Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 2nd, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: France / Czechoslovakia, 1970
Director: Alain Robbe-Grillet
Writer: Alain Robbe-Grillet
Cast: Catherine Jourdan, Lorraine Rainer, Richard Leduc, Sylvain Corthay, Pierre Zimmer, Ludovít Króner, Jarmila Kolenicová, Juraj Kukura
BluRay released: May 27th, 2014
Approximate running times: 98 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono French
BluRay Release: Kino Lorber / Redemption Films
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $34.95
Synopsis: A group of college students have their lives turned upside down after a chance meeting with a mysterious man named Dutchman who he introduces hallucinatory inducing white substance that he calls ‘fear powder’.
Where the overwhelming majority of his contemporaries have had their worked reappraised, the same could not be said for the films of Alain Robbe-Grillet. That was until recently as his films have been made more widely available. And now that the bulk of his oeuvre has been given quality releases, the films of Alain Robbe-Grillet are ripe for their own reappraisal.
Though he was approached with the idea of shooting in color for the film The Man Who Lies, Alain Robbe-Grillet would hold out for one more film and not make his debut in color until his next film Eden and After.
The transition from black and white to color effortlessly as Alain Robbe-Grillet immediately takes full advantage of his new palette of colors. And the film opens in grand style with a scene where a young woman being pursued through a maze like structure that is bursting with vibrant colors. And though colors play an integral role in the story at hand. He makes an interesting visual choice half way through the film when the action shifts away from robust colorful locations to a more subdued locations that are drenched in white. A few other striking moments visually include a woman watching on broken glass and a nude woman descending down a staircase.
Narrative wise Alain Robbe-Grillet continues to experiment as he creates twelve loosely connected scenarios that for the most part are improvised. Where the first half focuses on a group of friends who hang out at a café called Eden, the second half shifts its focus more towards this films protagonists mind altering trip after taking a mysterious substance referred to as ‘fear powder’. And to further support the idea that the second half is from the protagonists’ point of view. For no reason at all the film shifts locations to Tunisia while the protagonist and her friends are watching a documentary about Tunisia. To further drive home this film’s protagonists’ trip down the rabbit hole is that everyone in the documentary they are watching are their doppelgangers.
From a performance stand point everyone is more than adequate in their respective roles, with Catherine Jourdan (Le Samouraï, The Girl on a Motorcycle) in the role of this film’s protagonist a young woman named Violette leaving the strongest lasting impression with her short cropped Mia Farrow like haircut and well above her knees very short mini dress. And though this film would thematically continue along the same avenues that his previous three films had traversed. In terms of eroticism Eden and After is the film were Alain Robbe-Grillet finally hits his stride.
Eden and After comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Colors look nicely saturated and appropriately vibrant (especially blues and reds), flesh tones look accurate and details always look crisp. Black and contrast levels look solid throughout. The source used is in great shape, there are no issues with DNR or compression and there is a healthy layer of grain.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in French and also included with this release are removable English subtitles. There are no issues with background or distortion, dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced. For a mono sourced track, depth is a lot better then what one would expect and the more ambient aspects of well represented.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (2 minutes 41 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen, in French with English subtitles), trailers for Trans-Europ-Express (3 minutes 21 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen, in French with English subtitles) and The Man Who Lies (3 minutes 22 seconds – 1080 Progressive 1.33:1 aspect ratio, in French with English subtitles), a 2014 promo reel for the six Alain Robbe-Grillet films that Kino Lorber / Redemption Films are releasing (2 minutes 9 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen) and an interview Alain Robbe-Grillet (30 minutes 56 seconds – 1080 Progressive 1.33:1 aspect ratio, in French with English subtitles) who discusses the origins of Eden and After, shooting for the first time in color, locations, the cast, the duplicity that occurs in the film, how there was no concrete plot and how the film eventually found its narrative structure and the critical reaction to the film.
Rounding out the extras is an alternate version of the film titled N. Took the Dice (79 minutes 7 seconds –1080 Progressive Widescreen, in French with English subtitles) that was made for French television. Also this is not a simple re-edit of the film, alternate takes and unused footage from Eden and After and this alternate cut has a more linear narrative.
Overall Eden and After another exceptional release from Kino Lorber / Redemption Films.
Note: Kino Lorber / Redemption Films are only releasing this film on Blu-Ray.