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The day approaches…

It’s time for me to go into shameless promotional mode, but for good reason. After months of secrecy, I’m finally able to tell you something about the DVD project Lyris is working on. This is the first public announcement of this release anywhere, so consider yourselves lucky indeed.

La Femme Publique

Later this year, new DVD label Mondo Vision will be releasing its debut title, the first ever English-friendly release of Andrzej Zulawski’s La Femme Publique (“The Public Woman”), initially released in 1984 and starring Valérie Kaprisky, Francis Huster and Lambert Wilson. The name of Zulawski may be familiar to some of the Dario Argento fans visiting the site, since Argento has identified his 1981 film Possession as one of his favourites and a key influence on Tenebre.

This upcoming US DVD release is special for a couple of reasons. First of all, the film has never been released on any format in an English-speaking territory. As such, Mondo Vision’s DVD will feature the first ever English subtitle translation of the film. Secondly, I’ve had the opportunity to see the transfer for this film at various stages of its encoding, and I can honestly state that the final encode, completed a few days ago, is one of the best I have ever seen in standard definition. To say that this blows away what most of the other independent and also major studios are routinely putting out would be a gross understatement. Don’t take my word for it, though: feast your eyes on the images below (click the smaller thumbnails to view them at their full size).

La Femme Publique

La Femme Publique La Femme Publique La Femme Publique La Femme Publique La Femme Publique La Femme Publique La Femme Publique La Femme Publique La Femme Publique

Not filtered, not edge enhanced, not noise reduced, not tampered with in any way.

Specifications for this release include:

- Digitally restored transfer mastered in high definition progressive video (1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen, dual layer)
- French Dolby Digital 2.0 dual mono audio
- First ever English-language subtitle translation (optional)
- Feature length audio commentary with Andrzej Zulawksi and Daniel Bird (recorded specially for this release)
- Exclusive new interview with Andrzej Zulawski (recorded specially for this release)
- 1984 theatrical trailer
- Image gallery
- DVD-ROM content (original screenplay and high resolution images)

In addition to the standard single-disc release, a limited edition will also be released featuring a bonus CD containing the film’s original score, as well as a special commemorative booklet.

Two more Zulawski titles, L’important c’est d’aimer (1975, starring Romy Schneider, Fabio Testi and Klaus Kinski) and L’amour braque (1985, starring Sophie Marceau and Francis Huster), will also be released this year.

Posted: Wednesday, May 07, 2008 at 6:49 PM | Comments: 21
Categories: Cinema | DVD | Dario Argento | Mondo Vision | Technology



Are those actual screenshots? Wow, impressive.

Posted by: Peter von Frosta, May 7, 2008 10:48 PM


Hi Peter,

Yes, those are from the actual encode, not the master tape. That's what people will be able to buy on the real disc.

Thanks BTW!

Posted by: David Mackenzie, May 7, 2008 10:49 PM


Wow - I was *just today* wondering when the title would be revealed.

This looks shockingly good - can't wait to see it in motion.


Posted by: Jeffrey Allen Rydell, May 7, 2008 11:14 PM


OK, I have to confess total ignorance of the film, but you've got me interested.

Posted by: Philly Q, May 8, 2008 12:49 AM


Giving a fantastic transfer to a Zulawski film has, along with the news of Criterion going Blu Ray, just made my day!! Excellent work, David.

Posted by: Chris B, May 8, 2008 7:35 AM


Impressive ideed! What program do you use to encode? Are you just doing the encoding or are you doing the whole DVD as well?

Posted by: Jon Anders, May 8, 2008 12:28 PM


I've been wanting to see this film but held off. It'll be nice to see a subtitled IMPORTANCE OF LOVE in its original aspect ratio (the German disc has the English dub along with French and German tracks but only German subtitles and is 1.78 instead of 1.66).

Posted by: , May 8, 2008 1:42 PM


Hey Jon: the program I used is a Windows software encoder that costs a lot less money than you'd think. I manually operated it (that is, told it which frame was to be an I frame, a P frame, or on rarer occasions, a B frame) by hand rather than letting it assign automatically.

Tweaking the GOP structure like this is essential for getting the most out of it, and beyond a certain point actually has more of an effect on the picture quality than bit-rate.

