The French Collection: Volume 2 - Thrillers

The French Collection: Volume 2 - Thrillers

DVD Rating: ***1/2

Reviewed by: Anton Bitel

Read Anton Bitel's film review of The French Collection: Volume 2 - Thrillers

The disc for Hidden comes with a superb 25-minute making of featurette (Hidden Face), showing writer/director Michael Haneke at work behind the scenes, and including interviews with him, his actors Juliette Binoche, Daniel Auteuil, and producer Margareth Menegoz. Haneke comes across, paradoxically, as both a perfectionist and a filmmaker open to on-set improvisation.

There is also a 25-minute interview with Haneke in which he articulates with great intelligence his conception of Hidden as a "moral tale" on the theme of how one "can bear the fact of being guilty". He discusses various possibilities of what the film (and its final image) might mean and how its mystery might be solved, while refusing to impose a single fixed solution. Unsurprisingly, he declares a dislike for the artificially resolved endings of mainstream cinema. Filmographies of Haneke, Binoche and Auteuil are thrown in, as well as the film's original theatrical trailer (which is, if anything, even more unnerving than the film itself).

Copy picture

The disc for Lemming is similar, more than making up for the lack of an audio commentary with some judicious and pointed extras. In a 25-minute interview, writer/director Dominik Moll reveals that the entire plot was constructed around an original idea of a man discovering a lemming in his drainpipe – and early drafts even had the principal characters dashing for Scandinavia. It was only when co-writer Gilles Marchand came on board that the theme of possession emerged.

Six short featurettes offer bite-size tastes of the film's story development, acting and post-production effects, as well as behind-the-scenes footage of Moll at work on-set. There are also filmographies for Moll, as well as for actors Laurent Lucas, Charlotte Gainsbourg, André Dussollier and Charlotte Rampling, and trailers for both Lemming and Moll's previous feature Harry, He's Here to Help.

Unlike Artifical Eye's earlier, separate DVD releases of Hidden and Lemming, The Beat That My Heart Skipped was originally released as a double-disc edition (ART372DVD). Only the first of its two discs has been included in this Collection, however, with the result that all the extras previously available (two interviews with writer/director Jacques Audiard, additional interviews with co-writer Tonino Benacquista and composer Alexandre Desplat, deleted scenes, rehearsal footage, Q&A with Benacquista and actors Romain Duris and Linh-Dan Pham) are missing here.

Reviewed on: 14 Jan 2008
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The French Collection: Volume 2 - Thrillers packshot
Three top-notch films from across the Channel, now out to own as a box set.
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Product Code: ART372DVD

Region: 2

Ratio: 1:1.78

Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1

Extras: Interviews, featurettes, filmographies

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