BLU-RAY REVIEW

Christmas Tale, A (Un conte de NoŽl)

Featured In Issue 145, December 2009

Picture5
Sound3.5
WSR Score3.5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
(Studio/Distributor):
The Criterion Collection
(Catalog Number):
492
(MPAA Rating):
Not Rated
(Rating Reason):
(Retail Price):
$39.95
(Disc Type):
Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
(Widescreen Edition):
Yes
(Full Screen Edition):
No
(Running Time In Minutes):
152
(Color Type):
Color With B/W Sequences
(Chaptered/Scene Access):
Yes
(Closed Captioned):
Yes
(Regional Coding):
A
(Theatrical Year):
2008
(Theatrical Release):
Yes
(Direct-To-Video Release):
No
(Disc Release Date):
12/01/09
(THX® Digitally Mastered):
No
(Director):
Anauld Desplechin
(Screenplay/Written By):
(Story):
(Music):
(Director Of Photography):
(Production Designer):
(Visual Effects):
(Costume Designer):
(Editor):
(Supervising Sound Editors):
(Re-Recording Mixers):
(Executive Producers):
(Co-Producers):
(Producers):
(Academy Awards):
(Principal Photography):
(Theatrical Aspect Ratio):
(Measured Disc Aspect Ratio):
(Disc Soundtrack):
DTS HD Lossless 5.1, PCM 24/48 1.0
(Theatrical Sound):
(Theatrical Re-Issue Soundtrack):
(DTS Bit Rate):
(Dolby Digital Bit Rate):
(Additional Languages):
(French Language):
(Spanish Language):
(Chinese Language):
(Subtitles):
(Cantonese Language):
(Mandarin Language):
(Japanese Language):
(Italian Language):
(German Language):
(Portuguese Language):

In A Christmas Tale (Un conte de NoŽl), Junon (Deneuve) and Abel (Roussillon) are the parents of three grown children: Elizabeth (Consigny), a melancholic playwright with a mathematician husband and a tortured teenage son, Paul (Berling); Henri (Amalric), the self-destructive black sheep, banished from family events by Elizabeth five years prior; and youngest Ivan (Poupaud), the peacemaker married to the beautiful Sylvia (Mastroianni). Ivan's eldest died from leukemia as a boy. When the disease reappears again in the family, the troubled family gathers at Christmas to discuss who can be a bone marrow transplant donor. That simple family-reunion however, can't begin to describe the unpredictable, emotionally volatile experience that ensues. There is feuding, drunkenness, and bed-hopping, as everyone struggles to make sense of the mysteries of life. (Gary Reber)

Special features include the documentary L'Aimťe (HD 66:04), Arnaud's Taleóa new documentary featuring interviews with Director Desplechin and Actors Amalric and Deneuve (HD 35:59), two theatrical trailers, and a booklet featuring an essay by critic Phillip Lopate.

The new 2.35:1 1080p AVC transfer was approved by Director Arnaud Desplechin. The transfer was created from a 35 mm interpositive, and artifacts were manually removed, using MTI's DRS system and Pixel Farm's PFClean system. The picture is stunning, with well-balanced contrast, excellent resolution, and vivid colors. Blacks are deep and solid, and shadow delineation is revealing of depth. The picture presents a natural palette, with warm and rich hues. Fleshtones are accurate throughout. This is a beautifully photographed picture, with dimensional imagery, that won't disappoint. (Gary Reber)

The uncompressed DTS-HD Master Audioô soundtrack has been mastered at 24 bit from original digital audio master files, using Pro Tools HD. The dialogue is perfectly intelligible, with generally good spatial delineation, though, at times the sound is forward and chesty sounding. The music score is nicely recorded, with a wide and deep soundstage extending into the surrounds, with a low-level presence. Surround envelopment is basically limited to the music, but occasionally atmospheric sound effects are present. Overall, this is a nicely presented soundtrack, save for the forward-sounding dialogue. (Gary Reber)