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DVD Review

DVD cover

Alice et Martin


Starring: Juliette Binoche, Alexis Loret, Mathieu Amalric and Carman Maura
Optimum World
RRP: £17.99
Certificate: 15
Available 23 February 2009

Aged ten Martin is sent to live with his wealthy and tyrannical father. Following his father’s death Martin disappears only to resurface in Paris at his brother’s apartment. His brother, Benjamin, shares his life with Alice, he is a jobbing actor she a musician. Initially she resents this intrusion into their lives, but soon Martin is a successful model and Alice and Martin start to fall in love only for the circumstances of his father’s death to stand between the lovers...

Alice et Martin (1998) is a brooding film about love and madness from director André Téchiné from a script by André Téchiné, Olivier Assayas and Gilles Taurand.

The film stars Juliette Binoche (Alice), Alexis Loret (Martin) and Mathieu Amalric (Benjamin). The structure of the film is a little strange. When we first meet Martin he is ten and there is a nice jump cut from him as a ten year old running from the house to ten years later when he flees his father’s death. Personally I got the general idea of how his father died straight away. The first hour of the film is taken up with Martin getting a job - apparently in Paris you walk out onto the street and suddenly you’re modelling for Armani.

The build up of the relationship between Martin and Alice is handled with delicacy as these two outsiders look for solace in each other's arms. Things take a much darker turn when Martin discovers that Alice is pregnant, at which point the film goes back for a lengthy flashback to show how Martin's father died, as if we didn’t already know. The pressure of the pregnancy, and the admission of what happened, pushes Martin over the edge and his self destructive tendencies, which he exhibits through most of the film, raise its ugly head for the last time.

The three principle actors do a good job at portraying the underlying psychological secrets which often lurk beneath relationships, although Martin's emotional numbness often leads to a lack of tonality and shading in Loret’s portrayal of Martin.

The film is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio with a French 2.0 or 5.1 audio tracks with optional subtitles. The only extra on the disc is the original theatrical trailer.


Charles Packer

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