DVD Rating: **

Reviewed by: Anton Bitel

Read Amber Wilkinson's film review of Julia

So crucial is Tilda Swinton's presence to the film Julia, whose character gives it its title and features in its every scene, that it makes perfect sense to privilege a 14-minute interview with her as the main extra on this DVD.

In it, she tells of how, having met director/co-wrote Erick Zonca only once before under unusual circumstances at Cannes (both, though official guests, found themselves somehow barred form the official closing night party), she was contacted by him again much later out of the blue with a script idea that he had written especially for her, and which just happened to match exactly the kind of role (a hyper-intelligent alcoholic) that she had, by coincidence, been wanting to play for several years.

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It is the sort of convoluted and improbable anecdote that, but for the fact that it is true, sounds like one of Julia's more tortuous confabulations. Swinton points out that her character tells the truth just twice in the entire film – a film which she describes with memorable aptness as "this zoological experiment in amoral compassion". We also learn that Julia was orignally just a working title, with Swinton's favourite alternative title being the unlikely My Arse Is On Fire, which she says captured perfectly the frantic mood on-set, given that a third of the budget was cut one month before shooting began.

Also included here (apart from a theatrical trailer) is just under half an hour of deleted scenes, all set before the kidnapping and serving further to establish Julia's character. There could have been a lot more of these, as Zonca and his co-writer Aude PY explain in the excellent (subtitled) introduction, because a total of four and a half hours of exploratory footage were originally shot, with the intention of then editing them down, Cassavetes-style, to feature length. "The editing," Aude reveals, "was long and painful", with each cut of their beloved material a source of frustration and disappointment. Still, for all the quality of these sequences, the film simply could not have been any longer, making the 'deleted scenes' option their proper place on the disc.

Reviewed on: 07 May 2009
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Julia packshot
An alcoholic finds herself in deep trouble after kidnapping a kid.
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Product Code: CFDV002

Region: 2

Ratio: 2.35:1

Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1

Extras: Interview with Tilda Swinton, deleted scenes, theatrical trailer

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