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Six Moral Tales, V: Claire's Knee
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.37:1 Standard
  • French PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • Short film: The Curve (1999)
  • An excerpt from the French television program Le journal du cinema, featuring interviews with Jean-Claude Brialy, Beatrice Romand, and Laurence de Monahagan
  • Original theatrical trailer

Six Moral Tales, V: Claire's Knee

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Eric Rohmer
1970 | 105 Minutes | Licensor: Les Films du Losange

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $99.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Release Date: May 5, 2020
Review Date: May 13, 2020

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SYNOPSIS

ďWhy would I tie myself to one woman if I were interested in others?Ē says JerŰme, even as he plans on marrying a diplomatís daughter by summerís end. Before then, JerŰme spends his July at a lakeside boardinghouse nursing crushes on the sixteen-year-old Laura and, more tantalizingly, Lauraís long-legged, blonde stepsister, Claire. Baring her knee on a ladder under a blooming cherry tree, Claire unwittingly instigates JerŰmeís moral crisis and creates both one of French cinemaís most enduring moments and what has become the iconic image of Rohmerís Moral Tales.


PICTURE

The fifth film in Eric Rohmerís Six Moral Tales, Claireís Knee, has been given a Blu-ray upgrade in Criterionís new box set, and is presented on a dual-layer disc in its original aspect ratio of 1.37:1. The 1080p/24hz high-definition encode is sourced from a new 2K restoration scanned from the 35mm original camera negative. The film shares the disc with Love in the Afternoon.

This new presentation offers yet another significant upgrade over the previous DVD edition (found in Criterionís box set), and in just about every way. The one aspect that is questionable, like with the previous filmóLa collectionneuseóand its presentation, is that the colours do lean really warm, taking on a yellow tint to almost everything (yellow-ish skin, skies and water that can be more cyan, etc.) But, the colours on the DVD also leaned pretty warm, and also looked off, with me finding them a bit washed out, while they also pulsed in places. The colours on the title cards are also different between the two, having pink backgrounds here while the DVDís presentation of the titles deliver them as more of a white (Iíll just note here that the DVDís source was an interpositive). While Iím still not a huge fan of this lean towards yellow it at least suits the setting and look of the film, and I think it looks better in comparison to what the DVD offers.

The presentation is also significantly sharper with better detail, renders film grain better, and offers a far more photographic looking image. Black levels can be a off a bit (maybe a side effect of the yellow lean in colours), but outside of that (and a handful of blemishes) itís a clean looking image and despite any of its faults Iíll take this picture over the DVDís.

8/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

The film comes with a lossless PCM 1.0 monaural soundtrack and it sounds perfectly fine. Dialogue is clear, the track is clean, and there is no distortion. Itís also pretty flat and lacks range, but the film doesnít call for much.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

The three-disc set has features spread out for each individual film. Claireís Knee comes with a couple, including a 1999 short film called The Curve. Interestingly Rohmer only served as a technical advisor on the film, which was directed by Edwige Shaki. I was thrown off by its inclusion at first but it becomes clear that it has been included here because it shares some thematic similarities to Claireís Knee. An art student becomes intrigued by a sculpted figure (sans head and arms), his attention drawn to the curve of the back. He then comes across a woman who he assumes served as the model and starts a relationship with her, eventually the two getting into a conversation about how he compares the physical assets of women to works of art, which is what attracts him. The short seems to be ultimately how art can objectify women, with the film even bordering on objectifying the woman in the film (played by Shaki). Itís interesting, though I think its point is made early in its 17-minute runtime, and it does have a student-film vibe to it. It was shot digitally (standard-definition) but does look pretty good, and the upscale here isnít too bad.

Following this is then a 9-minute excerpt from a 1970 French television program called Le journal du cinema, and features interviews with some of Claireís Kneeís cast: Jean-Claude Brialy, Beatrice Romand, and Laurence de Monaghan. Brialy knew Rohmer before the film and talks a little about that while the two young woman recount working with him and what he was like, which leads the two in a bit of a conversation about his personality. Itís not terribly insightful but still interesting, and itís one of the few supplements in the set specific to the respective film.

The supplements then close with the filmís theatrical trailer.

Like the others it doesnít receive a stacked set of features, but these supplements at least work to target the film theyíre included with, and I appreciated the inclusion of the short that I probably would have never seen otherwise.

5/10

CLOSING

The colours lean yellow but I still found the picture offered a significant improvement over the DVDís presentation. The supplements are still not significant but they are all at least tied more directly to the film they have been included with.




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