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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English
  Extras
  • 1 Teaser trailer
  • 2 Theatrical trailer
  • Cast/crew biographies
  • Behind the scenes footage - Set Construction

The Closet (Le Placard)

Madman Entertainment/AV Channel . R4 . COLOR . 84 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

World-renowned writer/director Francis Veber, the master behind La Cage Aux Folles (later made into the US film The Birdcage), has done it again with his latest film, The Closet. Starring French comedian Gerard Depardieu, Daniel Autuil and Thierry Lhermitte, the story is centred around François Pignon (Autuil) who has recently overheard a conversation telling him that he is about to get fired. That night, he meets his new neighbour Jean-Pierre (Michal Aumont), who comes up with the plan to save his job – all he has to do is to come out of the closet. Jean-Pierre practices some magical digital photo work and converts a photo of two leather men into a photo of two leather men but with one having Pignon’s face, which he then sends around the condom factory where Pignon works. Management know that they cannot fire him now because people will scream “sexual discrimination” and create quite a scene. But now Pignon’s friends, ex-wife, son and co-workers look at him in a totally different light.

Nothing comes close to a good French comedy such as this. It is one of the quirkiest comedies to come out in recent years, and more importantly one of the most original. This is definitely the freshest comedy to reach our shores in a long, long time, and enables society to get a look into the lives of others, for this film the gay community. Films such as The Opposite of Sex (directed by Don Roos) and Go (directed by Doug Liman) have slight gay themes running through them, which then exposes society to a different lifestyle. While many people now are accepting of homosexuality, some still aren’t and film is one of the easiest mediums to include these themes in as it has such a large audience. While The Closet won’t have as big a target audience as the two aforementioned films, it still shows the light-hearted side of gay life. The timing of all the comedy in this film is spot-on, and some of the lines are just hilarious, even if you do have to read them.

  Video
Contract

The video is presented in a widescreen aspect of 2.35:1, and is 16x9 enhanced. As we have come to expect from Madman Entertainment, the video quality is remarkably high.

Aliasing artefacts can be seen throughout the feature, with varying degrees of severity. These occur on the usual culprits, such as banisters, horizontal Venetian blinds and the likes. At times the aliasing in bearable, but at others it is too much and takes away from the image.

Now that the major fault of the transfer is over, it’s on to the good stuff. Colours are richly mastered with a lifelike presence and bold realism. Blues are deep and rich, and greens are luminescent and... well, green. Skin tones appear lifelike and peachy. Reds are generally very nicely rendered apart from the opening titles, which at times appear blurred and to be suffering from some slight bleeding.

Throughout the entire feature, a superb clarity can be seen, leading to a crisp, clear world rendered on the small shiny disc. The level of detail too is incredibly high, boasting a rich frame on-screen. The modern bizarreness of the interior of the condom factory shows off these two features with an exquisite precision. It’s just a pity about the aliasing which the factory does a great job of displaying...

There are the occasional film artefacts visible, but these are mostly minute and not at all distracting. Grain doesn’t appear to pose any problems, nor does shadow detail. During the few dark scenes, blacks are solid with a great level of detail. There is no sign of low-level noise during these sequences.

Being a French film, English subtitles have been provided for those of us who are unable to follow along with the French dialogue. They are clear, crisp and easy to read in a yellow font, as seen on SBS. One slight fault with these is at 10:27 where a section of dialogue on the radio flashes up and disappears again, leaving the viewer to only guess what was said.

According to the packaging, the disc is dual layered, however the disc appears to be a single layered disc, as nothing even closely resembling a layer change occurs.

  Audio
Contract

There are two audio tracks on this disc – both film dialogue tracks, just with different languages. Both tracks are 5.1, and are either English or French. Being a foreign film, the French track is by far the best listening option. If you have doubts, listen to the English track for five seconds and find out why for yourself. The English, well American track actually, changes the dialogue significantly for US audiences to understand, and the American accents are just so annoying. Plus the lip synch is out, obviously. That should be enough to persuade you towards opting for the French language.

Both tracks have the exact same high quality sound, just with different dialogue. The 5.1 features - the subwoofer and discrete surrounds - are hardly used, apart from the score during the opening and closing credits. The tracks easily could have been stereo tracks. The fidelity of both tracks is incredibly high, offering a rich, realistic sound.

Dialogue is crisp and clear throughout, and the English dialogue is easy to understand, but not recommended to listen to. There are the occasional front left and right sound effects, but generally the effects come from the front speakers simultaneously.

  Extras
Contract

Madman usually provide a great selection of extra features, but sadly, this disc misses out on that tradition.

There is a brief (1:40) featurette on the construction of the factory, as well as talent profiles for Daniel Auteuil, Gérard Depardieu, Thierry Lhermitte and Francis Veber. Three trailers have been included, two of which are in French language with no subtitles. This is similar to Open Your Eyes, also from Madman, where the trailers are in Spanish language only with no subtitles. The English theatrical trailer is different from other trailers seen previously in Madman Propaganda, and is lacking in quality. It barely tells the story of the movie, while the other trailer does so extremely well. Speaking of propaganda, the usual page is here featuring trailers for Kandahar, Lumumba, Monsoon Wedding and No Man's Land. There is the added bonus of the Easter egg, but you'll need to go to our Easter eggs page to find out about that one...

  Overall  
Contract

This film is a fresh oddball comedy that is sure to tickle everyone’s funny bone at one point or another. The video transfer is stunning, as we have come to expect from Madman, and the audio is sufficient but nothing to rave about. The extra features are severely lacking, but this is one disc definitely worth a look at least once.


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      And I quote...
    "...The freshest comedy to reach our shores in a long, long time..."
    - Martin Friedel
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Nowa DS-8318
    • TV:
          TEAC 68cm CTV
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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