The Benoît Jacquot Collection Blu-ray Review
THE DISENCHANTED (1990)
Beth (Judith Godrèche, in her first lead role) lies in bed while her boyfriend (Malcolm Conrath, 1995’s RENDEZVOUS IN PARIS) shaves. He suggests that she find someone else to sleep with (“The uglier the better.”) so she will appreciate what she has. She darts from the room and down the stairs.
She also faces trials at home, as she has been left the caretaker of her sick mother (Thérèse Liotard, Yves Robert’s MY FATHER’S GLORY and MY MOTHER’S CASTLE) and younger brother (Thomas Salsmann, in his debut). There is also the addition of what might be far too many male figures in her life.
THE DISENCHANTED doesn’t present a story about a girl unaware, but rather one who acknowledges her place and knows what is best for those that mean the most. While some occasions may seem a bit over the top (there is a character called Sugar Daddy who is just that, although not entirely as the viewer might expect), the movie is generally genuine in what it wants to observe about Beth in regards to how she lives, grows and nears a certain breaking point.
What stands out most about THE DISENCHANTED, though, aren’t director Benoît Jacquot’s intentions, but rather Godrèche’s wonderful mature performance.
A SINGLE GIRL (1995)
Valérie (Virginie Ledoyen, who earned a César Award nomination for Most Promising Actress) sits her boyfriend, Rémi (Benoît Magimel, who would also appear in Mathieu Kassovitz’s LA HAINE in 1995), down in a coffee shop. She stalls and they spat, but she finally tells him: she’s pregnant. There is a brief discussion, but soon Valérie has to rush off.
It’s an intriguing setup, but soon Valérie is at her first day of work at an upscale hotel, where she’s employed as a waitress. Some is revealed about the teenager and she meets a number of other employees (who range from kind to perverted), but it doesn’t seem to fit with the opening scene. This could be interpreted as just the distraction that Valérie would need, but it also takes away from learning more about who the character is.
Told mostly in real time (this is abandoned for the misguided epilogue), Benoît Jacquot’s A SINGLE GIRL is at least imaginatively presented, even if the movie don’t quite add up to much more than a girl wandering from room to room.
KEEP IT QUIET (1999)
Grégoire Jeancourt (Fabrice Luchini, 1996’s BEAUMARCHAIS THE SCOUNDREL) has just been released from prison, having been locked up for a reason that is not made explicitly clear. He is part of a prominent family, with a popular TV personality brother, Louis (Vincent Lindon, 1992’s LA CRISE).
The more promising parts of KEEP IT QUIET arise out of the central relationships in the movie: that between the brothers and that between Grégoire and his wife, Agnès (Isabella Huppert, 1998’s THE SCHOOL OF FLESH). Here are familiar faces to Grégoire and yet there is a lost bond. Louis even calls him “weird,” surely a description that wouldn’t have fit his pre-prison days. Yet, as the movie progresses, the characters seem more stale, as if the actors are ready to call it a day nearly every time they’re onscreen.
Further pulling the viewer out of interest is the lack of focus, with a few too many characters who don’t add enough to the central story, thus only barely allowing Benoît Jacquot’s KEEP IT QUIET to show signs of being a proper character study.
Video: 1.85:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec on THE DISENCHANTED and A SINGLE GIRL; 2.35:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec on KEEP IT QUIET. All three films have been given 2K restorations, giving each a healthy look that offers fine details, accurate colors and an overall clean look that will please Benoît Jacquot fans.
Audio: French 2.0 Stereo on all three films. All three films have clear dialogue, ambient atmospheres and effective scores that come through naturally and without any significant faults.
All three films feature the following special features:
Feature length audio commentaries by critics Wade Major and Tim Coghsell: The commentaries offer a wealth of information regarding both director Benoît Jacquot and his filmography, with obvious attention paid to THE DISENCHANTED, A SINGLE GIRL and KEEP IT QUIET, with notes on the productions, casts, themes and more.
On-Camera Discussion between Director Benoît Jacquot and Kent Jones (54:07 in total): These interviews, recorded at The Academy Theater at Lighthouse International in New York, feature Jacquot discussing each film, his inspirations, the stories and much more.
Original Theatrical Trailer
Theatrical Re-Release Trailer