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The Kid With a Bike(2011)
Placed in a group home for children, peppery 11-year-old Cyril promptly escapes, unwilling to accept that his deadbeat dad has abandoned him. Rebuffed by his father, the distraught Cyril is taken in by concerned passerby Samantha, who in time becomes his foster guardian. Samantha's good heart could make a world of difference in Cyril's life, but the troubled young boy still has demons to deal with.
For more about The Kid With a Bike and the The Kid With a Bike Blu-ray release, see the The Kid With a Bike Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on January 18, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Thomas Doret, Cécile De France, Jérémie Renier
Directors: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
» See full cast & crew
The Kid With a Bike Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, January 18, 2013
Winner of the Grand Prize of the Jury for Best Film at the Cannes Film Festival, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's "Le gamin au vélo" a.k.a "The Kid With a Bike" (2011) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion. The supplemental features on the disc include an original trailer for the film; exclusive video interview with the Dardenne Brothers, conducted by conducted by critic and filmmaker Kent Jones; exclusive video interview with actor Thomas Doret; video interview with actress Cecile de France; and long featurette with the Dardenne Brothers. The release also arrives with an illustrated booklet featuring an essay by critic Geoff Andrew. In French, with optional English subtitles. Region-A "locked".
Like all previous Dardenne Brothers films, The Kid With A Bike touches the heart in a special way. It tells a simple, perhaps too familiar, but moving story about a boy who needs his father but can't have him. The Kid With A Bike won the Grand Prize of the Jury at last year's Cannes Film Festival.
The kid is 11-year-old Cyril (Thomas Doret), who has been abandoned by his father (Jeremie Renier, L'enfant). His mother is never mentioned in the film and Cyril never asks about her. Cyril is a feisty, energetic, and at times angry kid who isn't afraid to demand what he believes belongs in his life - first his father, then an inexpensive bike.
The film opens up with Cyril feverishly attempting to find out what has happened to his father. In the state institution where he lives people seem rather nice, but no one is willing to point him in the right direction. Frustrated, he escapes and quickly manages to get back to the apartment where he used to live with his father - only to discover that he has left and sold his favorite bike to another man.
Almost delirious, Cyril meets Samantha (Cecile De France, Switchblade Romance, Mesrine) a beautiful hairdresser, who likes him a lot and decides to give him a present - his bike, which she buys back from the man who purchased it from his father. The gesture wins Cyril's heart and he asks if he could spend the weekend with Samantha. She agrees and a new friendship is born - or so it seems, as the kid uses Samantha to help him locate his father. Eventually he does, but his father's reaction surprises him.
The film has all of the distinctive naturalistic qualities that earned the Dardenne Brothers their reputation. In a familiar style the camera follows closely Cyril, documenting all of his mini triumphs and failures, all of his emotions.
Despite the fact that the film is quite the emotional rollercoaster, there isn't even a whiff of melodrama. Cyril's anxiety and anger come and go in waves which are some of the most convincing I've seen from a young actor. Samantha's struggle to earn Cyril's trust is also believable - she understands how he feels but cannot always read his mind.
The editing is very precise - each sequence has a very specific purpose. This allows the viewer to enter Cyril's reality and stay there. There are no beautiful panoramic shots to distract him. When the camera moves it is because it needs to, not because it tries to impress.
There is an interesting fairy tale element in the film that slightly undermines its realism but it strengthens its message. It also allows the viewer to briefly reflect on everything that has happened in the film. The ending is optimistic but slightly ambiguous, and perhaps rightfully so.
The acting is exceptionally strong. Doret, who plays Cyril, is easily one of the most exciting new talents in European cinema. He also appears in Gilles Bourdos' Renoir, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. De France is also terrific as the lonely hairdresser. Renier, who has appeared in a number of films directed by the Dardenne Brothers, has a small but important role and looks excellent.
The Kid With a Bike Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's The Kid With a Bike arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion.
The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray release:
"Supervised by director of photography Alain Marcoen, this new digital transfer was created in 2K resolution on a Northlight scanner from a 35mm interpositive.
Transfer supervisor: Alain Marcoen.
Colorist: Gerard Savary/Eclair Laboratories, Epinay-sur-Seine, France."
The high-definition transfer used for this release, which was supervised by director of photography Alain Marcoen, is virtually identical to the one Artificial Eye used for their Blu-ray release of The Kid With a Bike in the United Kingdom. The film has a warm, very beautiful organic look. During sequences with plenty of natural light, detail and clarity are exceptional. Color reproduction is also excellent - the reds, yellows, greens, blues, and browns are are consistently lush. There are no traces problematic denoising corrections or contrast adjustments/boosting. Excluding some extremely light banding I noticed during the second half of the film, compression is also very good. To sum it all up, I think that The Kid With a Bike looks quite beautiful on Blu-ray. It is guaranteed to please its fans. (Note: This is a Region-A "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
The Kid With a Bike Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one standard audio track on this Blu-ray disc: French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. For the record, Criterion have provided optional English subtitles for the main feature.
Surround and dynamic activity in The Kid With a Bike are very limited, but this is how the film was shot. Excluding a short theme (beautiful strings) that is occasionally heard in the back, music also does not have an important role in the film. The dialog is exceptionally crisp, stable, and very easy to follow. There are no pops, audio dropouts, or distortions to report in this review.
The Kid With a Bike Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Kid With a Bike Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I thought that Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's The Kid With a Bike was one of the very best films to be released on Blu-ray in 2012. It is fantastic to see that it is now also available in the United States. Criterion's release also comes with excellent exclusive supplemental features, including a lengthy video interview with the Belgian directors conducted by Kent Jones. Do not miss this release, folks. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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