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Au Revoir Les Enfants
The Criterion Collection
(Blu-ray)

review by Zach B.

 

 

Not Rated

Running Time: 105 Minutes

Starring: Gaspard Manesse, Raphael Fejto, Francine Racette, Stanislas Carré de Malberg, Philippe Morier-Genoud, François Berléand, François Négret, Peter Fitz

Written and Directed by: Louis Malle

 

 

Studio: Criterion

Retail Price: $39.95

Features: Pierre Billard Interview, Candice Bergen Interview, Joseph: A Character Study, Charlie Chaplin's The Immigrant, Louis Malle at AFI, Theatrical Teaser, Theatrical Trailer

Specs: 1.66:1 Widescreen 1080p High Definition, French Uncompressed PCM Mono, English Subtitles, Chapters (17 Chapters)

Released: March 15th, 2011







Au Revoir Les Enfants is presented in a 1080p High Definition transfer, with the aspect ratio of 1.66:1 — which results in some slight windowboxing. The digital transfer was supervised by director of photography Renato Berta. It's not a perfect transfer — blemishes and dirt pieces pop up somewhat regularly, and there is some slight shimmering to be had. Still, what's most striking about this presentation is how there's just the right amount of grain, which gives the image a very film-like look. Fleshtones are accurate, black levels are great and the color saturation is flawlessly refined — the movie's palette scheme of off-whites and grays draws you into the setting. This transfer was handled with respect and care.

 


Au Revoir Les Enfants features an uncompressed PCM Mono soundtrack in French. Obviously a single speaker has its limits, but there still is a richness in the sound because it's not tightened up. All the dialogue is clear and easy to hear, the music comes in nicely and the sound effects are audible. It's a clear track too: no hissing, pops, cackling or flaws of that nature. Straightforward, but worthy.

English subtitles are included.

 


Leading the supplements off is a Interview with Pierre Billard, Louie Malle's biographer. It's in French, but fans of the filmmaker will certainly find a lot of engrossing information during the half-hour. Peppered with stills and film clips, Billard talks about Malle's movies, how Malle's life influenced his films and Malle's death. Billard also speaks how he got interested in Malle. 

A 13-and-a-half minute Interview with Candice Bergen is also included. Bergen, the famed actress who's Malle's widow, speaks lovingly of her former partner. Bergen talks about his documentary work, and also about his curiousity and how he seemed to always be on the move. Murphy speaks of his 80s work, including the failures of "Crackers" and "Alamo Bay." Of the latter, Murphy talks how a scathing New York Times review motivated him to make Au Revoir Les Enfants. From there, Bergen talks about the year 1944 and how that impacted the filmmaker and the actual filming of Au Revoir. There are a lot of great stories and insights here, making this a must watch. 

Joseph: A Character Study is a 5 minute profile of the film's character, made by Guy Magen. The Immigant, Charlie Chaplin's short as featured in the movie, is included in its entirety on the disc. 

Louis Malle at AFI is an audio-recording of the director, speaking at a seminar run by the organization. Recorded in 1988, Malle speaks about his childhood, his thoughts on directing, working with children, Murmur of the Heart and much more. It runs 53 minutes in total, and worth listening to. It's a shame there are no subtitles, since the audio quality is average at best.

Finally, inside the package is an excellent booklet, featuring essays by Philip Kemp and Francis J. Murphy.

 


Au Revoir Les Enfants is a haunting film, and certainly one of Louis Malle's best. The Blu-ray transfer and uncompressed soundtrack are quite nice, while the fine supplements are ported from the 2005 DVD release. Fans of the movie will likely want to upgrade, and those purchasing it for the first time should have no qualms.