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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Filmmaking > French New Wave > Comedy > Shorts > Sexuality > Contempt 4K (1963 aka Le Mepris 4K/Lionsgate 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray)/Early Short Films Of The French New Wave (1956 - 1966/Resnais, Truffaut, Varga/Icarus Blu-ray Set)/Full Body Massage (1995/Roeg/MVD/Un

Contempt 4K (1963 aka Le Mepris 4K/Lionsgate 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray)/Early Short Films Of The French New Wave (1956 - 1966/Resnais, Truffaut, Varga/Icarus Blu-ray Set)/Full Body Massage (1995/Roeg/MVD/Unearthed Blu-ray)



4K Ultra HD Picture: B+ Picture: X/B/B Sound: B- Extras: C-/C+/C Films: B/B-/B-



The French New Wave remains one of the most important and influential movements in cinema history and beyond. Here are more examples of why...



Jean-Luc Godard's Contempt 4K (1963 aka Le Mepris 4K) upgrades one of the the late, great French New Wave and world cinema innovators' most successful and still-discussed films. By having Brigid Bardot, a huge international movie star and sex symbol in his film, his first film in both full color and widescreen cinemascope, this film had serious buzz at the time. You have to remember that color was still very new and most formats were not great, while the scope frame was still treated as a gimmick at the time before it became legitimized by the 1970s.


This comical film about a stuffy epic production with Jack Palance, legendary director Fritz Lang and Bardot showing up often naked (about a decade before XXX films were legal and the counterculture was about to break out worldwide) is one we have reviewed twice before and you can read more about those versions starting at this link:


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/9550/StudioCanal+Collection+Blu-ray+Wave+One:+Godar


Though I have looked at it on and off since I covered the older Blu-ray edition, this is by far the best version of the film ever issued on home video and the film itself has aged very well and even appreciated in value in many ways, but that is more suited for a longer, separate essay. However, I would start by saying now that we are in a age of new conflicts that should have ended decades ago, most feature films are usually badly shot digitally and we have a re-suppression of sexuality and the beauty of the nude image, the film has a new value typical of the honesty of Godard in this auteur period. Along with the recent Criterion 4K upgrade of his landmark film Breathless (1959, reviewed elsewhere on this site) hopefully means more of his classics will get the same treatment.


Extras are less than the older Blu-ray, especially since half of them need HD upgrades and the booklet from that set is not reprinted and/or updated, but you do get Digital Copy and the same excellent introduction to the film by world film scholar and Godard expert Colin McCabe, so the extra room is used for higher fidelity performance of the actual film.



Early Short Films Of The French New Wave (1956 - 1966) is a solid (and hopefully not the last) collection of short films that used to be seen al the time in their time, especially in art house theaters and on college campuses, but have fallen a little more to the wayside than they should. Now, they are being restored one by one and reissued in various sets, et al. This double Blu-ray disc set offers the following:


Disc 1

ALL THE WORLD'S MEMORY - Alain Resnais (1956)


FOOL'S MATE - Jacques Rivette (1956)

Starring Virginie Vitry and Jacques Doniol-Valcroze! Featuring cameos by Claude Chabrol, Jean-Luc Godard, and Francois Truffaut.


THE MARINES - Francois Reichenbach (1957, made with military access permission)

Reichenbach's original version with anti-militarist commentary.


ALL THE BOYS ARE CALLED PATRICK - Jean-Luc Godard (1957)

Written by Eric Rohmer! Starring Anne Colette and Nicole Berger


THE SONG OF STYRENE - Alain Resnais (1957, in color and scope!)


O SAISONS, O CHATEUX - Agnes Varda (1958)


THE OVERWORKED - Jacques Doniol-Valcroze (1958)

Co-written by Francois Truffaut! Starring Yane Barry, Jean-Pierre Cassel, and Jean-Claude Brialy.


A STORY OF WATER - Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut (1958)

Starring Caroline Dim and Jean-Claude Brialy.


CHARLOTTE AND HER BOYFRIEND - Jean-Luc Godard (1958)

Starring Jean-Paul Belmondo (voiced by Jean-Luc Godard!) and Anne Colette.


LOVE EXISTS - Maurice Pialat (1960)


JANINE - Maurice Pialat (1961)


500 FRANCS - Melvin Van Peebles (1961, following the money)


PARIS, A WINTER'S DAY - Guy Gilles (1962)


Disc 2

IN MEMORY OF ROCK - Francois Reichenbach (1963, very amusing)

Featuring French rock stars Eddy Mitchell, Vince Taylor and Johnny Hallyday


THE LITTLE CAFE - Fran├žois Reichenbach (1963)


THE GOUMBE OF THE YOUNG REVELERS - Jean Rouch (1965)


THE BOTANICAL AVATAR OF MADEMOISELLE FLORA - Jeanne Barbillon (1965)

Music by Michel Legrand and Jacques Loussier! Starring Bernadette Lafont and Louis Mesuret.


THE FIFTEEN YEAR OLD WIDOWS - Jean Rouch (1966)

Cameo by Maurice Pialat!


We covered the color Resnais short in a recent Resnais short collection on Blu-ray, also from Icarus, at this link:


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/16096/Alain+Resnais:+Five+Short+Films+(1948+-+1956/


Some of the titles are self-explanatory and others not quite, but I don't want to ruin any surprised, but the 'Nouvelle Vague' very much respected the short film in a way it does not get respect today or is only considered filler for TV and cable. That makes this set a re-reminder of how valuable such films are and if anything, need to be valued that strongly again. We have become so fragmented a society that even Music Videos are too much for some, so time to do a second take on all of that. Additionally, these are some of the lesser-seen works of some of the most important filmmakers of all time, so they are worth going out of your way for.


