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Mon oncle
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.33:1 Standard
  • French Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • French PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 2 Discs
FEATURES
  • Region B
  • My Uncle (Jacques Tati, 1984): the English version of Mon Oncle shot simultaneously
  • Mon Oncle trailer (DVD only)
  • Fully illustrated booklet with film notes and credits

Mon oncle

Dual Format Edition
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Jacques Tati
Starring: Jacques Tati
1958 | 116 Minutes

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: £19.99 | Series: BFI
BFI Video

Release Date: October 29, 2012
Review Date: November 4, 2012

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SYNOPSIS

Jaques Tati's multi-award-winning third feature, Mon Oncle - a satirical assault on the twin targets of efficiency and the modern world - confirmed his reputation as the foremost comic artist of his day. Tati's second outing as the accident-prone M. Hulot takes him to Paris where the aggressively high-tech lifestyle of his relatives, the Arpels, is contrasted with his old-fashioned ways in a scruffy part of town. Young Gerard Arpel is very fond of his gauche uncle and the children in his neighbourhood but his disapproving parents resolve to get Hulot a job or a wife. The disastrous outcome is a masterpiece of design and symmetry and of technically brilliant gags. The heart-warming ending is true to Tati's vision of the modern world as a confusing place that is ultimately fulll of charm and humanity.


PICTURE

BFI presents Jacques Tatiís Mon oncle on Blu-ray in its original aspect ratio of about 1.37:1 on this dual-layer disc. The transfer is presented in 1080p/24hz. This Blu-ray is region B locked and will not play on North American region A players.

Compared to Criterionís DVD the most obvious difference is the colour tones. This presentation looks a little grayer and greener in comparison to the Criterion DVD, and a little darker overall. After viewing this and looking at the Criterion DVD it now looks to be boosted a bit so I wouldnít be too stunned if the Blu-ray delivers the intended look.

The transfer also looks far more natural and film-like in comparison, the Criterion DVD laced with noticeable edge-enhancement and other artifacts. Here we get a sharper image, with finer details coming through better, and film grain is left intact.

The print presents fewer marks and looks to have been cleaned up a bit more, though it still contains some minor blemishes and faint tram lines in places. As a whole it looks different in comparison to what Iím used to, though I think I do prefer what we get here. And though I canít say if itís how the film is supposed to look the transfer is far more film-like and cleaner than what Criterionís DVD presented.

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 disc delivers a linear PCM 1.0 mono track. The track does come off a bit hollow and it lacks any real punch, but what little dialogue shows up sounds decent and the sound effects are clean and never come off distorted.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

There isnít a lot per se, but BFI does at least include My Uncle, the English language version of the film. This isnít a simple dubbing but is actually more or less a completely different version filmed at the same time. Not only is most dialogue now delivered in English (some is still in French) but signs within the film are also in Engliah and, as the booklet notes pointed out since I actually did miss this, costumes in a few scenes also differ. It is 7-minutes shorter though I donít think I can say why. The film seems to be essentially the same, the gags even the same if slightly different in delivery. Itís a cool inclusion, though I may stick with the French since itís what I know but for those who may prefer this version theyíll be happy to know that it has been given a rather nice 1080p/24hz transfer itself.

A DVD disc is also included with this release, apparently presenting standard-definition versions of both films, but I canít confirm this since I was only sent the Blu-ray disc. The DVD also apparently contains the filmís theatrical trailer.

The release also comes with a booklet but, like Jour de fÍte, itís pretty slim, only containing a short essay on the film by Philip Kemp and a note on the English version of the film. Youíll also find a short bio on Tati and then notes on the transfer.

Iím a little disappointed that nothing else has been included, though itís great BFI at least includes the alternate English version and gives it a nice transfer itself.

4/10

CLOSING

The inclusion of the English version of the film is a nice addition but the release still manages to feel slim with even the booklet coming off skimpy, something very out of character for BFI. But the transfer is a stunner, a vast improvement over the Criterion DVD and much more film-like. For the transfer alone the disc is worth picking up.




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