I'm glad that people know Zulawski and should know him better after these discs ship. Thanks for the comments so far everyone.

And yes, I did the entire DVD, not just the video encode. I edited together the commentary with Zulawski and Daniel Bird and will be doing the same with the Zulawski video interview when it gets here from Poland.

Someone else did (and is still doing!) the designs for the menus and packaging, which look excellent.

Posted by: David Mackenzie, May 8, 2008 1:44 PM


Three more (short) questions for you, David:

1. Are you doing the other two Zulawaki discs (mentioned above)?
2. Will this only be available on SD DVD (plans for a High Def release later on)?
3. Encoded in PAL or NTSC?

Posted by: Chris B, May 8, 2008 5:05 PM


1. Yes, I'm doing them. I'm working on "IMPORTANCE OF LOVE" (or as our release is called, "THE IMPORTANT THING IS TO LOVE") on the other side of the screen at this very moment.

For the unnamed poster (Comment #7), yes, the Mondo Vision release will be in the original aspect ratio with English subtitles (translated from the original French), English dubtitles, original French audio, and the English dub track. And, I'm told, a commentary with Zulawski.

The user can select any choice of audio track along with any choice of subtitle track (or none at all).

2. This is on SD DVD. No plans for BD.

3. It is in Progressively Flagged (24p) Anamorphic NTSC. In fact, I have two PAL releases of the film here, one from France and one from Italy. Looking past the fact that I encoded the disc, it's my opinion that this NTSC release looks better than both of the PAL versions despite the resolution handicap. I'm told there will be a comparison soon.

Also: this is *not* a video standards conversion (the ghosted interlaced kind), it's a real NTSC 3:2 film speed encode.

Posted by: David Mackenzie, May 8, 2008 5:29 PM


For my shame I have never heard of the director nor the film, but congratulations on an incredible looking encode, gorgeous detail.

Posted by: Rob, May 9, 2008 8:55 AM


i dont think the artwork fits to the film but i'm really glad with the forthcoming release, the picturequality and the extra's

Posted by: ., May 12, 2008 3:38 PM


My God... finally!

Thank you so much for getting the film out in such a stunning condition. It looks wonderful. Can't wait to hear the audio commentary. Who is Mondo Vision by the way and why don't they have a website? I wonder if they paid for a brand new transfer or got the French master to work from?
I'm writing a book on Zulawski and having these films in pristine condition is just a dream come true.

Posted by: Vigen, May 14, 2008 12:46 PM


Hey Vigen

Mondo Vision is a new label - this is their first release. I'm told they should have a web site up soon.

Posted by: David Mackenzie, May 14, 2008 9:49 PM


Great to hear that finally some of Zulawski's work is coming out on DVD. The screencaps are really looking great and I am very much looking forward to this release. When is it scheduled to be released? Also, will this be a region 1 or region 0 DVD? Thanks, and keep up the great work!

Posted by: Bas Isselman, May 30, 2008 1:32 PM


This particular title is Region 0. The release date is "soon" and the title is being manufactured as we speak...

Posted by: David Mackenzie, June 19, 2008 11:17 AM


Any chance of Na Srebrnym Globie (The Silver Globe) getting the red carpet treatment? That film cries out for a special edition.

Posted by: Adam, June 21, 2008 9:43 PM


Posted by: volja, July 3, 2008 1:38 PM


Can you confirm that the film was transfered from the original negatives using an NTSC equipped telecine suite?

Was the TK done at 24fps Progressive or at 30fps NTSC? Did you supervise the transfer? How was it delivered to you? As a Digibeta?

ps - Nice to see Dan Bird's name on this too ;-)

Just curious.

Posted by: Marc, July 19, 2008 11:46 AM


Just curious if La Femme Publique is going to be available anywhere besides Amazon and (bizarrely) Target. Any shot of this showing up at a discount at, say, DVDPlanet?

Posted by: Lance G, November 11, 2008 1:17 PM


I believe it will also be available to buy direct from Mondo Vision’s web site ( once it’s fully functional. I haven’t heard anything about any other stores, though.

Posted by: Michael Mackenzie, November 11, 2008 3:13 PM

Comments on this entry and all entries up to and including June 30th 2009 have been closed. The discussion continues on the new Land of Whimsy blog:


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