Indochine DVD Review

i3Elaine Devries is a plantation owner in Vietnam during the closing days of French rule. She is a single woman but has taken the bold step of taking an adopted daughter into her home. The daughter Camille who is a Vietnamese girl, comes to her as a five year old and loves her like a mother. Elaine has bold ambitions about her native home and her ancestral land of France.  She is strong and as the tides of history wash over the country, it does not fail to wash over her and her family. Leaving no one safe in its wake.

i2Colonial era films are a difficult beast at the best of times. Constructed in a post colonial world they can be fraught with ideology, ignorance and the over reaching of agenda. As I write this I sit in India, a country that suffered under a series of colonial dents (from Persian, Portuguese, English and so on) in its time and as such the irony does not escape me how a western audience can look upon a former colony with antiquated expectations. Here we have a film that looks at the changing face of the world of the interwar years and the often extreme imbalance of life in a decaying world.

i1The cast are the key to the films power and success for me. A film like this can look great and have wonderful sets but without a core that is strong, then it will fail (Think Gone with the Wind here as a great example of this success). Deneuve is the shining star here and she allows here performance to have that swinging emotional pitch. Giving it a strength and a slight glint of vulnerability, that is powerful and passionate. she is an actress of such reach and one that is on par with a contemporary like Streep. Now there is more to the film but I have to scream about this firstly.

iheadNote also director Régis Wargnier visual composition that gives the film its epic ambition. The wonderful score that flows like a river that is both big and bold, tender and mild. The set design has great craft and eyes, the magic of the costumes and the grand scenery that is like an oil painting. So the restoration looks amazing. It will be even nicer on that Blu Ray. Sound is crisp again and anyone with that tired DVD version will remember how that sounded. Extras are good and worth some time but it is the new life of a great film that is key here with the new look.

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