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Muriel: Film By Alain Resnais [DVD] [1963] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Region 1 encoding. (This DVD will not play on most DVD players sold in the UK [Region 2]. This item requires a region specific or multi-region DVD player and compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product. New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them (click here for details) Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.

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Product details

  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000LW7L04
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 241,575 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have seen Muriel twice, first on the R1 DVD (Koch Lorber). This later Eureka/MoC R2 release differs by having better picture and a nice booklet. The colors and details are the same, but the aspect is correct on MoC, as the picture is slightly squeezed on the R1. (Also the subtitles on the R1 are yellow, which I find a little disturbing.)

The picture shows signs of age, it is not especially sharp and rather grainy. But the colors are vivid. Despite this I guess the quality of the transfer is as good as it can get (the R1 shows he same grain). And I watched it on a projector without any problems.

The Booklet contains two essays, the first (by B.Kite) is more theoretical and a little fluffy, and the other (by Anna Thorngate) sets the film in it's historical context and gives a more straightforward (and better) analysis. As a complement, I can recommend Richard Neuperts excellent book "A History of the French New Wave Cinema", where Muriel is analysed and set in the context of the 'new wave' and Alain Resnais other films.

Muriel, ou le Temps d'un retour came out 1963, shortly after the end of the algerian war. It takes place in Boulogne, a city which met a lot of destruction in WW2, and then rapidly modernized with big functionalist concrete buildings. Here Helene lives with her son Bernard, in an apartment where "everything is for sale" as Helene works as a antique dealer. They are visited by Alfonse, a lover of Helene since long ago. And Francoise, Alfonse's lover. The film then follows the characters during a period (we don't know for how long). Some themes of this complex film is memory, identity, and fragmentation (Helene's apartment is fragmented, as is the city and actually the relations of the characters and the characters themselves).
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
French avant-garde and former French New Wave director Alain Resnais` third feature film which succeeded his highly acclaimed first feature film "Hiroshima Mon Amour" (1959) and "Last Year at Marienbad" (1961), was written for the screen by French poet Jean Cayrol (1911-2005) and tells the story about a middle-aged antique dealer named Hèlène Aughain who lives in her inner-city apartment in the provincial port-town of Boulogne-sur-Mer with her restless and secretive stepson Bernard who is haunted by a woman from his past named Muriel. Their lives changes when Hèlène is visited by her old lover Alphonse Noyard who has brought along a young woman named Francoise.

Masterfully directed by one of the greatest directors in cinema history, this character-driven and dialog-driven mystery, a metaphysical drama with rigorously composed visuals and sounds, about memories of love and war, where the past and the present is intertwined and where time dissolves, is a detailed and realistic portrayal of everyday life in a urban French town, a character in itself, where things much like the central characters are incomplete. Like Jean-Luc Godard`s "Le Petit Soldat" (1960), Alain Resnais` film pointedly deals with themes of the Algerian War of Independence which had ended the year before "Muriel, or the Time of a Return" was released.

The efficient use of cinematic devices and the creatively fragmented narrative is pivotal in this stringently structured and acutely written story, which is an enchantingly atmospheric and cryptic chamber piece with memorable acting performances.
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Format: DVD
Having just watched the film I can say it is a brilliantly structured, but flawed masterpiece. It’s an everyday story of the banality of petit- bourgeoise French people’s lives told to the background of the end of the Algerian War and WW2. A magnificent central performance by Dephine Seyrig as Helene, anchors the film emotionally in her desire to renew a love from the past. 'Muriel' explores past trauma through memory, and documentation, as Helene's step-son, Bernard , uses a film he shot in Algeria with his voiceover of memories, using a tape-recorder to relive the experience, about the torture and murder of an Algerian woman, Muriel, which he witnessed with other soldiers who took part. There is an element of music hall ,comic book and allegory as the bounder from the past, Alphonse, returns with his new mistress, disguised as his niece, and his list of tall stories and anecdotes, to win back the heart of Helene. Helene herself uses her apartment as a showroom where she sells furniture, that comes and goes, just like the people who come to buy it.

Also Boulogne, a town under on-going reconstruction, mixes the old with the new. Mother and son are trapped in a painful past they cannot free themselves from. All the characters are isolated in their separate lives, shown even when they’re in groups. The subjective point of view is synthesised into an objective narrative that isn't locked into one person’s consciousness. It portrays the personal pain of several characters by focusing on exteriors: furniture, a half-smoked cigarette, an empty train station. The editing captures the fragmentation and pace ofmodern life, the music by Heinze, captures the alienation of the people.
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