(1971, Dir. Walerian Borowczyk)
94 min. / Color / 1.66:1 / French with optional English subtitles
Olive Films BD $29.95, DVD $24.95
70 min. / B&W / 1.33:1
Polish animator/director Walerian Borowczyk is finally (hopefully) getting the attention he deserves here in the U.S., courtesy of no less than four stunning Blu-ray/DVD releases of his works from Olive FIlms, including his masterpiece, Blanche, one of the loveliest and most unforgettable films we've ever seen.
Medieval France, and during a visit to a nobleman's castle, the King and his randy personal assistant both make a pass at the Lady of the Estate, the virginal Blanche, who is roughly 125 years younger than her husband (give or take a week). That sets a chain of tragedies in motion that ends up badly for pretty much everybody.
Stunningly gorgeous film, with set design and cinematography using actual medieval art as references and with all music played on period French instruments - no film reflects the Middle Ages as well as this one did, and the cast is impeccable, particularly French screen legend Michel Simon (L'Atalante, Port of Shadows, Boudu Saved from Drowning) as the old man, Georges Wilson (The Three Musketeers) as the King, and the hauntingly beautiful Legia Branice (Mrs. Borowczyk) as Blanche.
“To love, but to take one's secret to the grave - that is the real art."
The disc includes a short documentary interview with several of the crew, and an introduction by director Lesley Megahey.
More than half of 2017 still to go, but without question this release will end up on our short list of Best Discs of the year come December. Simply a gorgeous film, impeccably presented. Highest recommendation.