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Cœur fidèle [Masters of Cinema] [UK] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: B (Region-Locked)
  • Classification: PG
  • Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
  • Studio: Eureka Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: June 27, 2011
  • RRP: £23.48

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B004YJZ97M[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:5/5]

An undisputed classic of the silent era, Jean Epstein’s 1923 film Cœur fidèle (True Heart) is a visually stunning, artfully crafted masterpiece of violence, love, and loss. The story is of a young  orphan woman, Marie (Gina Manès) mistreated by her foster parents, forced to work away her days at a dismal job and pushed into a relationship with a no-good town drunk, known as Little Paul (Edmond Van Daële). Marie dreams only of escaping to be with her true love Jean (Léon Mathot), but the two are forced apart by circumstance. Two violent altercations between Paul and Jean finally separate the two young lovers for good, but Jean is relentless in his pursuit of Marie. The final heartache comes when he returns and realizes Marie now has a baby, and he takes steps that puts the child life in jeopardy.

Epstein’s film is filled with glorious cutaways, fade-ins and outs, and, most notably, a famous carousel scene that evokes a dream-like, almost surreal world that anticipates the filmmaker’s later works.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

I could say that a film from 1923 is never going to look spectacular, which is partly true, but after recently reviewing The Great White Silence from BFI, a film that is 100-years-old for which a complete negative no longer exists and seeing how good it looks in comparison to some other films, I’m not so sure anymore. Anyway, for a film from 1923, this is still an excellent transfer. Granted, there are the necessary issues with the source such as scratches, tramlines, and specks of dust and dirt, some flicker and variances in grain, but this AVC 1080p transfer looks quite authentic and avoids heavy-handed processing to make it look “modern.”

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Yes, event a “silent” film has a running score, this one a brand-new piano score from composer Maxence Cyrin. It’s presented in a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo mix that has a nice stereo spread, a natural piano sound and no evidence of the distortion issues that can crop up when recording the notoriously difficult to capture instrument.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

On-disc supplements are slim, consisting only of a high definition photo gallery, which is itself very compelling, but the excellent 44-page booklet is a definite win for film collectors and cinephiles.

The supplements provided with this release are:

  • Photography Gallery (1080p) – Thirty screens of rare 1923 photography.
  • Booklet: a 44-page booklet containing rare production photography. And writing about the film by Jean Epstein, Henri Langlois, René Clair, and more.
  • DVD

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Cœur fidèle is perhaps a prime example of the technical heights to which silent filmmaking had risen before the talkie era, which would once again see a return to more stationary, less experimental camera work due to the restrictions of the new equipment. It would be a long time before the cinematic world would get back to such techniques again. The film arrives in this dual format, Masters of Cinema edition from Eureka ready to assume a starring role on any true cinephile’s shelf.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B004YJZ97M[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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