Extras include an excellent 12-page booklet on the films, while the disc adds the 1968 black and white on-camera interview with Jean Renoir that runs about a half-hour and is very much worth seeing.



Nicolas Roeg's Full Body Massage (1995) is one of the last feature-length films by the late, great British filmmaker, originally meant as a low-budget theatrical release, cable network Showtime scooped it up (as they had Adrian Lyne's remake of Lolita, reviewed elsewhere on this site) and made it part of their late night rotation of sexy films. After many years of working with Teresa Russell (Eureka, Black Widow, Insignificance) Roeg turned to another underrated beauty who could act and made her career on her talent and not strictly on her looks: Mimi Rogers.


After a few months delay, Rogers plays art dealer Nina, who is a self-made woman and knows how to take care of herself, including making sure she works out and gets the best possible massages. She has a regular masseuses in the very skilled Douglas (Christopher Burgard) who she feels more connected to than she might be telling him, but maybe he understands. However, without telling her in advance, he has older massage expert Fitch (the underrated Bryan Brown) who he sends to substitute for him.


At first, she is uncomfortable, but as they talk and he turns out to be her intellectual equal, the thorough massage also turns out to be an elongated discussion on sex, intimacy, honesty, relationships, privacy, private space, sensuality, sexiness and life. That may seem pretentious and unsexy, but not here. Rogers is fearless and as often nude as Bardot in Contempt, which may have patly influenced Roeg's work here. It becomes a rare, honest, beautiful character study of intimate relationships, albeit mostly heterosexual. The film allows what is going on here to apply otherwise, though it has a twist at the end I did not quite buy and hurts the film a little.


Otherwise, it is a remarkable film and Roeg knew with the talent he had, he could really make this film work, not intended as softcore Showtime Network fluff, but the kind of mature grown up film we see too little of. I am thrilled it has received the Hd treatment and respect it is long overdue to receive, like several Roeg gems that need and deserve to be restored, reissued and rediscovered. He is one of the most underrated filmmakers ever and this proves it all over again.

Extras include a Stills Gallery, TV Spot and Trailer, though I hope this is successful because this deserves an expanded special edition like all Roeg films.



Now for playback performance. The 2160p HEVC/H.265, 2.35 X 1, Dolby Vision/HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on Contempt is a big improvement over the previous two, and even dueling versions of the film on home video, with the older Criterion DVD having a cleaner print and transfer, while the older Lionsgate Blu-ray had better color and some better definition, yet had more print damage and dirt. Studio Canal and company spent three years with the original 35mm camera negative and extras dupe materials to cover for any fading, damage, et al. They also made sure the colors matched the dye-transfer, 35mm, three-strip Technicolor release of the film in its original releases and the result surpasses all previous video releases.


Detail is great, depth is also as intended and color is especially as rich and accurate as intended, down to the flesh tones and tone of Miss Bardot's skin. Godard and Coutard's attempt to show how naturalistic and beautiful, as well as personal, the scope frame could be without the pretense of any kind of epic (like the fictional one the film mocks within itself) is more successful here than you will see outside of a mint Technicolor print if you can find one. Note too that this was not shot in the old CinemaScope format, but in Franscope, with lenses that were better, but have aged a bit since the film was issued 60 years ago. A few shots exceed my letter grade too and even offer demo shots for the best systems around. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix is even a little better than the sound on the older Blu-ray, but only so much can be done about the original theatrical monophonic sound. Still, I doubt the film will ever sound better than it does here, though I wonder if the music score is out there somewhere in stereo.


The 1080p image on the French New Wave shorts collection are usually in 1.33 X 1 black & white form, but some are 1.33 X 1 color and Styrene repeats the excellent Dyaliscope and EastmanColor transfer from the Resnais shorts set linked above. Like several of the silent shorts sets we've reviewed in recent years, special notes appear before and after each film to show how they were restored, who did it and how recently. The PCM 2.0 Mono sound is as good as these monophonic productions will ever sound and they are a real pleasure to watch, saved, preserved and as remarkable as ever.


Then we have the 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Full Body Massage comes form a 2K scan and was shot by no less than Director of Photography Anthony B. Richmond, B.S.C. (The Beatles: Let It Be, The Man Who Fell To Earth, Old Dracula, The Greek Tycoon, The Indian Runner) who is as excellent in shooting intimate, personal, private and human spaces as wide ones, which might recall a bit of his work on Roeg's Don't Look Now (reviewed on Criterion 4K elsewhere on this site) but does use softness and slight diffusion for effect often without it going overboard, but especially on Rogers. Maybe the transfer would reveal more if a 4K edition is issued, but this looks as good as it ever did for a 35mm film shot this well, only to only show up on analog TV. All Roeg films need and deserve HD Blu-ray and 4K releases and treatment.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mix is not bad for an Ultra Stereo-intended release, a cheaper, lesser version of Dolby's old analog, A-type Dolby System noise reduction format. Usually, that means more harmonic distortion and shows that the film was original going to be a theatrical release, but it is fine enough here. Note that DTS, Sony Dynamic Digital Sound and Dolby Digital had been in theaters for a few years, so the production was pinching pennies. Since they are exceptionally talented, it does not show as much.



- Nicholas Sheffo


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