Camille Claudel 1915
R2 - United Kingdom - Soda Pictures
Review written by and copyright: Samuel Scott (7th October 2014).
The Film

***This is a technical review only. For reviews on the movie from various critics, we recommend visiting HERE.***

In CAMILLE CLAUDEL 1915, Juliette Binoche gives a mesmerising performance as Auguste Rodin's protege (and later mistress), and sister of the Christian/mystic poet Paul Claudel.

Inspired by the correspondence between Paul and Camille, writer/director Bruno Dumont (Humanite, La Vie de Jesus) focuses on Camille Claudel's struggle to find understanding and recognition as an artist - and the moments before her brother's visit while she is confined to a mental institution.

Shot in a real psychiatric asylum, Bruno Dumont brings together a supporting cast comprised of real-life patients and their actual nurses that, alongside Binoche, create an emotionally intense ensemble - and a rare cinematic experience. While the camera rarely ventures outside of her prison's thick walls, the story of Camille Claudel's 29-year confinement is in itself a tale of defiance against social norms - and a testament to the power of creativity and fortitude.

Video

United Kingdom/Canadian label Soda Pictures have released French biographical feature "Camille Claudel 1915" on to DVD for British audiences using an anamorphic transfer which is in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The disc is in PAL format, and the transfer is of good quality.

Set in the French winter of 1915, the feature makes good use of 'cold' colours, with many blues and greys being used throughout. There are also blue hues/tints which are often used, but they are never overpowering, and don't make the film look unnatural. Skin tones look great, whilst blacks are deep with minimal crush. Details are surprisingly good at times for the format, especially amongst the dull colours and in longer range shots. Close-up details, especially faces and fabrics of clothing, are also very well presented, with only minor aliasing here and there which is barely noticeable. As to be expected for such a new feature, there are no issues with damage such as nicks and scratches. There are no compression issues, and no major problems with edge enhancement or artificial sharpening.

The film is uncut, and runs 91:16.

Audio

Just like the American release from Kino Lorber, Soda Pictures haven't included a 5.1 option, and we must make do with a Dolby Digital 2.0 Dual Mono track (which is the original track, in the original French language). Not having a 5.1 option on a new feature is quite surprising, but as a whole, "Camille Claudel 1915" is a dialogue driven movie that uses bouts of deafening silence to it's advantage, and a 5.1 track may not have added as much ambience as one may think. Don't get me wrong though, there are some small ambient effects, but they would possibly have had more impact with some surround activity. Dialogue is clear at all times, with no mumbled speech. As to be expected, no damage is present, with no drop outs, scratches, or background hiss. The quiet structure of the track suits the feature, and this is a solid, if uneventful presentation.

Optional subtitles have been included in English.

Extras

Start-up Trailers:
- "Omar" (1:54)
- "Ilo Ilo" (1:50)
- "Journal De France" (1:36)
Theatrical Trailer (1:17)

Overall

The Film: B Video: B+ Audio: B Extras: E Overall: B

 


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