492 A Christmas Tale

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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domino harvey
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Re: 492 A Christmas Tale

#51 Post by domino harvey » Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:42 pm

Will help fulfill long-held goal of seeing Anne Consigny's eyebrows in high definition

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Re: 492 A Christmas Tale

#52 Post by david hare » Wed Sep 16, 2009 8:44 pm

Why this film in particular, domino? I liked the film, but I don't understand what screams "I need to be seen in 1080p!" about it.
It's the preponderance of medium shots with the circling camera and cutting, and the fastidiously lit rooms of the house. The more I watch Blurays the clearer it is that its the fine detail in mediums that makes the obvious difference.

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Re: 492 A Christmas Tale

#53 Post by Dadapass » Thu Nov 19, 2009 1:10 am

Beaver on the Blu-ray

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Re: 492 A Christmas Tale

#54 Post by cdnchris » Fri Nov 20, 2009 4:08 am


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Re: 492 A Christmas Tale

#55 Post by mfunk9786 » Fri Nov 20, 2009 10:33 am

(I’ll briefly mention the chapters menu, which are fairly cute. The chapters are presented as an Advent Calendar, the kind where you pull flaps up with each passing date. The flaps are closed but when you highlight a chapter, the flap opens, displaying the chapter index and name. Certainly nothing groundbreaking, but I thought I would mention it.)
It's a shame that creative menu design has been scrapped on the Criterion BD releases. My one complaint about getting the BD over the DVD of any given film is the boring white wacky C menu sliding onto the screen. I understand using that as the in-film menu, but why haven't they preserved their old menu style for the main menu?

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Re: 492 A Christmas Tale

#56 Post by david hare » Sat Nov 21, 2009 5:47 pm

Chris once again Im finding some variation in screengrabs, or maybe it's just my perception of them. Gary's look overly bright (but very nice) and certainly much brighter than the BAC in motion at least. Yours look much more like the BAC (and the screening) but they seem soft - myabe that's just the resolution of the caps?

I'm not worried - I very much doubt Criterion would mess this, even if they simply ported the BAC telecine wholesale - it's a stunner. And, true to form, I've ordered it so my imaginary friends who don't understand French can join me for innumerable screenings in the future.

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Re: 492 A Christmas Tale

#57 Post by cdnchris » Sun Nov 22, 2009 2:15 am

Those grabs (and the review) are for the DVD, not the Blu-ray, which is what Gary had grabs for (or at least I don't see a DVD review on his site.) I haven't made grabs of the Blu yet, but it's much sharper. Also I can't say it's much brighter (if it is on screen it's subtle,) though colours do look a little better. I'm sure you'll be quite happy with it.

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Re: 492 A Christmas Tale

#58 Post by cdnchris » Tue Nov 24, 2009 6:40 pm


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Matt
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Re: 492 A Christmas Tale

#59 Post by Matt » Tue Dec 01, 2009 4:19 pm

I'm so so so happy to have this on Blu-ray, and I think the 36-minute documentary is really informative and interesting (encouraging me to watch the film again as a Howard Hawks Thanksgiving movie), but I think somebody went just a little heavy on the DVNR. There's plenty of grain visible (even enough for a "grain fetishist" like me), but it's a little unnatural looking (they've managed to make the grain look like noise). I don't blame Criterion at all since they didn't do the transfer, which was supervised and approved by Desplechin. It's really a very minor complaint, though. I guess I can't help wanting the presentation of the film to be as perfect as the film itself.

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Re: 492 A Christmas Tale

#60 Post by James » Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:28 pm

It looks like I'll be seeing this anyway. I figure this is probably good, and I am rather excited because: a) I could very well have misjudged Arnaud Desplechin; I tend to do that sometimes when approaching directors and I feel giving some of the more highly acclaimed ones a second opportunity is a good idea and b) I'm actually looking forward to seeing this. I've watched Repulsion and The Last Metro recently, so you could say that I'm now a fan of Catherine Denevue and it's also Christmas time; I realize the movie isn't necessarily about Christmas, but it still feels fitting and again, I'm kind of excited, it being a Criterion Blu-ray and all (and a hallelujah to Criterion for continually generating Blu-rays and DVDs that offer memorable home moviegoing experiences.

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Re: 492 A Christmas Tale

#61 Post by Tribe » Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:26 pm

Matt wrote: I guess I can't help wanting the presentation of the film to be as perfect as the film itself.
It really is a smart, heart-warming, tender movie, with all the trappings of a "big" production and the sensibilities of a well-crafted indie movie. It's a primer of sorts on how to make an appealing, family-oriented film without the corn that tends to populate movies like this.

It's also a blow by blow account of how awful The Family Stone really is.

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Re: 492 A Christmas Tale

#62 Post by James » Mon Dec 21, 2009 6:09 pm

I guess I "tolerated" this movie, I mean it was a bit better for me than Kings & Queen. Still, I don't think Desplechin's movies are for me, because the same problems I had with that movie essentially apply for this movie, this just seemed more focused to me in its ambitions.

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Re: 492 A Christmas Tale

#63 Post by Matt » Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:20 pm

Yeah, if you're looking for "focused," Desplechin is not your man.

