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Alexandre le bienheureux(1968)
Alexandre, a young and honest farmer, is oppressed by an authoritarian wife, who makes him work like a dog...
For more about Alexandre le bienheureux and the Alexandre le bienheureux Blu-ray release, see Alexandre le bienheureux Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on May 21, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Philippe Noiret, Marlène Jobert, Françoise Brion
Director: Yves Robert
» See full cast & crew
Alexandre le bienheureux Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, May 21, 2013
Yves Robert's "Alexandre le bienheureux" a.k.a "Alexander" (1968) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of French label Gaumont. The supplemental features on the disc include an original trailer for the film as well as a documentary film by Dominique Maillet, featuring interviews with actors Marlene Jobert, Pierre Richard, Andre Legrand, and Françoise Brion, amongst others. In French, with optional English and French SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-Free.
One has to have a heart of stone not to fall in love with this film. It is so good that even if the actors in it did not utter a single word it still would have been just as fascinating to behold. Some of the best sequences in it must have taken weeks, possibly even months to get right. The things the little dog does are simply extraordinary.
The main protagonist, Alexander, is played by the great Philippe Noiret (Cinema Paradiso, Fort Saganne). He is a farmer who lives with his wife in a small town somewhere in the French countryside. This woman is the very definition of a dictator – each morning she demands that Alexander does the amount of work most men in the town do in a month. Alexander does his best to please her, but she is never ever happy.
One day, another farmer gives Alexander a small puppy. It is love at first sight – Alexander can't take his eyes off the puppy while the puppy cannot stop playing with him. But because he isn't allowed to keep it at home, Alexander asks the farmer to take care of the puppy until it is big enough to live alone in his yard.
A few months later, Alexander's life changes dramatically – the dictator crashes her car and dies on the spot. Barely able to contain his excitement, Alexander quickly buries her and then locks himself in his giant house. There he decides to stay in bed and sleep for as long as he can.
Alexander's dog occasionally goes to the grocery store and purchases everything his master needs to cook himself a meal without leaving his bed. Most of the local residents dislike Alexander's new lifestyle but agree that they ought to respect his privacy. Meanwhile, a beautiful young woman (Marlene Jobert, We Won't Grow Older Together, Rider on the Rain) arrives in town and gets a job in the local grocery store. For a while, she is the only one to openly admire Alexander and his decision to live his life as he pleases.
The plot of the film is rather predictable but observing Alexander's relationship with the little dog makes it a very special experience. After Alexander moves to his house and announces that he does not want to be disturbed, the dog becomes the real star of the film. There are sequences where Alexander's four-legged friend does some truly remarkable things. For example, when the locals refuse to sell food to Alexander so that they can get him out of his room, the dog collects potatoes and picks up eggs from a nearby farm, places them in a small basket and carries them to his owner. In another sequence the dog jumps up and picks up apples. And in another sequence towards the end of the film the dog repeatedly attempts to change Alexander's mind after he goes out on a date with the beautiful woman from the grocery store.
Yves Robert's direction is wonderful. The locations seen in the film are particularly good and the use of warm and lush colors most appropriate. The manner in which the dog is filmed is also terrific – despite the fact that the dog often does extraordinary things it is essentially treated as just another character in the film.
The film was lensed by cinematographer René Mathelin (The Tall Blond Man With One Black Shoe, Le Magnifique). The film's beautiful soundtrack was composed by the legendary Vladimir Cosma (Jean-Jacques Beineix's Diva, Daniel Duval's La Derobade).
Alexandre le bienheureux Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Yves Robert 's Alexandre le bienheureux a.k.a Alexander arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of French label Gaumont.
The overwhelming majority of the film looks wonderful. Detail is very good, especially during close-ups (see screencapture #4), while the larger panoramic shots often impress with some incredibly vibrant colors. However, there are traces of minor noise corrections. They are not as easy to spot as those in Gaumont's releases of Jean-Luc Godard's Bande a part and La Chinoise, but are indeed present. Because they were very gently applied, I think that very few viewers will be able to spot them, but they should have been avoided (see screencapture #16). This being said, the rest of the presentation is virtually flawless. There are no serious compressions issues to report in this review either. Lastly, there are absolutely no debris, damage marks, cuts, or warps to report in this review. (Note: This is a Region-Free Blu-ray release. Therefore, you will be able to play it on your PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Alexandre le bienheureux Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one standard audio track on this Blu-ray disc: French DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. For the record, Gaumont have provided optional English and French SDH subtitles for the main feature.
The lossless track is excellent. The film is complimented by a wonderful score courtesy of the great Romanian composer Vladimir Cosma that gives the film a very special flavor. Overall dynamic activity is also very good. The dialog is crisp, stable, clean, and very easy to follow. The English translation is outstanding.
Alexandre le bienheureux Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Alexandre le bienheureux Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
It is great to have yet another film with the late Philippe Noiret on Blu-ray. This time it is Yves Robert's wonderful comedy Alexander. I do not think this film was ever released on DVD in the United States, so this Region-Free Blu-ray release is most welcome. The technical presentation could have been even better, but I don't have a problem recommending Gaumont's release to you. RECOMMENDED.
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