Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 2nd, 2011
BluRay released: June 14th, 2011
Approximate running time: 91 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Surround English, Dolby Digital Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Synapse Films
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.95
Synopsis: A chance encounter with a former friend ignites a sadomastic relationship.
The Image was adapted and directed By Radley Metzger one of the forerunners of soft-core erotica cinema in the 1960’s and early 1970’s. And just like his previous film The Score, this film often blurs the line between soft-core and hard-core erotica. By the time that Radley Metzger set his sights on making the definitive cinematic statement on sadomasochism. He had begun the transition from soft-core erotica into full on hard-core pornography, with films like The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann and Naked Came the Stranger. And just a year after The Image, he would directed what is arguably the best hard-core pornographic film ever made, The Opening of Misty Beethoven. But let’s not get to far ahead of ourselves. Let’s dig a little deeper into the film at hand, The Image.
The screenplay for The Image was adapted from a novel that was written by Catherine Robbe-Grillet, the wife of French filmmaker Alain Robbe-Grillet (Gradiva). The plot revolves around three characters, Jean the man drawn into this sadomastic menage trois, Claire an older wealthy woman and their plaything Anne.
Structure wise the film does a superb job establishing the relationship between the three main players, especially Jean and Anne. There is a well defined evolution to the proceedings at hand that makes everything all the more plausible and easier to digest.
And while it is far too easy to dismiss this film as nothing more than a series of sexual rendezvous around the city of Paris. If you are willing to look past the stylized moments of sexualized fetishism, there is a well of subtext that can be gleaned from this film. Most notably how pleasure and pain are intertwined.
Besides the aforementioned moments of depravity. Another area in which this production excels includes it’s picturesque visuals which uses the Paris locations for maximum effect. With a scene in a rose garden being one of the more visually resonating moments. Of course one should not overlook the S & M laced moments which are all exquisitely realized.
Performance wise this film has one of the strongest casts that ever appeared in any Radley Metzger film. With the film’s standout performance coming from Rebecca Brooke in the role of Anne (Abigail Lesley is Back in Town, Laura’s Toys). She also just happened to be Radley Metzger’s girlfriend at the time. So much of this film relies on her performance and she does not disappoint. And while she had appeared in many of sexually themed films, it is safe to say that this is without a doubt the most graphic scenes she ever participated in. My favorite moment of hers in this film is a scene in which Jean and Clair, who are standing on either side of her play with her pussy while they give the waiter their order. The other two main actors Carl Parker (The Score) and Marilyn Roberts do a pitch perfect job counterbalancing their performances with Rebecca Brooke’s performance.
The Image comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. Colors look vibrant, flesh tones look accurate and black levels look consistently strong throughout. Grain looks natural, there are no problems with compression or DNR.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 Surround mix in English and a Dolby Digital Mono mix in English. Both audio mixes are in every good shape as dialog is always clear and everything sounds balanced. With the main difference between these two audio mixes being that the DTS-HD 5.1 Surround mix does a slightly better job with the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack. Also included with this release are English SDH subtitles.
Extras for this release include a filmography for Radley Metzger, liner notes about the film written by Mondo Digital’s Nathaniel Thompson and a isolated music track. Overall The Image makes its way into Hi Def via a solid audio / video presentation from Synapse Films.
Note: This title is also being released by Synapse Films on DVD.