still no signs of one in France, the UK or other markets, so they'll have to import our US disc, too. The release date is Nov. 11 - strongly recommended.