Whilst cinema and theatre have often been pitted as ardent foes, the big screen owes the stage a debt of honour. So many of the most popular films ever made were initially written for the stage, it would be foolhardy to even think about listing examples. Although the popularity and influence of playwrights has quietly diminished, it hasn’t stopped directors reaching back into the past for inspiration. This is precisely what Alain Resnais did for his 1986 film Mélo, adapting Henri Bernstein’s 1929 play.

Pierre (Pierre Arditi) and Marcel (André Dussollier), both violinists, have been good friends since their youth. Whilst Pierre has married the beautiful and stylish Romaine (Sabine Azéma), his career has not amounted to much. Meanwhile, Marcel is a celebrated concert pianist and confirmed bachelor. However, the pull of Romaine is too much for him to resist and the pair start an affair.

Mélo is a beautifully acted and astutely observed romantic drama which twists and turns as expectations are repeatedly confounded. Indeed, the four-hander (which also includes Fanny Ardant) manages to bring the magic of the theatre to the silver screen. It’s an ensemble piece but it’s undeniably Azéma whom the rest are all dancing around. She’s phenomenal. Mélo is a classically framed and sumptuously executed romance.

Extras:

  • Brand new 2K restoration of the film
  • High Definition Blu-Ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original 2.0 Stereo soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles
  • Newly-filmed introduction by critic Jonathan Romney
  • Archive interview with director Alain Resnais
  • Archive interview with producer Marin Karmitz
  • Archive interviews with actors Pierre Arditi and André Dussolier
  • Archive interview with script supervisor Sylvette Baudrot
  • Archive interview with set designer Jacques Saulnier
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original artwork

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Bilge Ebiri

Mélo is released on Blu-ray by Arrow Academy on 8 April.