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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maison Close - French Drama at it's best
This is NOT one of those French tales which, at the end, leaves you wondering what was going on. No, indeed. This is truly French drama at it's very best. Despite being set in a French brothel, the story itself seems designed not to titillate, but to educate the viewer as to the truly terrible situation the women in this establishment find themselves in. In my view, the...
Published 16 months ago by Little Bren

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Generally good
It takes a while to settle into, as some of the characters are so similar - and watching the sub titles means you don't study the characters as closely. But that said, it is an interesting piece of drama with some good twists.
Published 19 months ago by Mr. J. N. Davies


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maison Close - French Drama at it's best, 28 Dec. 2013
By 
Little Bren (Cheshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This is NOT one of those French tales which, at the end, leaves you wondering what was going on. No, indeed. This is truly French drama at it's very best. Despite being set in a French brothel, the story itself seems designed not to titillate, but to educate the viewer as to the truly terrible situation the women in this establishment find themselves in. In my view, the scenes have been carefully executed to exclude any unnecessary sex & nudity, although being set in a brothel, some such scenes are to be expected, and there is a fair amount of violence, which many would find distressing. Costumes and sets are extremely good, the acting is brilliant, and the storyline is gripping. I watched this whole series with my husband, and we had no idea how the storyline would unfold. Then I ordered series 2, as we've just got to find out what happens next. The series is in French, with English subtitles. My French is not wonderful, but the diction is good, and I was able to follow much of the dialogue.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting, 2 Mar. 2013
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This 8-part (7 hour) French Series was filmed in 2010, and it's surprising that it hasn't appeared here sooner. At first glance this serial might look like a predictable tease-show, but this is one of the most enthralling historical dramas seen for a long time. It is set in Paris just after the fall of Napoleon III, and events centre on a brothel where the girls struggle to exist in a brutally exploiting environment. The merciless human realism in this tense drama lifts it out of its historical setting, and it has powerful dramatic truth.

The first thing that strikes you about the Series is the marvellous lighting and photography. There are frequent after-dark scenes, and the magical way they are photographed is often breathtaking. There is pin-sharp focus on the characters, but the surrounding dark, and the shadows from lamps and candles are wonderfully realised. However, nothing is sentimentalised here, in the setting or the story. There is shabbiness, ugliness and disturbing cruelty, the realism is unvarnished. This is a closed world -as it looked before electricity changed the night. The superb costumes and sets provide a stunning picture of a hidden Paris in the 1870's, brought to very convincing life.

The wonderful French actors in 'Maison Close' restore your faith in film-acting. We look for believable feeling in drama -and here, for once we find it ! Very well cast, the performances in 'Maison Close' are consistently true- almost nothing looks artificial or posed. This is acting from within, gripping the attention. We suddenly enter a shocking, desperate world, where real people are trapped on the edge of survival in an utterly ruthless setting.

What happens to these people, much of it heartbreaking, holds the viewer from the start, and this has little to do with the sexy milieu, which (surprisingly) is not exploited but portrayed with unusual frankness. This Series is so full of authentic feeling that the sexual aspect becomes just part of the unfolding human story. This is sometimes very tough stuff, and may not be everyone's cup of tea -however this is an exceptional thriller from every point of view, don't miss it.
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52 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful content, technically a disappointment, 18 Sept. 2012
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This review is from: Maison Close - Season 1 [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Amazon's product description is quite correct concerning the general plot but what it doesn't properly capture is the atmosphere. This is a very dark, gritty and at times even brooding description of the people working in Paradis which is the center of the attention here, the brothel. Violence is very present most of the time and even disease raises its ugly head. No comedy or stuff to be laughed at here. There's no glorification of what the "working girls" are doing and they do get their share of violence and oppression going to the level of slavery. There's even a rape scene which certainly wasn't something nice to watch. Age classification (18) was spot on, this isn't for the youngsters.

The plot is captivating though and you get the feel for the main characters and learn to feel sympathy for the oppressed women. You will want to know what happends to them and will they make it to the end.

Production value is top notch meaning everything feels authentic right down to the buidings, architecture and clothing. It really feels like you are in Paris 1871.

