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Six Moral Tales, IV: La collectionneuse
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.37:1 Standard
  • French PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • Rohmer's short film A Modern Coed (1964)
  • A 1977 episode of the TVOntario program Parlons cinema, featuring an interview with Rohmer on La collectionneause
  • Original theatrical trailer

Six Moral Tales, IV: La collectionneuse

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Eric Rohmer
1967 | 86 Minutes | Licensor: Les Films du Losange

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $99.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Release Date: May 5, 2020
Review Date: May 9, 2020

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SYNOPSIS

A bombastic, womanizing art dealer and his painter friend go to a seventeenth-century villa on the Riviera for a relaxing summer getaway. But their idyll is disturbed by the presence of the bohemian Haydee, accused of being a "collector" of men. Rohmer's first color film, La collectionneuse pushes the Moral Tales into new, darker realms. Yet it is also a grand showcase for the clever and delectably ironic battle-of-the-sexes repartee (in a witty script written by Rohmer and the three main actors) and luscious, effortless Nastor Almendros photography that would define the remainder of the series.


PICTURE

La collectionneuse, the fourth film found in Criterionís Blu-ray set for Eric Rohmerís Six Moral Tales, is presented on a dual-layer disc in the aspect ratio of 1.37:1. The 1080p/24hz high-definition presentation has been sourced from a new 2K restoration, scanned from the 35mm original camera negative. The film shares the same disc with the third film, My Night at Maudís.

The previous DVD edition was also sourced from a restoration that made use of the filmís original negative, so while I was expecting an upgrade just from the increased resolution provided by the Blu-ray format, I wasnít expecting that significant an upgrade. Yet, at least in terms of detail and general clarity, the improvements over the DVD are enormous. I always thought the DVDís presentation looked pretty good, even upscaled, but revisiting it after viewing this disc it does look incredibly soft now.

Just comparing a few moments in the film between the DVD and the Blu-ray were shocking. A scene early on when Patrick Bauchauís Adrien is first visiting the beach is one of the bigger stunners. The long shot of him by the water is so crisp and clean, but the close-ups of the vegetation in the water are particularly arresting, the details just jumping off of the screen. Another scene, where one character is wearing a red robe, offers another striking difference between the two formats: the DVDís presentation presents a flatter, less textured looking robe (with a red that bleeds a bit) while the Blu-ray displays the finer textures and fibers of the robe far more clearly, while the red is more controlled and contained (part of that could be due to the reds not being as intense, but I will cover that in a bit). Grain is also more prominent here, and it is rendered well most of the time (a handful of shots look a little noisy), and while the source materials look to be clean, there is the occasional fine line flowing through the image. What is a bit surprising is that these same blemishes donít show up in the DVDís presentation, despite using the same source, but I suspect itís because the DVDís image was softened a bit and the lines were just fine enough that the softness mixed with the lower resolution was just enough needed to hide them. Still, even here, they barely register.

Where the presentation is questionable is in its colours. In comparison to the DVD the colours take a far warmer, more yellow tone. The DVD was warm as well, but the colours didnít skew as yellow as they do here: the skies can take on more of a cyan (or even yellow) in several shots, for example. That red robe mentioned previously has also been scaled back in intensity as well because of it. The yellow is noticeable during the opening portion of the film, but once the action moves to the villa the yellow seems to be more intense. Considering the summer feel to the film it could be of course all intentional, but the DVD still conveyed this well. Also, dark scenes are impacted as a couple of nighttime sequences, which are laced with blue, are a bit darker here and some of the details found in these shots on the DVD are harder to see here.

Again, this could be the intended look, and I have not seen the film screened: my only experience with the film previously is the Criterion DVD. But it looks to be amped up too much. Itís the one questionable aspect of an otherwise sharp looking upgrade over the DVD.

8/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

I found this Blu-rayís PCM 1.0 monaural soundtrack to be a bit sharper than the DVDís, but itís still flat and one-note. Damage is not an issue, though, and dialogue and sound effects are clear.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Criterion spreads the six films over three discs, two on each. They then include supplements with each film, porting them over from the DVD. La collectionneuse comes with the exact same features found on the DVD, starting with Rohmerís short documentary A Modern Coed. The 13-minute film looks at the 1963-1964 French school year and how the number of women attending university has increased. It should go without saying it is a product of its time (it almost seems as though the documentary is trying to be reassuring in that the women attending university still want to have a family) but an interesting observational film.

This is then followed by a 50-minute interview with Rohmer from 1977 for the TVOntario program Parlons cinema. Though the topic of the Six Moral Tales comes up, the discussion is far broader, covering the New Wave, other filmmakers and their work (particularly Godard and Chabrol), shooting on 16mm, and American films, which Rohmer is a bit iffy about, at least in the respect of the current-at-the-time trend of political films: heís not fond of the idea of making a fiction film around current events. Amusingly the interviewers ask him about a line from Night Moves, where Gene Hackmanís character says a Rohmer film is akin to ďwatching paint dry.Ē Rohmer hasnít seen that film, but doesnít disagree with the quote. I guess I was expecting there to be more about his work, but since that topic is covered ad-nauseum in the interview on the first disc I rather enjoyed this general discussion about cinema.

The features for the film then close with the filmís theatrical trailer.

Again, material specific to each film in the set would have been welcome, but I rather enjoyed Rohmerís thoughts on the work of his peers and cinema in general.

6/10

CLOSING

A far more filmic presentation in comparison to the previous DVD is only hampered by a lean towards yellow that throws a couple of other aspects of the image off. I still wish the features were more plentiful but the Rohmer interview is a strong addition.




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