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Pialatï¿½s portrait of contemporary France mocks prosperity as a substitute for social and sexual revolution. Isabelle Huppert abandons her bourgeois friends and a steady relationship for the unemployed layabout Depardieu.
For more about Loulou and the Loulou Blu-ray release, see Loulou Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on January 25, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Gérard Depardieu, Guy Marchand
Director: Maurice Pialat
» See full cast & crew
Loulou Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, January 25, 2013
Nominated for the prestigious Palme d'Or Award at the Cannes Film Festival, Maurice Pialat's "Loulou" (1980) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Gaumont. The supplemental features on the disc include an original trailer for the film; video interviews with assistant director Patrick Grandperret, cinematographer Pierre-William Glenn, editor Yann Dedet, Isabelle Huppert, Gerard Depardieu, and director Maurice Pialat. In French, with optional English and French SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-Free.
The film opens up in a busy night club, where Nelly (Isabelle Huppert, La Cérémonie) meets Loulou (Gerard Depardieu, Maitresse). She is young, beautiful and sophisticated. He is slightly older, slightly inebriated and unshaved. The two dance. Then Nelly's boyfriend, Andre (Guy Marchand, Cousin cousine), appears and makes a scene. She talks to him and then goes back to Loulou. Later that night, while making love Nelly and Loulou break the bed.
In the days that follow Nelly decides to leave Andre, who is also her boss. She is also ready to quit her job, but Andre encourages her to stay. He hopes that they could continue to see each other, and that eventually Nelly will change her mind and come back to him. But the sex with Loulou is so good that Nelly rarely leaves the hotel room she has rented for them.
An old friend of Loulou who has recently been released from prison appears and asks if he could stay with him. Then another of Loulou's friends contacts him and asks if he might be interested in robbing a small warehouse. Loulou agrees to help because he is unemployed and always looking for some extra cash. Nelly does not like the idea because she thinks that the job isn't worth the risk, but decides to accompany Loulou and his friend.
Much to Andre's disappointment, Nelly and Loulou continue to spend time together, and eventually she becomes pregnant. An old foe also stabs Loulou in his favorite café, but the wound quickly heals. Unsure whether he is ready to be a father and have a family, Loulou meets Andre and asks what he would have done if Nelly carried his child.
Loulou has all of the important characteristics Maurice Pialat's films are known for – it is notably raw and at times borderline offensive, looking casual, bursting with energy. The first impression the film creates is that it was meant to highlight the improvisational skills of its cast. But the roughness is indeed part of its intended style, which was clearly inspired by the films of the great Nouvelle Vague directors.
The film is about love and romance, but as experienced by real people who make mistakes and even hurt each other while spending time together. For example, when watching Nelly and Andre argue, it almost feels like their discussions were filmed for a documentary series on modern couples. They are are simple, completely free of the clichés and melodrama that 'serious' films about people falling in love are typically plagued with.
The social element in Loulou is also quite intriguing. At first it seems like Nelly's bourgeois background would become a target – she would fall in love with Loulou and undergo a serious character transformation that will expose her hypocrisy. And she does fall in love with Loulou, but Pialat never condemns her. Then it seems like Loulou is the target – he is a petty criminal, a product of his environment whose weaknesses will be exposed. Pialat toys with his naivety but never decries it.
Depardieu is at his very best in Loulou, at times looking dangerous, other times irresistibly funny. When he is in front of the camera, the energy is always impressive. Huppert is very convincing as the young, sweet, bored and ready to add some spice to her life professional. Marchand is also very good as her possessive boyfriend.
Loulou was lensed by cinematographers Pierre-William Glenn (Francois Truffaut's Day for Night, Bertrand Tavernier's Death Watch) and Jacques Loiseleux (A nos amours, Van Gogh).
Loulou Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.66:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Maurice Pialat's Loulou arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Gaumont.
The latest batch of Gaumont titles, all films directed by Maurice Pialat, gives me hope that in 2013 we will once again start seeing the quality releases we had come to expect from the French studio. I have already looked at all three films and their presentations are indeed far better than those of the recently reviewed Bande Ã part and Antoine et Antoinette. I sincerely hope that I am right, because the overwhelming majority of the Blu-ray releases we get from Gaumont will likely be the last home video releases for many films.
The overwhelming majority of the close-ups boast very good detail and pleasing depth (see screencaptures #1-4). Clarity is also pleasing, but there are portions of the film where natural light is restricted and shadow definition has a tendency to fluctuate. Contrast levels are stable. Generally speaking, color reproduction is good - there are stable warm blues, browns, greens, and grays. Degraining is not a serious issue of concern here, but some extremely light corrections have been applied (and quite possibly when the new master for the film was prepared). Overall, however, this release comes quite close to matching the quality of the excellent Cousin cousine. Finally, I noticed some light compression artifacts (see the Guy Marchand's coat in the bottom right corner in screencapture #2). None of them, however, become distracting. All in all, the Blu-ray release of Loulou represents a dramatic upgrade in quality over the out of print R1 DVD release of the film, which New Yorker Video produced back in 2004. (Note: This is a Region-Free Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you will be able to play it on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location. For the record, there is no problematic PAL or 1080/50i content preceding the disc's main menu).
Loulou Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one audio track on this Blu-ray disc: French DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0. For the record, Gaumont have provided optional English and French SDH subtitles for the main feature.
The lossless track is excellent. The dialog is exceptionally, crisp, crystal clear, and easy to follow. There is a surprisingly good range of nuanced dynamics as well, though you should not expect the richness and intensity lossless tracks deliver with modern films. The English translation is very good, but I noticed a couple of spelling errors.
Loulou Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Loulou Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
It is simply fantastic to have Maurice Pialat's films coming to Blu-ray. Last year, I was going through my library to see what are some of the films that might be very difficult or simply impossible to bring to Blu-ray because there were either pretty bad DVD releases that were never upgraded, meaning that there wasn't much interest in these films, or no DVD releases at all. Some of the films that I pulled up were Cyril Collard's Savage Nights, Bertrand Blier's My Man, and Benoît Jacquot's The School of Flesh. I also picked up Pialat's Loulou. I was wrong. And I am very happy that I was. Gaumont's Blu-ray release of Loulou represents a very serious upgrade in quality. The best news, however, is that the people at Gaumont have apparently taken some notes after all the criticism that was sent their way during the second half of last year. There is still room for improvement, but I really like what I see now. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Loulou Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Three Maurice Pialat Films Coming Up - October 19, 2012
French distributors Gaumont have revealed that they are preparing for Blu-ray release three films by acclaimed director Maurice Pialat: Loulou (1980), A nos amours a.k.a To Our Loves (1983), and Van Gogh (1991). All three films are set to be released on January ...
Loulou Blu-ray Screenshots
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