HomeCinemaBlu-ray Review Round-up: Film By Serge Gainsbourg, Kelly Reichardt, Jim Jarmusch &...

Blu-ray Review Round-up: Film By Serge Gainsbourg, Kelly Reichardt, Jim Jarmusch & More

Please find out the Blu-ray review round-up of several films by a renowned artist from their era. Discover the late artist’s unique pieces of work in the films.

Serge Gainsbourg, the iconic French singer-songwriter and provocateur, sculpted a musical legacy marked by avant-garde sensibilities and lyrical wit.

With his seminal album “Histoire de Melody Nelson,” Gainsbourg transcended traditional musical boundaries, blending symphonic arrangements with funky grooves.

The American auteur Kelly Reichardt has carved her niche in independent cinema with a distinctive focus on minimalist storytelling and a keen eye for the quiet nuances of human connection.

In her film “Wendy and Lucy,” Reichardt crafts a poignant narrative centered around a woman and her dog navigating the challenges of economic hardship.

Jim Jarmusch, the veteran filmmaker, is celebrated for his unique brand of cinematic coolness.

In his cult classic “Stranger Than Paradise,” Jarmusch masterfully embraces deadpan humor and existential wanderings as he follows a trio of aimless characters through a series of misadventures.

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Blu-ray Review Round-up: Antonio Gaudí (1984) The Criterion Collection

In Hiroshi Teshigahara’s awe-inspiring documentary about the architectural masterpieces of Antoni Gaudí, the buildings are portrayed not as mere constructions but as organic entities that have evolved.

The film captures the essence of Gaudí’s work, showcasing the organically asymmetrical protrusions, curved lines, and intricate exteriors that challenge the conventional notion of human intervention in their creation.

Teshigahara’s camera skillfully explores the captivating beauty of Gaudí’s architecture, from the residential buildings to the iconic Sagrada Família basilica, which stands as a testament to Gaudí’s unparalleled vision.

The documentary’s imagery is so compelling that it could stand alone without the need for context or history.

The filmmaker’s approach alternates between majestic wide shots and intimately curious handheld sequences, allowing the audience to immerse themselves in the otherworldly allure of Gaudí’s creations.

While the film primarily maintains a wordless reverie, the occasional inclusion of a historian in the final moments, providing detailed explanations, feels somewhat jarring, akin to the psychiatrist’s epilogue in “Psycho.”

Antonio Gaudí
Antonio Gaudí

The narration poignantly notes that Gaudí foresaw that his work would need to be completed by another architect.

However, the realization that the Sagrada Família remains unfinished, with current estimates projecting its completion in 2026, serves as a poignant reminder of Gaudí’s enduring legacy and the timeless nature of his artistic vision.

Criterion’s release of the Blu-ray edition of “Antonio Gaudí” presents a unique and unexpected choice, as it uses the same high-definition transfer as the previous DVD release without a new restoration.

Despite some density and color fluctuations due to the condition of the source materials, the 1080p, 1.33:1 disc offers an enjoyable presentation.

Teshigahara’s masterful edits are accentuated in this transfer, particularly in the vibrant tile work scenes, where the reds, blues, and greens look especially beautiful.

While a bit thin, the uncompressed mono audio still provides a decent presentation of Tôru Takemitsu’s score and its avant-garde elements.

All the extras from the DVD are carried over, including an interview with architect Arata Isozaki, 16mm footage from 1959 showcasing Teshigahara’s early interest in Gaudí, and a 1963 short film featuring the sculptures of Teshigahara’s father, Sofu.

Additional insights into Gaudí’s work are provided through the 2003 documentary “God’s Architect: Antoni Gaudí” and Ken Russell’s 1961 BBC program.

The release also includes a trailer and a comprehensive booklet featuring an essay by Dore Ashton and reflections from the filmmaker, making it a valuable addition to any film enthusiast’s collection.

Je t’aime moi non plus (1976) Kino Lorber

In his directorial debut, Serge Gainsbourg swiftly dismisses any notion of amateurish experimentation.

“Je t’aime moi non plus,” sharing its title with the famous song he created with Jane Birkin, initially exhibits uncertain stylistic footing.

The film’s early sequences feature faintly Godardian smash cuts and playful camera maneuvers, which, though initially disconcerting.

Eventually, it gives way to a more composed tone characterized by elegant crane shots that exude a sense of sophistication.

Despite its questionable stylistic choices, the film stands out as a unique creation.

Gainsbourg seemingly endeavors to juxtapose the beauty of his characters with the stark ugliness of their circumstances, creating a jarring and thought-provoking contrast that sets the film apart.

