Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Juliette Binoche, Thierry Neuvic, Josef Bierbichler, Alexandre Hamidi, Maimouna Helene Diarra
Director: Michael Haneke
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Military & War
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A wonderful film - A 100% AWFUL DVD!!!
APC Reviews | USA | 08/21/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This is wonderful, innovative film that combines multiple story lines and characters in a method that seems jarring but that has a finer interrelation of lives in mind than the usual narrative. That said, this is an absolutely AWFUL quality DVD edition of Code Unknown as released by Kino in the US. The transfer is a LOW resolution, letterboxed, non-anamorphic, non-16:9 enhanced, heavily compressed dupe with poor color quality and heavy video artifacts throughout. It is without any added features whatsoever or the ability to turn off the subtitles. Kino is obviously representing some fine films, but if future releases by Kino follow the pattern of Code Unknown it will poison the well of any enthusiasm on the part of the discerning audience Kino depends on to buy copies of these sorts of films.The Kino release of Code Unknown is being sold at a premium price, but has the quality of a cheap knock-off DVD, no better than buying a VHS tape."
A brilliant shot of European Life
APC Reviews | 11/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It is rare when watching a film, to see reality realistically depicted. Code Unknown is one of those rarities.Haneke's film is a modest masterpiece, devastating in its honesty and sincerity. Taking "snapshots" of various peoples lives communicated in about 50 sequences he poses universal questions about conscience, consequence, communication and reality.In her finest performance ever Juliette Binoche is stunning as the actress on the verge of success. Just watch her act straight to the camera in a terrifying scene that turns out not to be real at all, and then be harrassed on a train in a horrible episode that turns out to be too real. Code Unknown is at times frustratingly opaque - like life. It is a film that has never been fully recognised for it's brilliance or originality. Unsurprising considering how difficult it is. Stick with it however and discover a richly satisfying film, worthy of repeat viewings and much argument.As for the DVD. The quality is not great in it's full frame letterboxed transfer. The print is scratchy and the sound hollow. A huge pity. This film deserved a lot better."
L. Shirley | fountain valley, ca United States | 08/22/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This review refers to the Kino Video DVD(2002)edition of "Code Unknown...Incomplete Tales of Several Journeys"....
In a film written and directed by Michael Haneke("The Piano Teacher")we find a theme that seems to be recurring in several movies lately. That is the lives of several people, some strangers to each other, and mostly by happenstance, seem to intersect in fateful ways. Some of the other films with this theme are "Magnolia", and the "Three Colors Trilogy". In "Code Unknown", it is the actions of one individual, an adolescent boy, discontented with the direction his life is headed, that sets off a chain of events for those around him.
The story is a complex one, but rather intriguing.
Jean runs away from the farm and the life his father had planned for him. Jean is seeking refuge with older brother Georges, a journalist, away covering the events in Kosovo. Jean turns to Anne, Georges' actress girlfriend for help. She feels for him but has her own busy schedule to tend to and Jean is left frustrated and angry. In his frustration he throws a piece of trash down at a beggar woman and this seemingly minor infraction starts the wheels in motion for this unique take on lives connected by happenstance.
The film is shot in a way that takes you through bits and pieces of each life involved and then blacks out to the next. On returning to the indivdual stories, some time has passed and it seems it is up to the viewer to fill in the blanks. The final scene, shot with a mesmerizing musical piece, will still leave you thinking about it for quite some time. Haneke also interweaves scenes from a deaf children's school, where the students are pantomiming emotions, that also gets us to thinking.
Although, I did not feel as personal with these characters as I did with the "Three Colors Trilogy", I felt it was an intriguing story and well made film, that gives a realistic look at life and was absolutely worth the view. One that I will most certainly watch many more times.
Juliette Binoche stars as the up and coming actress and as always gives us a really true to life performance. Her co-stars include Thierry Neuvic,Sepp Bierbichler Ona Lu Yenke and Luminita Gheorghiu,(Whew... I hope I spelled all those right!)all turning in excellent performances as well.
The film is in French(mostly), with English subtitles. It is letterboxed(1.85:1)and is presented in Dolby Dig 2.0. The DVD picture was nice and clear for the most part and the sound was good.For a film made so recently, the transfer could have been better, but there was nothing that took away from the enjoyment of the film. The only thing that may be bothersome is if you want to watch it without the subtitles. I could not find a way to delete them. The subtitles are nice and clear but not in the black bar portion, they are at the bottom of the picture.
A nice one to add to your foreign film collection.
Three Colors Trilogy (Red / White / Blue) [Import](All-region)(Remastered)
La Passante du Sans-Souci [Region 2]"
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 05/25/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Michael Haneke is either mad or a genius. That's the feeling that comes after watching "Code Unknown," a strangely compelling -- and very unconventionally-shot -- movie about people who lack a place to live in peace. The performances are realistic, the direction strangely minimalist -- and the feel is confusing and vivid.The movie follows the lives of many people living in France -- an immigrant taxi driver who returns to his homeland. A Romanian woman who faces deportation. A young boy fleeing life on a farm. An Arab heckles people on a subway. A young black man who can't understand why people are so disrespectful to a woman on the street. And a young actress who simply seems to be struggling with her boyfriend. These people bump into one another, and their lives brush for brief instants that change everything."Code: Unknown" is not an easy film to get into. Its fragmented story is made up of dozens of little scenes, which are sometimes cut off in mid-sentence. What's more, there are certain scenes (like Binoche and an old lady walking through a cemetary, or a boy riding his bike away from a farm) that may seem dull at first glance.Certainly Haneke's filmmaking is unique. There is no soundtrack at all; in some scenes, all you can hear are cars and footsteps. Each scene is filmed in one long continuous take, which adds to the ultra-realistic feel of the film -- it's unadorned, lacking in drama, gritty and sometimes a bit tedious, like real life. And Haneke's directorial skill is at its best when communicating how alienated and alone these people are -- for example, Binoche on a stage, speaking wistfully to a nonexistant audience.The acting ranges from silly to superb. Juliette Binoche is undoubtedly the best in this film, especially since she had to do all her scenes in a continuous take. Early in the movie, she's called upon to display indifference, suspicion, fear, misery and terror all in the space of a few minutes. The other supporting actors are usually okay if not terribly memorable, and a few of them definitely go over the top like Ona Lu Yenke.Michael Haneke's "Code Unknown" is a strange, vivid look at being alone and being adrift. This cinematic collage is hypnotic and a little warped, and definitely worth checking out... but only with an open mind."