Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 7th, 2015
BluRay released: November 10th, 2015
Approximate running time: 94 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono French
BluRay Release: Kino Lorber
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.95
Synopsis: A man who has recently attempted suicide agrees to participate in a time travel experiment where the only test subjects to date have been mice. Along the way a machine malfunction allows the man to experience moments from his past in random order.
Je t’aime je t’aime was directed by Alain Resnais whose other notable films include, Night and Fog, Hiroshima Mon Amour and Last Year at Marienbad. Key collaborators on Je t’aime je t’aime include cinematographer Jean Boffety (Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge), composer Krzysztof Penderecki (The Saragossa Manuscript) and screenwriter / author Jacques Sternberg (Far from Vietnam).
Once something has happened there is a finality to that moment in time which in majority of instances makes it near impossible to change the course that has been set in motion from said moment in time. This is precisely what happens to the protagonist in the film. His life is turned upside down when his girlfriend decides to leave him. From there he can simply move on and try to cope with his pain. Instead he decides to take the easy way out by attempting suicide. Fortunately for him he fails in his attempt to end it all and he is now given an additional alternative to achieve what he desires most. Regaining the love he has lost by returning to the moment when things were perfect in his now failed relationship.
Though there have been numerous films that delve into the subject matters of time travel and suicide. It is safe to say that no film before or since has combined these two subjects like the way they are resented in this film. In fact by the time the film has settled in these two things are pushed to the background as the film’s new focus has shifted to the protagonists past. With the bulk of the film revolving a series of events from the protagonists past. These events from his past feature him with several different women and the tone of these moments are happy and sad, with the bulk of these moment falling into the later category.
Structurally though the narrative starts of on a straight path. Then things become more entangled once the protagonist starts to revisit moments from his past. Which are presented in random order and they vary in their duration. With this being said, there are bound to those who find this nonlinear section of the film difficult to digest. And repeated viewings is must to fully appreciate all of this film’s nuances.
And performance wise, everything revolves around this film leading man Claude Rich (The Bride Wore Black) in the role of Claude Ridder, this film’s protagonist. The weight of this film rides on the shoulders of his performance which is extraordinary. Another performance of note is Olga Georges-Picot (Farewell Friend) in the role of Catrine, the woman that Claude Ridder’s character obsesses over the love they once shared.
Je t’aime je t’aime comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. This film has a distinctive color palette and this transfer does a superb job retaining it. Black and contrast levels look consistently strong and details look crisp. Also grain look natural and there are no issues with DNR or compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in French and also included with this release are removable English subtitles. The audio is in excellent shape as dialog comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced and robust when it needs too.
Extras for this release include, a trailer for the film (3 minutes 37 seconds – 1080 progressive widescreen, in French with English subtitles), audio interview with director Alain Resnais (12 minutes 43 seconds, in French with English subtitles), an interview with actor Claude Rich (15 minutes 45 seconds – 1080 progressive widescreen, in French with English subtitles) and a featurette titled ‘The Meeting of Alain Resnais and Jacques Sternberg’ (20 minutes 31 seconds – 1080 progressive, in French with English subtitles).
Topics discussed in the interview with Alain Resnais include, the title of the film, why he prefers to collaborate with those who have no cinema background, collaborating on the screenplay with author Jacques Sternberg, how François Truffaut helped the film after its original financial backers abandoned it, the cast, the look of the film and the score for the film.
Topics discussed in the interview with Claude Rich include, how he was initially intimidated by the role and his thoughts on the character, collaborating with Alain Resnais and how he had them rehearse like they were doing a play, cast & crew and on-set memories.
Topics discussed in the extra tilted ‘The Meeting of Alain Resnais and Jacques Sternberg’ include, Alain Resnais’s frequent collaborations with author’s, the evolution of the premise into a screenplay and what ended up onscreen, the look of the film, cinema technics used and key scenes are discussed in depth.
Rounding out the extras is a reversible cover art and a twelve page booklet with an essay titled ‘Trapped in Time Alain Resnais Je t’aime je t’aime’ written by Johnathan Rosenbaum. Overall Je t’aime je t’aime gets a solid release from Kino Lorber.
Note: Kino Lorber are also releasing this film on DVD.