Mulholland Drive French DVD

146 mins. Regions: 2 (PAL). Languages: French (DD 5.1), English (DD 5.1). Subtitles: French. Widescreen (1.78:1), 16x9 enhanced. RSDL dual-layered (disc 1), singled-sided. Animated Menus. Library box packaging.
"Silence, On Tourne" making of featurette, Cannes 2001 press conference, exclusive interviews with Mary Sweeny and Angelo Badalamenti, "Sur Les Lieus Du Tournage" location gallery, Cast and Crew biographies and filmographies, Scene Selection (aka chapter stops).

The parade of Mulholland Drive DVD releases continues. This time we have a look at the French DVD release. Since Mulholland Drive was financed by Studio Canal (after the initial ABC money), it seems natural that this disc would have the most potential for supplements and attention to quality. For the most part, the disc delivers.

The animated main menu features parts of the opening car scene with flashes of other scenes from the film. The three available selections are to play the film, scene selection and audio setup.


Once again this disc features the same transfer as the other discs (and yes, the digital blurring is there in the Harring nude scene). Unfortunately, the MPEG compression of the disc itself is somewhat problematic. There's no reason I can see why the compression should be any worse than on the other MD discs as the extras are all on the second disc. Nonetheless, whomever did the compression of the French DVD only did a so-so job. It's not awful, but compression artifacts are present every now and then, more than on the US disc. Otherwise, the image is reasonably sharp and clear. As with the other discs the picture is presented in about a 1.78:1 aspect ratio (The original Mulholland Drive pilot was shot with 16:9 HD in mind), so if you have a widescreen display it fills it up nicely. The color holds well and the picture image is sharp.


The disc features both the English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and a French DD 5.1 soundtrack. The English track is exactly the same as the one featured on all the other discs as well as the theatrical mix. Like most of Lynch's films, use of the surrounds is subtile and there's a lot of dynamic range. The film features some excellent sound design, which thankfully is all preserved on the English track. Unfortunately, when you select the English soundtrack, it automatically turns on the French subtitles (due to contractual reasons) and won't let you turn them back off. However, after playing around with the disc in my computer dvd drive I was able to defeat this. Unfortunately, I have no idea exactly how I did it! I think it either had something to do with the DVDGenie software or going through the chapter selection section (more on that later). But it is possible, so if you play around with it you might be able to as well.


First up is a making of documentary entitled "Silence, On Tourne...," lasting almost 24 minutes. Much of the footage is taken from the same segments seen on the Korean DVD and US Video Presskit. But there is some other footage not seen on DVD before as well. Everything is edited together nicely with footage from the film to give a fairly complete look at the making of the film and the thoughts of the actors involved. Included are interviews with Lynch, Watts, Harring, Theroux and Badalamenti. There's more behind the scenes footage of filming the dinner scene at Adam's house and Winkies, this time with interview audio segments played over it. Since Canal wasn't involved with Mulholland Drive until the filming of the extra non-TV pilot scenes, all of the behind the scenes segments are from the latter part of the film. Once again, the French subtitles are locked on so you're stuck with them as you watch the documentary.
The next extra is a press conference from the 2001 Cannes Film Festival. Included on the panel are Alain Sarde, Mary Sweeney, Naomi Watts, David Lynch, Laura Harring, Justin Theroux, Angelo Badalamenti and Pierre Edelman. The press conference runs about 17 minutes, and while most of the information is the same as in the making of doc, it's a nice inclusion. After it is a segment running less than two minutes featuring Lynch receiving the best director award at the end of the festival.
There's a bonus feature on the disc entitled "Sur Les Lieux Du Tournage. It's several screens of text which appear to be about the locations in the film, or David Lynch's thoughts about the locations, but since I don't speak French I'm not 100% sure about that. I've included two sample pages above.
Not a part of the main making of documentary are two separate interviews with Angelo Badalamenti and Mary Sweeney. Unfortunately, Sweeney's interview is entirely in French with no English subtitles. It lasts about six minutes. Badalamenti's interview is in English with French subtitles (again locked on). It lasts almost 17 minutes.
"Un lien vers David Lynch" is a page listing the web address. But strangely it's not a clickable link you can use if watching it in a computer. It's just a static image.

The final extra is a cast and crew bio section, all in French. Unlike the US disc, it actually lists bios for at lot more than just the main three actors and Lynch.

The movie disc does include chapter stops. However, they are not accessible if you are playing the film. You can only select the chapters from a series of menu screens by clicking on various objects in Aunt Ruth's apartment. It's a neat idea in theory. Unfortunately, it's not very practical in practice. There's no way to know what section you're going to, as the same object doesn't take you to the same chapter twice. For instance, one time when I clicked on the picture of the Hollywood sign, I was taken to the Winkies scene. Another time it went to the Rita in the shower scene. Another time it went to the Cowboy scene. You get the idea. I don't know if this is intentional or a disc error, but either way it doesn't really help with navigation of the film. Maybe it's all a joke on Lynch's part? Maybe he said, "Sure, I'll give you chapter stops, but you never know where they're going to take you." That's just speculation on my part of course. Still, it's kind of cool to play with.
The disc also has some very nice animated menus. For instance, when you select to play the film, it shows the scene of the blue box opening and the camera going into it. Selecting other menus flashes various scenes from the film. When you change between the menu screens in Rita's apartment on the chapter page, it takes you down the hall into the next room.

The packaging also includes Lynch's ten clues to help you figure out Mulholland Drive, all in French of course. They're printed on one of the inner fold out sleeves.

Summing it all up, this is a pretty nice disc. A bit more attention could have been paid to the encoding of the film itself, so even being PAL it's not quite as good as the US NTSC version. But it's certainly not horrible either. Encoding aside, Canal really put a lot of work into this disc. It's nice to see a studio treat one of Lynch's films with the respect it deserves. I still might go with the Korean disc over this one (especially with the subtitle over the english track problem), but if you're a die hard Lynch collector you'll want to pick up this disc for the extras.

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