Blu-Ray review “Casanova, Last Love”

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In general, films about Giacomo Casanova haven’t really moved the needle for me. As the man best known for his elaborate and varied relationships with women, the historical figure is one whose story reads more as tedious than titillating. Maybe that’s why I’m a little more forgiving Casanova, last love, the last representation of the character of Benoît Jacquot (Goodbye, my queen). Rather than attempting to cover the vast expanse of lovers that Casanova has picked up over the course of his life, the film instead focuses on an aged version of the man as he reflects on the so-called great “love of God”. his life”. While this approach can still give rise to a significant amount of boring stretching and a whole host of issues regarding depicting women being nothing but objects of desire, there is a melancholy undertone that at least makes me want to go. ‘to be invested. Sadly, an underdeveloped script throws away a lot of that goodwill in the end.

In the decline of 18th century Bohemia, an increasingly frail Casanova (Vincent Lindon) receives a visit from Cécile (Julia Roy), the niece of his employer to whom he remembers the only woman he really loved. This time it was thirty years ago, in 1763, when he arrived in London after being exiled from France. To say that London does not agree with Casanova would be an understatement; the fact that the reserved Italian does not speak English could probably be overcome, but defecating and fornicating in the open is a bit difficult for him to deal with. He rejects the proposals of public prostitutes, but the man is not quite chaste as he reconnects with old acquaintances such as Lord Pembroke (Christian Erickson) and opera singer Madame Cornelys (Valeria Golino), a former lover who deserves more exploration than the film gives her. Casanova is quickly fascinated by Marianne, known as La Charpillon (Stacy Martin, The night house), a young high society prostitute who turns him on enough to become the unattainable fantasy that he cannot shake.

For a film that is positioned to give women more power than the average Casanova story, La Charpillon is strangely underdeveloped. Seeing the effect it has on Casanova, she connects him with the agreement of an asexual “engagement” intended to keep him going while proving her dedication. What could have been a depiction of Casanova meeting the woman who would match his cunning and intelligence is compromised by the fact that La Charpillon doesn’t have much to do besides being mysterious and submissive to the male gaze. Literally. There are numerous scenes of Casanova entering rooms and watching her in various states of undressing or coital embrace. As a character, she only aims to make Casanova more excited before pushing him away once more. With a different creative team, it could have been an intriguing story of sexual power dynamics and mind manipulation. Not only is there little passion to make this story believable, the emotional gain just doesn’t work.

Despite the choppy script undermining the few bright spots it has going for it, performance generally exceeds what’s on the page. While a sober Casanova might not be what most people want, Vincent Lindon imbues him with a weary energy of the world that feels like a man who has had all the pleasures at his disposal to the point that he no longer registers for him. For this type of story, there has to be more magnetism between the two lead performers as they engage in their romantic dance, but Lindon doesn’t sizzle with Martin. While that may have more to do with the creepy way they wrote her character more than anything. The attempt to give this character something different to do is admirable, but the elements just don’t come together to do something satisfying. Technically, the film is quite alluring as you visit stately mansions and witness opulent candlelit evenings. Casanova, last love not only did it take more passion that radiated from the screen, but also a greater respect for the internal characteristics of these characters.

Video quality

Casanova, last love debuts on Blu-Ray with a 1080p presentation in a 2.39: 1 aspect ratio that generally captures film well. The film itself has a very subdued color scheme that was never going to make it into a record you’ll show, but there’s a nice amount of detail and clarity. There is a slight loss of detail in the more shadowy shots, but it is not pervasive. Being a period film, there are large parts of the film lit only by candle light that hold up well thanks to deep black levels with no obvious signs of crushing. The objects hold up fairly well in the shade and retain their depth. There is no detectable digital noise or damage in this transfer. There aren’t really any moments that are going to jump off the screen, but it’s a solid video presentation overall.

Audio quality

The film arrives on Blu-Ray with a commendable DTS-HD 5.1 main audio track in original French. The movie is mostly on the quiet side with no big flurries of activity. The bottom of the trail is rarely active, as the subtle environmental sounds are felt more in the surroundings. The dialogues and sound effects are well balanced with the classical score where nothing gets lost in the track. Surround channels have a pleasant activity during nature scenes and during small parties with idle chatter. There is no problem with this track.

Special features

  • Theatrical trailer: The two-minute trailer is provided here.

Final thoughts

Casanova, last love isn’t your typical story on the classic figure, and for that reason it serves something a little better than normal. There is a wistful longing running throughout the film that may appeal to even the most romantic audience members, but a messy script hinders much of the passion and intrigue. While the acting remains quite strong, the film lacks momentum for much of the duration. Cohen Media Group and Kino Lorber released a Blu-Ray with very good A / V presentation but nothing special. If you love romantic period French films, this one might speak to you.

Casanova, last love will be available for purchase on Blu-Ray on October 12, 2021.

Note: The images shown in this review do not reflect the picture quality of Blu-Ray.

Disclaimer: Cohen Media Group and Kino Lorber have provided a free copy of this disc for review. All opinions in this review are honest feedback from the author.


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