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Mangin, a cop whose brutal method of investigation finds its obsessive outlet in an attempt to crack a Tunisian narcotics ring. It is when Mangin enters into close acquaintance with the defiant Noria that the film proceeds to chart an unexpected, emotionally ambiguous course — and the lines between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, and ‘power’ and ‘freedom’, terminally blur.
For more about Police and the Police Blu-ray release, see Police Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on March 9, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Director: Maurice Pialat
Starring: Gérard Depardieu, Sophie Marceau, Richard Anconina
» See full cast & crew
Police Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, March 9, 2013
Maurice Pialat's "Police" (1985) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of French label Gaumont. The supplemental features on the this release include the film's original French theatrical trailer; new and exclusive video interview with cinematographer Luciano Tovoli; new and exclusive video interview with actress Pascale Rocard; archival video interview with writer/director Catherine Breillat; documentary film by Virginie Apiou; extract from the French television program Cinema cinemas; collection of deleted scenes discussed by editor Yann Dedet; and more. In French, with optional English and French SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-Free.
Gerard Depradieu is Louis Mangin, a tough cop who frequently loses his temper. He is single and living in a fancy apartment in the heart of Paris. He often feels lonely, but does not have the desire to share his life with someone special.
While trying to track down the leader of a gang of Tunisian drug dealers, Mangin arrests Noria (Sophie Marceau, L'amour braque, La fidelite), a young and beautiful girl without a permanent address. Convinced that Noria's boyfriend is one of the gang's top men, Mangin begins questioning her.
At first, Noria refuses to answer Mangin's questions, but after she sees him interrogating a local thief who ends up with a broken nose, she concludes that it would be in her best interest to cooperate. Mangin appreciates the change of attitude, and consequently even warms up to her. Then a shady lawyer (Richard Anconina, The Little Gangster, So Long, Stooge) paid by the gang files the necessary paperwork and Noria is released.
Sensing that it is only a matter of time before Mangin and his men arrest the remaining members of the gang, Noria steals her boyfriend's savings – a bag full of 200,000 francs and a few kilos of cocaine. But his associates quickly discover the missing bag and dispatch one of their own to find her. In the meantime, Noria and Mangin meet again and fall madly in love.
Based on an original script by Catherine Breillat, Maurice Pialat's Police is loosely divided into two sections. The first offers a fascinating look at police procedure, completely stripped of melodrama and sentimentality. There are long interrogation sessions in which the police brutality becomes rather intimidating, but Pialat isn't interested in it. Instead, he concentrates on the unique relationships between the cops and the criminals, the manner in which the invisible boundaries separating them are drawn.
The second section has an entirely different tone. It is much more relaxed and peaceful, following a more predictable route. After Mangin and Noria begin seeing each other, Pialat begins analyzing their characters. They are both taken out of their comfort zones and forced to reevaluate what makes them happy. In the process, they make mistakes that again redirect their lives.
The film has the casual atmosphere and type of energy virtually all of Pialat's films have. Its characters are ordinary people dealing with ordinary situations that present them with dilemmas that seem banal –at least in the beginning. How they approach them is what the film is about, not how they solve them.
This emphasis on the human element is the key reason why Pialat's films are often compared to John Cassavetes' films. They are structured around feelings and emotions, not original stories. Almost without exception the characters in these films are people that just happen to be followed by Pialat's camera – or so one is led to believe.
Police, arguably Pialat's most mainstream film, was lensed by Italian cinematographer Luciano Tovoli, who also collaborated with the French director on his We Won't Grow Older Together (1972).
Note: In 1985, Police won Best Actor Award (Gerard Depardieu) at the Venice Film Festival.
Police 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 Police arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of French label Gaumont.
I could not be any more pleased with the high-definition transfer. Aside from some light compression artifacts the presentation is indeed very good - there are no traces of excessive denoising and sharpening corrections, while color reproduction is dramatically improved. Where light is restricted shadow definition is also very good. I did some direct comparisons with my R2 DVD release, which also revealed superior image depth - the softness and burliness from the DVD release are eliminated and all sorts of different fine details are now exposed (take a look at the man's jacket in screencapture #6). Finally, there are absolutely no serious stability issues to report in this review. To sum it all up, Gaumont's Blu-ray release of Police represents a very strong upgrade in quality over previous releases of the film that is guaranteed to please folks that appreciate beautiful organic presentations of older films. (Note: This is a Region-Free Blu-ray release. Therefore, you will be able to play it on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location. For the record, there is no PAL or 1080/50i content preceding the disc's main menu).
Police Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one standard 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.
Police does not have a prominent music score. Only at the end of the film there is beautiful ambient music theme that comes up for a couple of minutes. Nevertheless, the lossless track has a surprisingly good dynamic amplitude. The dialog is exceptionally crisp, stable, and very easy to follow. There are no serious anomalies, such as high-frequency distortions or audio dropouts, to report in this review. The English translation is very good.
Police Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Police Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I could not be any happier with Gaumont's treatment of Maurice Pialat's films. Police, which is part of the French label's second batch of Pialat films, looks wonderful on Blu-ray. It has been recently restored and it now looks healthier than ever before. Also included on this release are two brand new and exclusive video interviews, one with Italian cinematographer Luciano Tovoli and another with actress Pascale Rocard. A DVD with additional bonus content is also included. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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Police Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Three More Maurice Pialat Films Heading to Blu-ray - December 2, 2012
French label Gaumont has revealed that it is planning to bring to Blu-ray three more films by acclaimed director Maurice Pialat: We Won't Grow Old Together (1972), Police (1985), and Under the Sun of Satan (1987). All three release will be available for purchase ...
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