CQ ($27) is a highly intriguing film debut from Roman Coppola, son of Francis Ford, which makes me think that filmmaking may now be a genetic trait. Personally, I very much enjoyed CQ even if the film isn't entirely perfect. There are some predictable aspects to the story, but there is also a lot of ingenuity contained in this freshman effort. I particularly love the film's sense of visual style, which perfectly captures the flavor of European cinema of the late 1960s. CQ tells the story of a film editor Paul Ballard (Jeremy Davies), who comes to Paris in 1969 to work on a futuristic spy thriller called Codename: Dragonfly, which is set in the year 2001.
After the departure of two directors, the film's producer Enzo di Martini (Giancarlo Giannini) entrusts the completion of Codename: Dragonfly to Paul because he is the only person that understands the project well enough to fashion a workable ending for the movie. However, as this terrific opportunity falls into Paul's lap, his relationship with his girlfriend hits a rough patch due to his obsession with creating his own personal film that documents the intimate details of his own existence. Further complicating matters is Valentine (Angela Lindvall), the beautiful star of Codename: Dragonfly who quickly becomes the central figure in Paul's very active fantasy life. The cast of CQ also features Élodie Bouchez, Gérard Depardieu, Massimo Ghini, John Phillip Law, Jason Schwartzman, Dean Stockwell and Billy Zane.
MGM Home Entertainment has made CQ available on DVD in a 1.85:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. A full screen presentation is also offered on a separate layer for those who don't care about maintaining the film's artistic integrity. In general, this is a very attractive looking transfer, which displays a sharp and nicely defined image. There are some inconsistencies in the image when the movie switches to its black and white "film within a film" documentary passages. Also, there are a few blemishes on the print, as well as sometimes-noticeable grain structure. Color reproduction is quite wonderful, with the film's warm appealing hues appearing clean and stable. Additionally, flesh tones always look quite good- in a better that real life fashion. Blacks are pure, contrast is generally smooth and the picture produces good shadow detail. Digital compression artifacts are usually undetectable.
CQ features a nice sounding Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. While the sound mix isn't particularly showy, it does create a nice sense of atmosphere with occasional sound effects deployment. The strongest element of the sound mix is the film's music, which is rendered with a very good level of fidelity and is effectively spread through the soundstage. English dialogue is crisply rendered and is always intelligible. The bass channel isn't particularly potent, but is solid enough for the material. Subtitles are provided on the DVD in English, French and Spanish.
Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which provide access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the film's supplemental materials, much of which are relegated to the second side of the DVD. Director Roman Coppola and cinematographer Robert D. Yeoman are on hand for a running commentary that discusses various aspects of the film's production.
On side two one will find two alternate versions of the Codename: Dragonfly movie, along with an optional commentary track by actress Angela Lindvall, as well as a making of featurette. There are five CQ related featurettes included on the DVD that focus on various aspects of the production including the actors, director Roman Coppola's personal behind the scenes insights, the film's cinematography, production design and settings, as well as the music and sound. There is a "Personal Documentaries" section that includes four short films on the making of CQ by Eleanor Coppola, Sofia Coppola, Mathieu Tonetti and Xavier Martin & Sebastien Alouf. Also included amongst the supplements is a live performance from Japan by the group Mellow, featuring some of the music from CQ. A still gallery and theatrical trailer close out the supplemental features.
As I stated above, CQ is an intriguing and enjoyable first effort from Roman Coppola. I know I'll be interested in seeing what the young director can come up with in the future. MGM Home Entertainment has produced a great little DVD edition of CQ that provides both a pleasant presentation and solid supplemental section. If you are interested in seeing something different that the typical Hollywood release, then you should definitely check out CQ.
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