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Introduction
Shortly after I received this movie a friend of mine caught sight of the cover. "Ah yes", she said, "I really enjoyed that film. Nothing much happens in it!" I can't say that I expected much after that, but was nevertheless intrigued to see for myself what the film would be like.

Un Coeur En Hiver
Movie
Un Coeur En Hiver (A Heart in Winter) tells the story of a love triangle. Stephane (Daniel Auteuil) and Maxime (André Dussollier) are partners in their violin making and repair business, which has a good reputation amongst musicians. The pair have been working together for many years and have a working relationship which is built on trust. Maxime has fallen in love with an attractive violinist, Camille (Emmanuelle Béart), and brings her to meet Stephane. Camille and Stephane are instantly taken with each other and he appears to be soft and well mannered, offering a shoulder to cry on when she has problems, but once confronted by her Stephane seems unable to admit his true feelings, prefering instead to hide behind a facade and claiming that the attraction she feels for him is not mutual. She knows that he is not telling her the truth and frustration overwhelms her as she starts to fall apart.

The remainder of the film focuses on the effect of these events on the lives of the characters, particularly on Stephane who starts to discover things about himself. It does not have a traditional happy ending, so the feel-good factor from watching a Holllywood romantic film is missing, but such an ending here would only have appeared contrived. There is also something to be said for an ending that leaves a little to the imagination of the viewer and this film certainly benefits from daring to avoid the gimmicky Hollywood ending

Un Coeur En Hiver
All in all the film is well acted, with the three main actor/actresses all providing solid and believable performances. The plot is also intriguing, which even though it left me feeling that not much had actually happened, it didn't really matter as the film focuses on relationships and emotions, rather than on dramatic events. Definitely worth watching but a thoughtful evening's entertainment rather than an action packed bonanza..

Video
Second Sight Films have released this movie with an Anamorphic 1.66:1 transfer, which is without a doubt the highlight of the disc.  The movie is over ten years old, but the transfer is exceptional , and I would even go as far as saying that it is nearly on par with some recent big budget releases. Colour levels are extremely impressive, with skin tones and outside scenery reproduced accurately, while black levels are also solid. Grain levels are the only potential downfall of this disc as there are a few scenes where grain becomes distracting. Saying that compression artifacts are minimal and edge enhancements also keep a low profile. The image is also sharp and clear, so overall this is a pretty decent effort.  

Un Coeur En Hiver
Audio
Simple but effective is the catchphrase that would best describe the soundtrack included with this release. Second Sight have only provided the original language which is broadcast in Dolby Stereo, so subtitles are needed for anyone who doesn't speak French.  There is not much to say about this soundtrack, as it does its job proficiently and with the least amount of fuss. The movie is very much dialogue driven, so this element of the soundtrack takes upmost importance.  Well, I am happy to report that the dialogue is coherent throughout, which is not something I can say about the subtitles provided.  English subtitles are provided for us non-French speaking people, but the subtitles are not the clearest I have seen, and therefore making heavily dialogued scenes quite hard going. While I am talking about the subtitles it is worth pointing out that the French translation to English is pretty accurate, which I have on good authority from my wife who speaks both languages.

Extas
As expected there are no extras with this release, which is not really surprising considering that this is a low profile foreign language release.  Recently some of the higher profile foreign language DVDs have featured an impressive list of extras, but I think we are still some way from this becoming the standard for all foreign language DVDs.

Un Coeur En Hiver
Overall                                                                                                
Un Coeur En Hiver may not be to everyone’s taste due to its snail pace plot, but if you are prepared to stick around for the duration then the film will leave you with plenty of things to reflect upon. Second Sight Films have provided a disc which can best be described as average. The transfer is impressive, the soundtrack is functional, but the extras are non-existent, which is thankfully the exception rather than the rule with DVDs these days. Its fair to say that this is not a DVD to showcase to friends, but if you like the film, or just fancy a foreign language movie which will get your brain ticking, then I can recommend Un Coeur En Hiver.              


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