As far as product details go Amazon's details are very vague. The series spans across 2 discs (not three, there's no "button" for a third disc) containing 8 episodes total. No extras.

Video is H.264 AVC 1080i/50 meaning basically 1080p25 (this is OK if filming was done using 25 frames/s). Video quality leaves much to be desired. Level of detail is very rich (especially clothing looks magnificent) but vertical banding is present even in daylight scenes and there's a lot of digital noise which shouldn't be there. This is distracting at times but won't ruin the experience.

Audio is French 2CH LPCM which is also a bit of a disappointment since you kind of expect to get atleast 5.1 HD sound nowdays. Engligh subs work fine and the level is translation seems to be perfectly fine.

Final words: plot is captivating and if the generic concept interests you then you should definitely pick up this series, you will get hooked. There are some technical issues but they won't ruin the experience.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly interesting story, 9 April 2014
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There is more to it than just romping. It has a coherent story with good twists and turns and surprise ending. The only thing that seems to be a bit sloppy is the music. It just sounds wrong to use 20th century music in this 19th century story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable bit of social history, 3 April 2013
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Fabulous; but the hypocrisy prevalent in the treatment of sex worker characters may make viewers angry. It certainly enraged me, but served to get me further involved in the programme, really made me sympathise with some of the female characters. Love the period feel and attention to the grubby, gorgeous details in the sets and costumes. Love it!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top quality French drama, 15 Oct. 2012
By 
Mr. Jeremy N. Harcourt "jh018q3487" (Horley, Surrey) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Maison Close - Season 1 [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Maison Close is a terrific drama set in a brothel in 19th century Paris. The complex loves and lies of the characters are fascinating. I think it really benefits from a second or third viewing as it is easy to loose who is double crossing who. The intriguing love hate relationship between the brothels madam and her brother are at the heart of a lot of what happens.

The theme of the drama is adult, so you have to watch the volume control on your tv! However Maison Close is about so much more than sex. The plot is intricate and you are soon immersed in a complex web of intrigues, double crosses and betrayals. All of the characters have secrets and a tale to tell. There is no out and out hero or villain and the plot has great depth and complexity. The sound track is a curious mix of modern sounding tunes and more typical "drama" type music.

All in all this is a great series. I think (and hope)that there is a second series on French tv that may develop the plot even further.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Drama, 20 Oct. 2012
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It's true this offering is about an uncompromising and gritty look at life in a Paris bordello, with it's fair share or more of violence, exploitation and sex, but as has already been remarked, it's about so much more than that. The plot is full of double crosses which had me at times working hard to keep up, but the twist at the end of the series was masterful and unexpected.

Some of the shots are dark - and I mean in the sense it isn't always easy to see what's going on! - and initially I didn't know if I'd be put off by the fact the series is in french with subtitles, but to be honest, after the first ten minutes I didn't even notice the fact I was following subtitles (only disadvantage being I couldnt watch this whilst doing the ironing - look away at a crucial moment and you have to rewind to keep up. But really - its not one for watching while you're ironing!)

It isn't all stark - there are some keenly observed moments of humour, chiefly with "the girls" - striking back in the only ways that they can. Watch out for the Phrenologist for example.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars French Closeure, 31 Oct. 2012
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Enjoyable and revealing account of a Maison Close and its occupants. A complex story involving young and more mature women, and their relationships with the men who come to such places.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Drama, 3 Oct. 2013
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Forget Downton, if you want real intrigue, mystery, and drama with a dark edge, then get this series. The series got better as it went along, the plotting was great and kept you guessing where it was going and is set up beautifully for series two. Not for your maiden aunt but nonetheless worth watching, it's not meant to be titillating, just great drama.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a very dark story regarding an upper class brothel, 25 Dec. 2012
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The storyline shows all the up and downs of brothel life which probably rings true even today. The men are all shown in a bad light whilst the women find themselves trapped by "the life" until they start to take things into their own hands. Murder, desease, sadism, lesbianism are all portrayed and so all themes are dark and realistic. I can't wait for season 2.
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Maison Close - Season 1 [Blu-ray]
Maison Close - Season 1 [Blu-ray] by Mabrouk El Mechri (Blu-ray - 2012)
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