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Moon in the Gutter [Blu-ray] [Import]

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Format: NTSC, Import
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Cinema Libre
  • Release Date: Dec 6 2011
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B005TH69X6
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Product Description

BETTY BLUE director Jean Jacques Beineix's terrifically atmospheric and vastly underrated adaptation of David Goodis' noir classic stars Gerard Depardieu as a raffish longshoreman who mourns his raped, suicided sister amongst the bars and sleazy dives of the seedy Marseilles waterfront. When mystery girl Nastassja Kinski goes slumming in his neighborhood, Depardieu is bewitched by her beauty and soon learns she may know something about the identity of his sibling's attacker. Updates writer Goodis' dark urban underworld into a color-coded dreamland of nightmarish regret and longing, yet still somehow faithfully retains the essence of the original novel. Delirious, audacious and unashamed of its breathtakingly stylized sets.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
"The Moon in the Gutter" (1983) is directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix (Diva, Betty Blue).
The movie takes place mostly in a lower class neighbourhood, or at the docks where Gerard (Gerard Depardieu) works, and focuses on the women in his life, including his tigress girlfriend, Bella (Victoria Abril), as he tries to make sense of his sister's death. When Gerard meets Loretta (Nastassja Kinski), a wealthy amateur photographer, she seems to reveal a better, ideal world, beyond his squalid life. This is emphasized in a billboard image of a tourist destination that is seen behind Loretta as she drives up to his house. This stylized and melancholic film, with a wonderfully eclectic soundtrack by Gabriel Yared, is beautifully lit and directed. Its often dream like quality reflects a complex world of disillusionment, and hope where convalescence resides.

The blu-ray is actually closer in quality to what one would expect from a dvd given its lack of detail. The special features include an interview with the director (16 min), movie stills, and the director's first film "Mr. Michel's Dog"(15 min).
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film trails behind 'Diva' and 'Betty Blue', the two most known films, and highly rated, from French director Jean-Jacques Beineix whose film career seemed to peak in that time period, and then went downhill. It starred a young Gerard Depardieu and Nastassja Kinski. The character played by GP was traumatized when his sister was raped and then committed suicide, and he was obsessed with seeking out the rapist. Kinski played a rich girl who entered into his life. She was one pretty actress at that time.

Many scenes showed the typical J-J B characteristics - the lighting, the frame composition - which I enjoyed. The plot is flawed and parts of the film were drawn out (the film is over 2 hours long). But if you are a Beineix fan, like I am, you still get something from it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.3 out of 5 stars 15 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Moon in the Gutter--brilliant French existentialist Noir Sept. 6 2008
By Richard L. Jackson - Published on
Verified Purchase
This brilliant film is an example of existential angst wrapped up in a modern Noir type of packaging. It was not truly appreciated when released in the theaters but is well worth watching and owning. The film is so engrossing that the reading of the dialogue is not wearisome as some foreign films are. The directors stylistic use of images to hint at and suggest deeper themes is truly artistic. Not only that, the book it is based on is an often overlooked novel by one of America's less appreciated authors David Goodis. He has often been the author of books chosen for the films. His 1st novel DARK PASSAGE was, of course, a challanging vehicle for Bogart. You will not regret purchasing the film. But PLEASE read the book too. You will never regret the experience of seeing the lonely of the loser struggling against all odds just to survive as a descent man in a world set against him. Good acting by Gerard and Natasha as well. Money well invested.

Richard Leo Jackson
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very poor image quality Jan. 8 2012
By M. Hafner - Published on
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
The transfer used for this disc is of very poor quality and not representative of the quality of the photography of this film. It's not worthy of a Blu Ray release since it's even below good DVD quality. Calling it HD is misleading. There is no HD detail there nor the proper look and texture of 35mm film.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disjointed and flawed, but visually striking and worth a look April 27 2010
By Kardius - Published on
Format: DVD
I really wanted to like this movie, since I'm an admirer of Diva and Betty Blue, and I'm a huge fan of the three leads (Gerard Depardieu, Nastassja Kinski, and Victoria Abril), but, despite the wonderful production design and the intriguing noirish setup for the storyline, there was no getting around the fact that the movie doesn't work as a whole in the current version. It's clear to see why it was critically panned upon release. As it is, the film is a series of beautiful but disjointed scenes, with exceptional acting, that drags at certain points and fails to fully develop its main characters.
Gerard Depardieu is at his best and he has rarely looked so hot in a movie. Beineix shot some of the most flattering close-ups I have seen of him. Nastassja Kinski was at the peak of her beauty, and as always is a striking presence, but sadly there's not much character development to her part. Best of all is Victoria Abril, rightfully nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Cesar, who brings an much needed energy to the film, even if she's playing a stereotype. The scenes between Depardieu and Kinski are the most visually beautiful, but the acting honors go to the ones with Abril and Depardieu. It's amazing that Kinski and Abril were so young (23?) when they shot this film, since they bring an emotional complexity and maturity, expressed in very simple gestures, that I cannot imagine in any contemporary young actress.
To sum up, I recommend checking it out for the visuals and the acting, but it's flawed. It would be wonderful if somehow the edited scenes were to be found somewhere and Beineix could do a better, longer edit, like he did with Betty Blue.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too cool for school and just riding for a fall Sept. 4 2012
By Trevor Willsmer - Published on
Format: DVD
"The moon may be in the gutter, but the film is in the toilet," noted Gerard Depardieu, seeming to go along with the tidal wave of critical derision that met Jean-Jacques Beineix's The Moon in the Gutter on its disastrous premiere at Cannes. Up until that fateful night it was the hottest property in European cinema: Depardieu at the height of his cool, Nastassja Kinski at the height of her fame, a supporting cast including Victoria Abril, Dominique Pinon and Bertice Reading, Beineix fresh off the success of Diva with a novel by pulp poet David Goodis to play with... If ever there were a picture too cool for school and just riding for a fall, it was this one, and it fell hard.

