The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie [UK] Blu-ray Reivew

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  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (24Hz)
  • Audio Codec: French, English, German DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono (48kHz/16-bit)
  • Subtitles: French SDH, English, German
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: B (Region-Locked)
  • Certification: 15
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Run time: 102 Mins.
  • Studio: StudioCanal
  • Blu-ray Release Date: July 16, 2012
  • RRP: £19.99

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:5/5]

An absolute masterpiece of surreal comedy, the 1972 film from Luis Buñuel, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie), may be light on any actual plot, but it makes up for that in its heavy symbolic meaning. In his typical fashion, the filmmaker completely reduces the bourgeois to a monolith of blundering buffoons as the film centers on a group of friends who continually plan a dinner party get together, but constantly have their plans interrupted by a series of increasingly absurd and surreal circumstances. The undercurrent of this comedy of manners finds members of the group involved in illicit affairs with each other’s spouses, scheming members of the clergy and more. To dig further into Buñuel’s comic manifesto, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie could arguably be seen as a constant search for indulgence and satisfaction – a craving that can never be satisfied. Of course, Discreet Charm is not to be left without Buñuel’s signature dream sequences and keen abstract visual eye.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

While this restoration on Blu-ray presented at 1.66:1 in an AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement generally looks good, with clean imagery, a textured layer of natural grain and vibrant color palette, there are some spots where source damage jumps very noticeably and detail softens. It looks to me like the film was restored from multiple sources of differing quality and these few scenes were blended in as best as possible.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3/5]

There isn’t much to say about this monaural soundtrack, offered in the original French in a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit) configuration alongside English and German lossless DTS-HD Master Audio dubs. It is a bit boxy and does occasionally have some crackle, but it works for the material.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1.5/5]

While there isn’t much offered here, the analysis by Buñuel expert Peter Williams is rather insightful and worth watching.

The supplements:

  • A Critical Analysis of the Film by Peter William Evans, Author, The Films of Luis Buñuel; Subjectivity and Desire. (1.78:1; SD/PAL; 00:34:14)
  • Trailer (1.66:1; SD/PAL)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

One of the great surrealist masterpieces from one of the great filmmakers, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie has been given a solid restoration to Blu-ray from the folks at StudioCanal for its 40th Anniversary providing for the perfect opportunity to rediscover this artistic gem.

Additional Screen Captures

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]



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