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Full Moon in Paris

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    C.D. Workman
    Senior Member

  • Full Moon in Paris



    Released by: Film Movement
    Released on: October 20, 2015
    Director: í‰ric Rohmer
    Cast: Pascale Ogier, Tchéky Karyo, Fabrice Luchini, Lisa Garneri, Virginie Thévenet, Hervé Grandsart, Mathieu Schiffman, Anne-Séverine Liotard, Christian Badim, Lí¡szlí³ Szabí³
    Year: 1984
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    í‰ric Rohmer was among the handful of directors at the forefront of cinema's post-WWII "French New Wave," credited, along with fellow iconoclasts Franí§ois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Agnes Varda, and André Bazin (among others) with cutting "classy" cinema from its literary moorings and repurposing it as a tool for social commentary. He achieved international fame and acclaim with his 1969 film My Night at Maud's, which was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 1970 Academy Awards but lost to Algerian director Costa-Gavras' film Z. He died in 2010 at the age of 89, with 27 theatrical films, 15 or so shorts, and more than two dozen television episodes to his credit. His last film, Les Amours d'Astrée et de Céladon (The Romance of Astrea and Celadon) had been released in 2007.

    Rohmer spent the 1980s crafting his six-part "Comedies and Proverbs" series, with each of the narratively unrelated installments based on a proverb. First came 1980's The Aviator's Wife, followed in 1981 by A Perfect Marriage. Pauline at the Beach in 1983, and Full Moon in Paris in 1984 were the next two. 1986's The Green Ray and 1987's Boyfriends and Girlfriends wrap up the… hexology?

    True to its theme, Full Moon in Paris opens with a reminder to the viewer—in French, of course—that "A man with two women loses his soul; a man with two homes loses his mind." While the link between proverb and storyline is a bit hazy, the tale itself is pretty straightforward. A charming, exuberant twenty-something art scholar named Louise (Pascale Ogier) is shacked up in a suburban Paris apartment with Remi (Tchéky Karyo), a thirty-something architect. He wants to get married, she doesn't, and one gets the idea early on that she's probably the wiser of the two on this issue. Although faithful—at first, anyway—to her lover, Louise does enjoy her partying and her flirting, making an almost-daily beeline from her crappy day job as a designer's assistant to the nearest party or parties, keeping an apartment in Paris so she has a place nearby to crash when the evening gets away from her. Which is the case more often than not.

    Remi, on the other hand, finds parties boring ("Dancing is bad for the circulation," he asserts). He stays home most evenings—or does he?—while she wiles away a little too much time with a Frenchly aggressive married writer named Octave (Fabrice Luchini). All of this ends up going pretty much where you'd expect it to, with everyone involved discussing the living shit out of it every step of the way.

    Still, the finished product is a whole lot better than any synopsis could make it sound. The screenplay is superb, the characters are expertly drawn, and there's nary a flaw to be found in the film's performances or direction. It's "slice of life" cinema at its most authentic, carefully articulating questions, then leaving them for the viewer to resolve. Kind of like life itself.

    On a melancholy note, lead actress Pascale Ogier died from a heart attack possibly brought about by drug use not long after the film was completed. She was only 25 years old.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Film Movement has wisely chosen to release Full Moon in Paris on Blu-ray in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.33:1 rather than re-matting it for widescreen televisions. The MPEG-4 AVC-encoded disc sports a brand new 1080p transfer from original film elements and looks sterling. There's a mild amount of speckling but nothing too egregious, and it certainly doesn't interfere with the ample detail and solid, naturalistic colors. Grain is mostly organic, though it appears slightly enhanced in the darker portions of the frame, where there's mild crush. All in all, the disc features a beautiful filmic look that should please Rohmer's cult following.

    The disc's only audio track—the film's original soundtrack—comes in French LPCM 2.0. There's plenty of partying and music going on in the film, and the track handles it well. Music and dialogue are well mixed, so that neither obscures the other, and there's no issue with the defects so common with films of this age and obscurity. Though the film's dialogue is in French, removable English subtitles are included.

    In addition to two trailers for Full Moon in Paris—one the original theatrical trailer (1:44), the other a newly created hi-def trailer (1:21)—trailers for The Marquise of O (1:34), Amour Fou (1:44), and If You Don't, I Will (1:55) are included as well. But the most interesting extra is an archival interview with Pascale Ogier shot not long before her untimely death. The interview lasts two minutes and forty seconds and includes hi-def inserts from the film itself. Dialogue is in French with removable English subtitles. (Note: the subtitles cannot be removed from the film footage.) Rounding out the extras is a 12-page booklet about the film written by author and film historian David Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film).

    The Final Word:

    Full Moon in Paris is an entertaining diversion with terrific performances from everyone involved and solid direction from í‰ric Rohmer. Film Movement's Blu-ray release is mostly terrific, thanks to a hi-def restoration that is detailed and organic. There's an ample number of extras, including trailers from the film, trailers for similar films, a short interview with the female lead, and a booklet written by film historian David Thomson. Perhaps its most interesting aspect is the view of Parisian nightlife it offers.

    Note: The original French title of Full Moon in Paris is Les Nuits de la pleine lune, which translates more accurately as The Nights of the Full Moon.

    Christopher D. Workman is a freelance writer, film critic, and co-author (with Troy Howarth) of the Tome of Terror horror-film review series. Volume 2 of that series (covering the 1930s) is currently available from Midnight Marquee Press, Inc.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!




















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