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Three key moments, all of them sensual, define Ana's life. Her carnal search sways between reality and colored fantasies becoming more and more oppressive. A black laced hand prevents her from screaming. The wind lifts her dress and caresses her thighs. A razor blade brushes her skin, where will this chaotic and carnivorous journey leave her?
For more about Amer and the Amer Blu-ray release, see Amer Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on February 13, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Marie Bos, Harry Cleven, Delphine Brual
Directors: Helene Cattet, Bruno Forzani
» See full cast & crew
Amer Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, February 13, 2011
Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani's "Amer" (2009) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Anchor Bay-UK. The supplemental features on the disc include: four short films - "Catharsis" (2000); "Chambre jaune" (Yellow Room) (2002); "La fin de notre amour" (The End of Our Love) (2003); "L'Etrange portrait de la dame en jaune" (The Strange Portrait of the Lady in Yellow) (2004); teaser; and original theatrical trailer. The disc also arrives with an exclusive poster. In French, with optional English subtitles for the main feature. Region-B "locked".
Here's a fresh new film that does not play by the rules. It is called Amer (which translated from French into English means biter, rancorous) and it is directed by Belgian helmers Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani, who are reportedly big fans of the classic Italian giallo films. Amer has already been screened at a number of big film festivals, including Sitges - Catalonian International Film Festival and Mar del Plata Film Festival, and has won numerous awards.
The film is broken into three large acts, each representing a life cycle and chronicling an unusual encounter. They are linked by the presence of the main protagonist, Ana, and a giant Victorian mansion hiding various secrets.
The first act sees young Ana (Cassandra Foret) living together with her deranged parents (Bianca Maria D'Amato and Jean-Michel Vovk) and very strange grandmother (Delphine Brual). Though it is not entirely clear what, there is something evil that follows her. Yet no one else but Ana seems to feel its presence, which is why she is left dealing with it on her own.
In the second act Ana (Charlotte Eugène Guibeaud) is a teenager well aware of her sexuality. Together with her mother, she heads to a local shop and immediately attracts the attention of a group of leather-clad bikers. What ensues is a series of visuals that may just be amongst the most erotic ever filmed - without breaking any legal boundaries.
The third and final act is brutal and beautiful, pure gialo, a superb display of style and substance. In it Ana (Marie Bos, Mon Ange) is a woman in her early 30s, who returns to the mansion where she grew up. There are only a few lines of dialog here, but, frankly, none is needed. The visuals are breathtaking and the action electrifying. This is the best of the three segments, with the most unusual and impressive climax.
As cliché as it may sound, Amer is a film that cannot be described with simple words. It has to be seen, or perhaps I should say experienced, to appreciate what it has to offer. It is wide open for interpretation, but it is not incomprehensible. Rather it is so well done that no matter how one approaches it, one will be affected by its originality and creativity.
The camerawork and cinematography are second to none. Practically every single frame oozes refined elegance and grace, most scenes truly resembling moving contemporary pictures. The use of color is also very effective. The mood and tempo of each segment are defined by the gorgeous color explosions.
Various sound effects and an excellent minimalistic music score also enhance the visual experience. The first segment, in particular, is loaded with great sound effects that feel as if they have been lifted straight out of Dario Argento's films.
Note: Earlier this year, award-winning director Quentin Tarantino selected Amer as one of his 20 favorite films of 2010.
Amer Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani's Amer arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Anchor Bay-UK.
This is a strong high-definition transfer. Fine object detail is pleasing, clarity impressive, and color-reproduction very good. The various close-ups, in particular, look fantastic in 1080p - the image conveys wonderful depth and tightness. Edge-enhancement is not a serious issue of concern; neither is macroblocking. I also did not see any traces of heavy noise reduction, though sporadic minor corrections have been applied (most notably during the first segment). The grain structure is intact, and blown through a digital projector Amer conveys a strong organic look. Lastly, I noticed a few compression artifacts popping up here and there, but the overall quality of the high-definition transfer is indeed very good. For the record, I did not see any damage marks, cuts, or stains to report in this review. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Amer Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are two audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and French LPCM 2.0. For the record, Anchor Bay-UK have provided optional English subtitles for the main feature. When turned on, they appear inside the image frame.
The French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is very impressive. It won't test the muscles of your audio system, but it will impress you with its wide range of nuanced dynamics and effective surrounds (the sound design is indeed very good). There is little dialog in the film, but the few lines that are uttered are clear, stable, and exceptionally easy to follow. For the record, I did not detect any disturbing pops, cracks, hissings, or dropouts to report in this review.
Amer Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Amer Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
It is only February, but I have already seen a good number of excellent films that have been released on Blu-ray in 2011, and without a shadow of a doubt Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani's Amer is my favorite. This is a strange, overwhelmingly beautiful and indescribably original film that makes me feel good about the future of Cinema. The Blu-ray disc herein reviewed, courtesy of Anchor Bay-UK, looks and sounds very good. It is, however, Region-B "locked". For those who like to challenge themselves - VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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Amer Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Amer Blu-ray - July 23, 2011
Olive Films will release on Blu-ray Belgian directors Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani's experimental giallo horror film Amer (2009). Last year, director Quentin Tarantino selected Amer as one of his 20 favorite films of 2010. Street date is October 4th.
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