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Re: 492 A Christmas Tale

#64 Post by JAP » Sat Dec 26, 2009 5:06 pm

Packaging detail: my BR edition was "Director approved by David Maysles, Albert Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin" :shock:

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Re: 492 A Christmas Tale

#65 Post by cana7cl » Sat Dec 26, 2009 6:25 pm

JAP wrote:Packaging detail: my BR edition was "Director approved by David Maysles, Albert Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin" :shock:
Glad they liked it. Even from the dead, in the case of David and Charlotte.

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Re: 492 A Christmas Tale

#66 Post by Woland » Sat Mar 13, 2010 10:45 pm

Can someone enlighten me as to the movie Paul has on before Junon comes in to ask him what's up?

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domino harvey
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Re: 492 A Christmas Tale

#67 Post by domino harvey » Sat Mar 13, 2010 11:13 pm

There are three movies that I remember being played in the film: Funny Face, A Midsummer's Night Dream, and the Ten Commandments. It's been too long since I've seen the whole film to recall the order of appearance but is it one of those?

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Re: 492 A Christmas Tale

#68 Post by dda1996a » Sat Oct 29, 2016 5:28 am

This is about Desplechin's My Golden Days
I don't where else to ask this, but can anyone remember all the books Paul reads throughout the film? I can only remember Margaret Meade and am looking for the other books he reads
Never mind, managed to find it. It was Robert Audrey he reads along with Yeats and Meade

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Re: 492 A Christmas Tale

#69 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:11 pm

Popped this in for a revisit after ~5 years and now having seen the rest of Desplechin's filmography, the context is critical in appreciating this bizarre and beautiful film. I think I originally had difficulty accessing it because it is SO rebellious and eccentric, much more than it appears, and I think that with Desplechin it's easy to mistake the denial of expectations as amateurish mistakes rather than intentional authenticity. It's hard not to compare this film to The Royal Tenenbaums, even if they're so wildly different, but while the Anderson leaves some vague space per usual for the audience, he spells out most of the dynamics pretty efficiently (this film's refusal to makes the former film seem almost too efficiently, as part of Desplechin's perspective signifies the artificiality in summing up what cannot be through the medium and instead opts for emotion and opaque histories).

A few examples of what is done so well here:
SpoilerShow
Leaving the mystery of the resentment between Henri and Elizabeth can be seen as frustrating avoidance, but how can deep-rooted familial history be told in honesty? It's never boiled down to one event, even if it appears to be, and the insinuation - I felt - was that this was the point. I believe that Henri did not know what he did, that it wasn't an act of evil, and that whatever he did he buried in his own subconscious with defense mechanisms run rampant. The comments about him writing her letters in the past, the question of incest, all of it is fascinating. The letter comment especially, because he admits to writing her the letter we see in the film, supporting that reading that whatever the case is it's a mystery to himself and Elizabeth as much as to us. Also, I found it interesting to wonder what her part in the situation is.. there's always a mess on the side of the street for the one who is the "resenter" that's never really explored here - not a complaint at all, but something that came out for me especially in their fight that happens while the play is being put on downstairs.

I loved how Henri's dead wife is alluded to as this angelic presence, and we initially assume that his disintegration as a person was as a result of her death. And yet, she never came to visit the parents' house because she was busy? Why are there so many pictures of her in the house if she did not prioritize connecting with them? This mystery itself leaves an entire movie's worth of exploration in an aloof space and we are left to wonder how this actually affected Henri and how it does today. Seeing a bunch of pictures of a woman that they had little connection to with very few (none?) of him on the mantlepiece is quite an intensely passive aggressive visual jab though.

The most surrealistic moment in any Desplechin film may be when Ivan finds Sylvia in bed with Simon, and their kids come in to greet their naked mother, nobody acting with shame, embarrassment, anxiety, or offering explanation. It's a weird scene on so many levels and leaves room open for musings on the relaxed way they raise their kids (earlier they initiate sexual acts with the kids sleeping in the same room) as well as their own definitions of their relationship dynamic. Through the strangeness, the smiles each exchange elicits a shared understanding, and insinuates a degree of comfort and harmony that few relationships actually possess.

Henri's relationship with his mother, perfectly conveyed in their conversation on the swing outside about hating one another, is just brutal. They joke about it but Henri is clearly broken because of deep-rooted core beliefs directly associated to that break in attachment, a neglect which often fucks people up just as much as other traumas especially when occurring in very early life. I love how Elizabeth acknowledges this (she seems to be the only one who spends a moment truly feeling sorry for him and empathizing with that trauma) and so even though she may show the most disdain for him in the narrative of the film, she's also probably the one who loves him the most. After all, the saying that hate comes from love is not wrong- if she was indifferent she would be far more apathetic.
There are a handful of iris shots in this film that both hone in on and expand from objects or people. But what is interesting is that their use doesn't seem to have any consistency, rhyme or reason. In one early shot, the iris shot begins before cutting quickly away from Abel (I had to rewind to see if I really saw it). This is messy and feels like amateur editing, but to me it signifies the idea of perspective, the impossibility of truly comprehending it, and the implications about its refusal to abide by our perspective's rules and process (just like the film). This technical choice validates the characters' own individual points of view, inviting us to live alongside them for a little while but refusing entry into the inaccessible; not in a dismissive way, but in one that accepts the futility of this task, humanizing the characters and the audience alike.

I hope one day Desplechin makes a prequel/sequel to this film as he's done twice before, but if not I'll settle for the wonderful mysteries of the human condition, family systems, and the authenticity that comes from breaking the rules of narrative and character development. This is one of his very best.

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