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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » My Sex Life
My Sex Life
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Review by Chris Hughes | posted October 12, 2000 | E-mail the Author
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Features: Widescreen - 1.85:1. Audio Tracks: French - Stereo. Theatrical Trailer.

The Movie:
The title of Arnaud Depletion's 'Comment Je Me Suis Disputé' was translated into English as 'My Sex Life' but a more accurate name might have been 'My Love Life.' The brooding and introspective character study has very little to do with sex and a great deal to do with the nature of relationships and the meaning of being an adult.

Paul Dedalus (note the phonetic resemblance of his name to Daedalus; legendary builder of the Labyrinth) the protagonist of 'My Sex Life' is a twenty-nine year old graduate student and teaching assistant in the midst of an emotional crisis. On the one hand he's questioning the value of his ten-year old relationship and on the other wondering if he should continue working toward the goal of becoming a full professor. Paul sees his life as an independent and freethinking male slipping away from him and 'My Sex Life' is an examination of his journey of discovery from childhood to manhood. The story follows Paul as he hangs out with his college friends, gets involved with several women (including his best friend's girlfriend) and eventually has to face the reality of his situation and make some hard choices.

Arnaud Depletion's technique evolves directly out of the French New Wave and cinema verite. There's a very Truffaut-like feel to this film in both the cinematography and the stunningly realistic performances by the actors. The film is dialogue heavy and slow paced but the depth and breath of ideas covered is well worth the three-hour time investment.

The Picture:
I'm sorry to report that such a fine film suffers from exceptionally sub standard presentation on this disc. The problems with this transfer are myriad so let's just dive right in. First of all, though widescreen, the transfer is non-anamorphic. The film elements used here seem to be free of dust and scratches but the cigarette burns are still in evidence. The images themselves suffer from excessive brightness that causes white objects to flare into amorphous blobs. On the other spectrum blacks hover around dark gray and show no detail whatsoever. Finally, as if these problems weren't enough, the subtitles are printed on the film itself and can not be turned on and off. In addition they're very blurry and tend to blend into bright backgrounds making them almost unreadable at times.

The Sound:
The stereo soundtrack on 'My Sex Life' is serviceable but un-extraordinary. Dialogue is reasonably clear throughout and there's only a hint of hiss. Unfortunately the dynamic range is extremely limited making for a monotone listing experience that can get a little wearing on the ear after two hours or so. This film doesn't offer the kind of action that can benefit from full 5.1 audio mixes but there's no questions that the producers of this DVD could and should have done better with the stereo track.

The Extras: The only extra on My Sex Life is a battered version of the theatrical trailer.

Conclusion:
The tragedy of Fox Lorber's efforts in the DVD publishing field is that they own the rights to so many outstanding films but seem incapable of building even average releases. The treatment they give this and other movies is inexcusable, in a sense mocking the entire format by filling the market with discs that fail to live up to the standards of even VHS tape. 'My Sex Life' is an outstanding film and I hate to steer people away from it. If you can't find a copy on VHS then go ahead and rent the film. Otherwise save the money and send Fox Lorber a message that speaks to their pocket books.
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