In a desolate setting in France, the film portrays Warhol star Joe Dallesandro as Krassky, a gay garbage collector, and Birkin as Johnny, a truckstop waitress with just enough androgyny to captivate Krassky, much to the dismay of his boyfriend, Padovan.

Je t’aime moi non plus
Je t’aime moi non plus

Johnny, labeled for her lack of conventional feminine attributes, catches Krassky’s attention, and their unconventional relationship unfolds in unlikely places, including a trash dump where romance unexpectedly blooms.

Their connection contrasts sharply with the hostility of the diner where Johnny works and the leering atmosphere of the local dancehall, which taints the film’s sense of eroticism.

Even the series of hotels they seek refuge in becomes a battleground, as they are evicted due to the assumption of rape when Johnny experiences pain during s*x.

The film’s juxtaposition of tender moments with the harsh reality of their circumstances is disconcerting.

Notably when, Gainsbourg’s camera lovingly captures the ethereal beauty of the stars before juxtaposing it with scenes of cruelty, particularly in the concluding moments.

This casual deployment

Kino’s Blu-ray edition showcases the film in a stunning 1080p, 1.66:1 transfer, sourced from a new 4K restoration, providing a near-perfect presentation of this rarely-seen gem.

The visuals exhibit remarkable clarity, with clean and detailed images and rich, vibrant colors that beautifully capture the essence of the dusty landscapes depicted in the film.

The minimal damage and film-like presentation enhance the viewing experience, while the 2.0 LPCM mono audio delivers a clean and satisfying sound.

The release comes with many compelling extras, including an engaging new interview with the charismatic Dallesandro.

He expresses disappointment over the film’s lack of a U.S. release and a Q&A session with both Dallesandro and Birkin, moderated by Dennis Lim following a screening at Lincoln Center.

Additionally, viewers can enjoy a Samm Deighan audio commentary and the theatrical trailer, adding value to this exceptional Blu-ray edition.

Trapped (1949) Flicker Alley

The Film Noir Foundation and the UCLA Film & Television Archive have orchestrated another commendable rescue effort with “Trapped,” a film that possesses the potential for a deluxe home video release.

Despite its long-lost status, distinguished director Richard Fleischer’s involvement, and the early performances of renowned actors.

The film falls short of its anticipated grandeur, a common occurrence in the B-noir genre due to formulaic and stolid scripts.

However, “Trapped” still offers numerous delightful elements. Richard Fleischer, known for his transition from noirs to big-budget productions, infuses the film with remarkable sophistication.

His astute directorial touches, such as an elegant camera-tilt-and-cut maneuver, elevate the storytelling.

Lloyd Bridges, portraying a counterfeiter aiding a sting operation, embodies the quintessential L.A. noir persona – seemingly affable yet harboring a ruthless streak.


Barbara Payton’s portrayal of a seductive girlfriend layered with an undercurrent of menacing intelligence adds depth to the character, enhancing the film’s allure.

The film “Trapped” delivers on many levels despite its telegraphed double-crosses and lack of compelling supporting characters.

However, it loses some of its momentum by sidelining Lloyd Bridges for the climax, a thrilling train-yard chase.

In the bonus features, noir expert Eddie Muller suggests that Bridges fell ill towards the end of filming, leading producer Bryan Foy to expedite the production without him potentially.

While characteristic of B-noirs, this rushed approach significantly impacts the film’s overall impact.

Nevertheless, Flicker Alley’s comprehensive package dramatically enhances the film’s appeal.

The 1080p, 1.37:1 transfer from a private collector’s 35mm acetate print offers a remarkable upgrade in visual quality, displaying impressive consistency and clarity despite inherent softness.

The uncompressed mono soundtrack is also notably clean, and the combo set includes a DVD copy.

The extras provide valuable insights into the film’s history and its stars, shedding light on Barbara Payton’s turbulent life. They also feature a piece on director Richard Fleischer’s career and a commentary track with Alan K.

Rode and Julie Kirgo. Additionally, the included booklet offers production and promotional art, along with notes by Muller, further enriching the viewing experience.

Old Joy (2006) The Criterion Collection

I seize every opportunity to praise Kelly Reichardt as the preeminent living American filmmaker, and the sentiment remains resolute in my review of her seminal work.

Over a decade following her debut feature, “River of Grass” (1994), Reichardt presented a film that might superficially be considered a blueprint for her subsequent works.

However, her films possess an elusive quality that defies confinement within defined parameters, transcending their seemingly straightforward characteristics.

This is particularly evident in “Old Joy,” a film that embodies the essence of the Pacific Northwest like many of her others.

