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Forbidden Games (Jeux interdits) [UK] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (24Hz)
  • Audio Codec: French & German DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono (48kHz/16-bit)
  • Subtitles: French HOH, English, German
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: B (Region-Locked)
  • Certification: 12
  • Run Time: 85 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: StudioCanal
  • Blu-ray Release Date: January 7, 2013
  • RRP: £19.99

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4.5/5]

René Clément’s celebrated drama, Forbidden Games (Jeux interdits), prize winner from the New York Film Critics, the British Academy, and the Venice Film Festival, is an unembellished story about the innocence of childhood corrupted by the savage and myopic world of adults. Adapted by François Boyer from his novel, the story tells of five-year-old Paulette (Brigitte Fossey) whose parents and pet dog are killed in a Nazi air raid against a civilian convoy fleeing Paris in 1940. When she is separated from the rest of the refugees, Paulette is rescued by the young, pre-adolescent, 11-year-old, Michel Dolle (Georges Pujouly) and his parents, a peasant farming family who take her in. Michel and Paulette become fast friends, helping each other deal with the deaths they have both witnesses by secretly building themselves a pet cemetery and performing pseudo-religious rituals. Meanwhile, the grownups around them are too self-absorbed with their own affairs to take notice of what the two children are doing. The Dolle’s and their neighbors the Gouards have been feuding, there’s a secret love affair going on between the two older Gouard and Dolle children, and, finally, the looming threat of the local authorities coming to take Paulette away and place her up for official adoption. Clément’s film is completely devoid of sentimentality, but it isn’t overly brutal either. It is just to the point, honest, and, mostly, a quiet slice of life during wartime. That mankind devolves into something lacking innocence, something macabre, or even vain (as in the Gouards and Dolles competing to be the most altruistic in the village, for their ow selfish rewards), is simply portrayed as a realism, nothing more, nothing less.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The black and white 35mm source for Jeux interdits has been wonderfully restored by StudioCanal for a richly textured and natural looking AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement. It has strong contrast, deep blacks and a fine grain structure. Close-ups reveal lots of detail and that extends rather far into the image as well.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

The original French monaural soundtrack is supplied in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit). It doesn’t exactly sound great, has limited dynamics, and has a bit of crackle, but it gets the job done, all things considered.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

The supplements are brief, but the half-hour featurette included offers a detailed examination of the film’s themes that is an interesting watch. Also included are an alternate opening an ending.

The supplements:

  • Innocent Love Stories Under Occupation (1.78:1; 1080i/50; 00:30:40)
  • Alternate Opening and Ending (1.37:1; 1080p/24; 00:06:19)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Forbidden Games is a powerful juxtaposition of the innocence of youth against the savageries of war, portrayed without a hint of the saccharine sensibility that could so easily have befallen a film such as this. There really is no mistaking why it was lavished with so many honors. This fine release from StudioCanal is a must.

Additional Screen Captures

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]


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