Delicatessen DVD Review
PicturePresented in an anamorphically enhanced 1.85:1 ratio, this high-quality transfer is a notch above the already impressive picture offered on previous PAL incarnations of the movie. Most obviously the colour is even and consistent, and displays Khondji's distinctive yellowish tones more accurately than has previously been available. Picture quality is sharp and well defined (again, slightly more so than the R2), and there is very little in the way of noticeable artefacts, edge enhancement, or bleeding. Outdoor scenes tend to looka touch soft, however this appears to be more in keeping with the aesthetic choice of the directors over any perceived issues with the fidelity of the transfer. Bearing in mind the age of the movie, this is very impressive indeed.
SoundAudio is represented in a Dolby Digital 2.0 track in the movies native French. Delicatessens soundtrack is as lovingly constructed as its visuals, with wonderfully rhythmic accompaniments, inventive flourishes, and impressive action scenes. With this in mind, it's perhaps something of a shame that such originality couldn't have been blessed with an upgraded full surround mix as a potential alternative to the original track. Having said that, at least the original audio is preserved and the cardinal sin of the English dub hasn't been allowed to compromise the integrity of the movie. For what it is, this is a good example of a 2.0 mix, with a robust and admirably rich sound throughout. There can be no complaints with clarity either, with dialogue and effects nice and clear.
ExtrasCo-director Jean-Pierre Jeunet provides an audio commentary for this release, and it's a good one. Speaking in his native French with optional subtitles, Jeunet provides a wide range of information ranging from technical concerns through to casting and how he set out to achieve the distinctive look of the film. Well worth a listen for those interested in knowing more about the movie.
The Archives of Jean-Pierre Jeunet is an eight minute look at the audition tapes of the lead actors, and is again presented in original audio with optional subs. It's mildly diverting, although I would suspect it would hold more of an interest to those wishing to gain an insight into the film at its nucleus stage.
The quality rises once more with 'Fine Cooked Meats: A Nod to Delicatessen' which is a making-of featurette, and a very fine one at that. Comprising of behind the scenes footage and interviews with cast and crew, it's certainly better than many cynical PR exercises posing as behind the scenes material on many of today's releases, and contains a nice spread of interesting and diverting material. It's a little short at a mere thirteen minutes however.
Rounding off the selection is the theatrical and teaser trailers for the movie.
VerdictWonderfully original and creative, that Delicatessen is still fresh and inventive today is a testament to its timeless qualities and innovative style. This new release combines a reasonable selection of extras with an impressive picture quality and should really be sought out by everyone unfamiliar with the film.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £18.59
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