Evoking feelings of displacement, isolation, and the inherent duality of tranquility and unease in man’s relationship with nature.

The film can be distilled into a concise premise – two old friends reunite on a spontaneous camping trip – and its 73-minute duration passes like a fleeting moment, akin to dewdrops evaporating from morning grass.

Upon its conclusion, the preciousness of each minute becomes profoundly apparent, leaving a lasting impression on the viewer.

Based on Jonathan Raymond’s short story “Old Joy” portrays the reunion of two contrasting friends, Mark and Kurt, whose lives have taken divergent paths.

Mark, portrayed with a subtle air of unease by Daniel London, embodies conventional success with a wife and a baby on the way.

At the same time, Kurt, played by Will Oldham, exudes charisma intertwined with potential pitfalls as he drifts back into Portland.

The impromptu journey into the woods in search of hot springs, accompanied by Mark’s dog, Lucy, sets the stage for a road trip that oscillates between soothing and tense.

“Old Joy” thrives on these paradoxes, skillfully balancing them without succumbing to obvious or excessive dramatization.

It is the first masterpiece in Kelly Reichardt’s illustrious career, characterized by its contemplative stillness and ability to convey profound emotions.

Old Joy
Old Joy

Criterion’s 1080p, 1.78:1 transfer, sourced from a new 2K restoration of a 35mm digital negative, showcases the film’s 16mm photography with exquisite grain, vivid and natural colors, and exceptional clarity.

The lossless PCM 2.0 stereo soundtrack captures subtle natural sounds, while Yo La Tengo’s evocative score resonates beautifully, improving this edition over the previous Kino DVD release.

The additional content primarily consists of interviews, all of which are highly compelling.

Reichardt explains her fascination with the story and the dedicated small crew behind the film’s production. Cinematographer Peter Sillen delves into technical aspects in his interview, offering valuable perspectives.

Furthermore, Jonathan Raymond, who has continued collaborating with Reichardt on subsequent projects, shares his thoughts on their partnership.

The reunion of actors Daniel London and Will Oldham is particularly noteworthy, as their conversation mirrors the film’s hesitant yet vulnerable energy, adding another layer of depth to the viewing experience.

The Limits of Control (2009) Arrow Academy

Jim Jarmusch, known for his unconventional take on various genres, has ventured into genre deconstructions throughout his career.

From the Western in “Dead Man” (1995) to the vampire film in “Only Lovers Left Alive” (2013) to the zombie apocalypse in “The Dead Don’t Die,” he has consistently reshaped traditional genres to align with his distinctive style.

In “The Limits of Control,” Jarmusch offers his most subdued take, stripping down the hitman thriller to its most essential elements and then some.

The film follows an enigmatic operative known as The Lone Man, portrayed by Isaach De Bankolé, as he navigates through Spain, encountering a series of contacts while unraveling the pieces of his assignment.

The journey unfolds with encounters with characters portrayed by Alex Descas, John Hurt, Gael García Bernal, and Paz de la Huerta.

Tilda Swinton makes a notable appearance in a scene that guides how to interpret the film.

Accompanied by the droning guitars of the Japanese band Boris, the film immerses viewers in a trance-like experience.

With its striking landscapes and pervasive air of mystery, it hints at an underlying action movie, albeit one that exists primarily in the imagination.

Attempting to grasp any specific element of the film only leads to its dissolution, much like the elusive nature of the plot itself.

Arrow’s release offers a 1080p, 1.85:1 transfer provided by Universal, delivering a satisfactory viewing experience, albeit with a slightly flatter and less sharp presentation than anticipated.

The color reproduction is commendable, while the fine detail and grain structure are adequately preserved, making it a worthwhile improvement over the previous DVD release.

The Limits of Control
The Limits of Control

The inclusion of 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks enhances the auditory experience, effectively showcasing the Boris score and ensuring clear dialogue throughout the film.

In addition to the technical enhancements, Arrow provides two new scholarly extras: an interview with Geoff Andrews and a video essay by Amy Simmons.

Although these extras offer insights into Jarmusch’s career, they are noted for repeatedly highlighting Jarmusch’s unconventional style without delving deeper into his work.

Furthermore, the release includes a lengthy making-of feature and a short featurette on the film’s locations, along with the trailer from the previous DVD release.

Also Read More: Blu-Ray And DVD Review Round-up: Films By Hu Bo, Billy Woodbery, Josef Von Sternberg & More!

Ashish Dahal
Ashish Dahal
Ashish is a prolific content writer, blends with the creativity with precision in his writing. His work, characterized by clarity and engaging storytelling has gathered a loyal readership. His passion for words fuels his constant pursuit of excellence.

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