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Wild Grass
review by Zach B.



MPAA Rating: PG (For Some Thematic Material, Language and Brief Smoking)

Running Time: 104 Minutes

Starring: Sabine Azéma, André Dussollier, Anne Consigny, Emanuelle Devos, Mathieu Amalric, Michel Vuillermoz, Edouard Baer

Screenplay by: Alex Réval, Laurent Herbiet
Based on novel "L'Incident" by: Christian Gailly

Directed by: Alain Resnais



Studio: Sony

Retail Price: $28.95

Features: The Portrait of Production Designer Jacques Saulnier

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, French Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, Scene Selection (28 Scenes)

Released: October 26th, 2010



"Wild Grass" is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, in what is a pretty lovely transfer. The film's color palette is often stark, bright and bold, and this transfer certainly keeps up with it. Neon signs of a city street pop right out, as do the yellow of a character's car. The more dimly lit scenes and ones with moody lighting certainly hold their own, too. Colors are well saturated and don't smear, while fleshtones hit their mark as well. The print used for the transfer is exceptionally clean, but my only real nitpick is that the transfer is a bit on the soft side. It's not terribly distracting, and part of myself actually wonders if it was intentional. It can feel like the image is in a bit of a haze, which given the context of the story, certainly makes sense. Nonetheless, this is a very pleasing picture to look at. 


"Wild Grass" is given its original French language track, presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. There's not too much to say here, given that so much of the film is talk. In that regard, everything spoken comes in crisply and clearly without any distortion. Subwoofer use is minimal, but a lot of the movie's sonic mood comes from Max Snow's wonderful jazz score which uses the speaker channels in a very fulfilling manner. Small surrounds also make an imprint: the footsteps in a parking garage, the background chatter in a police station and the tools used in a dentist's office. For what this movie is, this is a finely tuned and engaging 5.1 mix.

English subtitles are included.


There's only one major supplement here, and it's a good one. The Portrait of Production Designer Jacques Saulnier focuses on Alain Resnais's frequent collaborator. Briefly by journalist Jean-Pierre Berthomé, Saulnier speaks how the film goes against French New Wave in that there are sets rather than being on location, and much of this featurette focuses on a key meeting between the two main characters. A clip from the movie is shown, and from that Saulnier shows us storyboards and the set being constructed. The scene actually being shot is shown too, and Saulnier speaks of Resnais's vision and relationship with him as well. We also get to briefly meet the film's set dresser, Solange. Very interesting, but I wish it was longer than its brief six-and-a-half minute running time. (Also note this piece is in French with English subtitles.)

Also included is the film's Theatrical Trailer in anamorphic widescreen.

Every cinephile's hat should be off to director Alain Resnais. Now well into his 80s, the acclaimed director is no slouch and has crafted another captivating movie with "Wild Grass." Topped with plenty of twists and turns and fine performances, fans of the director and French cinema will surely enjoy and appreciate this movie. The DVD itself makes the cut too: the video and audio represent the film's ambiance nicely, and the extra with production designer Jacques Saulnier is a must watch. Worth a rental, or a purchase for Resnais's devotees.