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How much do you love me? (HK Release)

Other // Unrated // September 15, 2006 // Region 0
List Price: $18.99 [Buy now and save at Xploitedcinema]

Review by Svet Atanasov | posted October 5, 2006 | E-mail the Author
The Film:

Paris, Place Pigalle…

An average looking man (Bernard Campan) sees a beautiful Italian prostitute (Monica Bellucci) in a rundown locale. He walks in, orders a drink, and offers the girl 100 000 Euros...for each month she spends with him. The man has just won the lottery.

Without knowing much about her client and how precisely she is expected to earn his money the girl agrees and moves in with the man. For the next couple of months she will love the man and wave him goodbye each morning when he leaves for work. Then, when the man runs out of money, the Italian beauty will pack, leave, and begin a new life.

Part romantic story with a twist, part tragi-comic farce Bertrand Blier's latest Combien tu m'aimes? a.k.a How Much Do You Love Me? (2005) is a strange film that neither impresses nor disappoints. If anything it provides plenty of the beautiful and much-admired these days Italian diva Monica Bellucci which I am sure will be the reason why many will flock to see this film.

Put aside the stunning-looking Italian actress however and what we have here is a very unusual mix of themes that may not bode that well with the general public. Comedy, satire, a bit of drama, even some ill-executed action is what Combien tu m'aimes? offers. Add to the mix the edgy sense of humor French director Bertrand Blier is known for and what we have is, as a good colleague of mine used to say, neither this nor that. With other words, Combien tu m'aimes? is a loose and wacky European take on Adrian Lyne's over-sentimental Indecent Proposal (1993).

Unfortunately however Combien tu m'aimes? does not fall too far off our own Indecent Proposal either. The story is not as predictable (there are a few spicy "twists") yet the characters are just as shabby. Which is quite surprising to me as Bertrand Blier has managed to convince some of the grande players of French cinema that this could have been a worthy of their attention project-Gerard Depardieu (1492: The Conquest of Paradise), Jean Pierre-Darroussin (Feux Rouges), Bernard Campan (Se Souvenir des Belles Choses), etc. Yet…the script is more than lacking imagination, especially during the second half of the film, and unless you are completely fixated with Monica Bellucci, you should easily notice its faults.

Being dimwit and unable to follow the plot of Combien tu m'aimes? however is a very possible scenario. If there is anything that Bernard Blier and Co have achieved with this film it is to provide plenty of the elegant Italian beauty in a manner that would impress even the most cold-hearted of men (and women). Good camera work, decent locations, gorgeous dresses, all of them graced by the presence of Monica Bellucci- I sure do not need anything else on the menu.

And to those who claim that Combien tu m'aimes? is a poor film with no redeeming values…Let's get one thing straight, if you walked into this film expecting the next Citizen Kane then perhaps you are just a tiny bit off with your expectations. I suggest you adjust your "quality-barometer" accordingly!! For the rest of you with more reasonable expectations: enjoy!

Official site and trailer:
(to see the trailer click on Bande Annonce)

How Does the DVD Look?

Aside from the better price tag the R3 HK release (which is actually Region 0 and could be seen on your "regular" non-region free player) is also a substantial improvement in terms of video quality over the Canadian R1 release. The HK distribs have delivered a properly converted NTSC print whose only fault is that it is not progressive (hence there is some very minor combing). This being said the dreaded "ghosting" from the Canadian disc is not an issue here and if you view the HK DVD on a regular tube you won't be bothered by neither the "ghosting" nor the "combing" discussed in the review for the Seville disc. At this point those of you with progressive set-up's surely would want to avoid the Canadian disc and opt for the HK DVD. Finally, the rest of the presentation is pretty much identical to what the R1 release offered: an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, enhanced transfer, fairly good color reproduction, manageable contrast, passable edge enhancement, and a lack of print damage. All things considered for now this does appear to be the best English friendly version on the market. NTSC-encoded, Region 0 (even though the DVD is marketed as being R3).

How Does the DVD Sound?

Unlike the Canadian disc the HK disc has retained the French DTS track found on the R2 release which sounds substantially better than the 5.1 mix found on the R1 disc. There is much more activity in the rear channels (the bar scene towards the end could be a good example) and overall the sound quality is a notch higher. I could not detect any audio drop-outs or hissing (or any other faults for that matter) either. Finally the disc comes with optional English and Chinese subtitles.


Unfortunately not even a trailer!! Nothing!

Final Words:

Considering the fact that the Canadian R1 disc produced by Seville has a number of very serious issues as far as the transfer goes I think it is fair to note that this new HK disc is the better option. Why? Because the video treatment while not perfect is substantially better than what Seville have produced. Add to that the fact that the price tag is much more likable and the HK DVD clearly comes as a winner. For now…recommended.


This review was made possible with the kind assistance of Xploited Cinema.







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