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Gabrielle [2005] [DVD]

3.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Isabelle Huppert, Pascal Greggory, Raina Kabaivanska, Thierry Fortineau, Thierry Hancisse
  • Directors: Patrice Chereau
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • DVD Release Date: 23 April 2007
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MR9F70
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 77,720 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

French art drama about the death of love and the end of a relationship. A well to do French couple, Jean and Gabrielle, (Pascal Greggory and Isabelle Huppert) live a well-heeled good life in their Paris home, their every whim catered by servants. On the surface, they are the matrimonial ideal and yet beneath the veneer, they live a desperate, forced co-existence, loveless and chaste. An anniversary celebration is marred by Jean's discovery of a note from Gabrielle saying she has gone to be with a lover. His world in ruin, he awaits her return whereupon the couple go back over the highs and lows of their relationship.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
"Gabrielle" is an intense and emotional story based on Joseph Conrad's lesser known novel "The Return". This period French language drama tells the tale of a marital crisis in the household of a respectable ,successful but unemotional French businessman. He returns home from work one day to find a letter from his wife saying that she has left him for another man.However shortly after he reads this letter, she returns back home, apparently having changed her mind. The rest of the film is devoted to discussions and arguments between the flabbergasted and distraught cuckolded husband ,who now believes that his wife is a stranger ,and his saddened, distant and unrepentant spouse. "Gabrielle" is a well acted and impressive film that dissects the nature of relationships and marriage very well.
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Directed by Patrice Chéreau's this dreamlike interpretation of Joseph Conrad's short story The Return, starring the lovely Isabelle Huppert, certainly isn't the type of period movie that you take your mother to. In this claustrophobic and rather subversive film, her abusive husband damages an aristocratic woman until she is almost stripped dramatically naked.

The film is set in Paris in 1912 and the upper-class couple is Jean and Gabrielle Hervey (played by Huppert and Pascal Greggory). They live a life of exclusivity, holding lavish dinner parties in a brocaded world of seemingly impeccable comfort. But after ten years their charmed life is bereft of any kind of intimacy, even though Jean boasts that neither are in need of closeness.

No longer sexual with each other, and sleeping in twin beds, the arrogant Jean treats his wife like an object, intent to flatter her for her impeccable style. Gabrielle, who has resigned herself to an eventually loveless marriage, has now made gestures toward freedom. She's been having a secret affair with a man whom Jean detests and as the movie opens, has left her husband for him.

Mysteriously though, Gabrielle tries to reverse her decision and returns home, just as Jean finds her confession. Of course, he is shattered, just like the wine glass that he drops as he reads the letter, for he cannot believe that she would do such a thing. They both argue and bicker, with Gabrielle standing by her decision and forced to enter into a type of confessional about why she left in the first place.

Most of the story focuses on both characters' individual need to connect as they try to dissect their marriage and their reasons for being together.
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Format: DVD
a rich and succesful business man has been married for ten years to an intelligent and pretty wife, but beneath the glittering surface sexual interest has waned.
Suddenly she leaves a note to say that she has fallen in love and left him, but she returns a few hours later. He is bewildered, angry and distraught. His probing fails to explain why she has left him and, still more, why she has come back. After an attempted rape and his inability to respond to her sexual invitation, he storms out on her never to return. The story is set in the nineteenth century world of servants and lavish dinner parties, but there are really only two characters in the film. The others are observers rather than participants. Chereau introduces variety by alternating black and white with colour photography and background music with silence, but the rationale is not always obvious.
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French screenwriter and director Patrice Chéreau`s tenth feature film which he co-wrote with French screenwriter Anne-Louise Trividic and produced, is an adaptation of a novel called "The Return" from 1897 by Polish author Joseph Conrad. It was screened In competition at the 62nd Venice Film Festival in 2005 and is a France-Italy co-production. It tells the story about a wealthy and succsessful middle-aged man named Jean Hervey who returns home on the 10th anniversary of his marriage and finds a letter written by his wife named Gabrielle containing shocking confessions that causes an array of questions.

This visually captivating period piece is a gripping and efficient chamber drama set in a bourgeois milieu where French filmmaker Patrice Chéreau portrays a married couple`s crucial confrontation after a consequential revelation brings everything up to the surface. With stunning cinematography by French cinematographer Eric Gautier, production design by French production designer and art director Olivier Radot, costume design by costume designer Caroline De Vivaise, timely score by composer Fabio Vacchi, a detailed and well written story, an interesting study of character and astute filming, this atmospheric and close to theatrical tale about love and marriage stands out and is empowered by Pascal Greggory and Isabelle Huppert`s ardent lead performances.
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From the opening atmospheric shots in black and white of a crowded Parisian railway station in the age of the Belle Epoque, we are immediately engrossed within a claustrophobic world where nothing seems clear. Music reminiscent of Ravel's `La Valse' adds to the sense of a deeply unsettled world beneath the ostensible platitudes of bourgeois existence. (The music was composed by Fabio Vacchi, previously unknown to this reviewer, but whose modern-sounding work nevertheless possesses heavy does of Ravel or of Debussy's wild and unchained impressionist expressionism. The soundtrack also reminded me at one moment of Bartok's `Bluebeard's Castle': how apt!)

Patrice Chereau's film, based in the Monceau area of paris, is an interpretation of a short story by Joseph Conrad, exploring the inner life of a bourgeois couple. Those who have read Conrad (his best known novellas are `Heart of Darkness' and `The Secret Agent', but for me the novel `Nostromo' is arguably his best) will be aware of his use of language, his employment of strict and precisely-chosen words, but chosen by someone whose first language was no English. They will see his writing style reproduced faithfully in the film.

Jean, the husband, narrates how he met his wife ten years ago. He tells us how, "I love her as a collector does his most prized item. Once acquired, it becomes his sole reason to live ... We have no intimacy, nor need of any ... I have no need for affairs ... just twin beds and two nightstands, and Gabrielle in the other bed." And then he sees the note his wife has left him on his desk, telling how she has left him; all hell breaks loose into his life. She, realising her mistake, returns only a few hours later. But the worst of it all is her return. She laughs when Jean says he forgives her.
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