As you'd expect from one of the creators of the cinema du look, it's a striking looking film, shot at Cinecitta on lovingly crafted not quite naturalistic sets in neon reds, greens and more muted orange and teals before the latter became a visual cliché, and the heightened stylisation extends to almost every aspect of the film. Thus Kinski's entrance is played at length to the accompaniment of a vivid piano concerto as she slowly walks into a bar, the camera slowly caressing her from a respectful distance as the director creates a bit of cinematic grand opera out of a character not actually doing very much, which sums up a lot of the film. It's a mood piece that's more about the filmmaking than the story or characterisation, the former anorexic, the latter striving for the iconic but settling for archetypes, and if you're not in the right mood it'll try your patience to the limit. Everything happens very slowly, very deliberately, allowing you to either wallow in the visuals or beat your head against the wall as you wait for something to happen. Very little does and even less is resolved. Sometimes you'll get a sequence where the studio setting allows Beineix such complete control of the elements that you'll get a virtuoso display of filmmaking, such as a fight in a banana warehouse, a rapid tracking shot along a gutter or a last kiss in an alley, but what's missing in a film about the way pain paralyses the heart and soul is an emotional connection with the characters. They're part of the scenery, seemingly chosen for how they look rather than what they make you feel.

There is a plot, of sorts, or at least an excuse. Still haunted by the rape and death of his sister that destroyed his family, Depardieu hangs around the docks where she was killed, constantly drawn to the still bloodstained gutter where she died, perhaps looking for her killer but more probably just looking for something to come into his life. That something is Kinski's rich girl, who he meets when she tries to bring her drunken and existentially empty brother home from the aforementioned bar (the film is big on existential emptiness and the ennui of humid nights in seedy neighbourhoods). But is she enough to drag him away from his corrosive obsession? And does Beineix really care?

Maybe once upon a time there was something that anchored these setpieces in enough of a character-driven plot to make us care about these people as much as the director cares about the images, but it has trouble sustaining its 138-minute running time, so it's hard to believe that the director's intended four-hour director's cut (which will never see the light of day since all the deleted footage was destroyed in the wake of the film's failure) would have been a lost masterpiece. If anything it feels like the ideal double-bill companion for Coppola's equally garish One From the Heart, another film that loses sight of the emotions with all the visual overkill. Although he doesn't mention that film in the 16-minute interview on the US DVD, Beineix does admit to making the film in a state somewhere between a reverie and an obsessive belief in his own invincibility much like that Coppola displayed before the box-office brought him back to earth.

Unfortunately the US DVD is marred by an easily avoidable subtitling problem: despite being a 2.35:1 widescreen film and there being ample room in the black bar below the image area, the non-removeable subtitles are presented over the picture, which is particularly disastrous in the first half hour here as they often hide important visual information in the lower part of the frame: a shot of blood red water in a gutter turning black is lost behind subtitles while long dialogue scenes almost look like characters have white tape over their mouths. It's rare for subtitling to be this conspicuous or damaging, but this DVD certainly manages it.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
By rsoonsa - Published on
Jean-Jacques Beineix recently stated (transl.) "An auteur does not speak the truth" and here, within this enormously powerful film, he but flirts with reality, while most of the director's creative fires feed upon his singular employment of colour and set design. The style of Beineix, as a cinematic architect, may be designated as Rococo with, as he avers, a preeminence of (transl.) "atmosphere over narrative", fostering an element of whimsy, greatly enhanced by his recognition of a symbolic authority resting upon commercial advertising and its adjuncts. A studied development of exaggerated imagination marks the film, each frame being carefully composed for a production that originally extended to over four and one half hours, in the face of Beineix' assertion that he abhors filmic structuring. This organizational factor, at least in part, stems from an obligatory reflex of the director as recognition of the film's source, a novel by David Goodis, wherein the action occurs primarily at and about dockside Philadelphia, transferred here to an undesignated Marseille, and with the novelist's prototypical women intact, one, Loretta (Nastassia Kinski), angelic and carnally unattainable, ("you are pure" declaims Gerard Depardieu to her), the second, Bella (Victoria Abril) triumphantly lusty and possessed of will such as the work's protagonist, Gerard Delmas (Depardieu) apparently does not have. Delmas is compulsively drawn to the site of his sister's gruesome death by her own hand following her sexual violation, hoping to discover keys to what prompted her suicide, to the identity of her assailant, and to a rationale behind his own obsession. Thus is formed a basis for a plot, such as it may be, yet style is properly victor over substance with this undervalued and enigmatic piece that is nearly all filmed in studio, the greatest portion lighted by arcs and photo floods, with scoring contributed in elegant and operatically motival fashion by Gabriel Yared, and paced throughout, as Beineix describes it, with (transl.) "slow gestures forming the choreography."