This 2-disc Blu-ray collection presents four films by legendary filmmaker François Truffaut, one of the French New Wave’s brilliant architects. THE WILD CHILD (1970) – In a most mature and aesthetic achievement, Truffaut creates an absorbing drama, delicate and unpredictable as life itself. Based on the true account of 18th-century doctor Jean-Marc-Gaspard Itard, the film follows the capture of a young boy who is discovered living like an animal in the forest. Truffaut himself gives a memorable performance as Itard, unyielding in his belief that the child, played with haunting precision by Jean-Pierre Cargol, can be transformed into a civilized being.
SMALL CHANGE (1976) – Truffaut weaves his love of kids and cinema seamlessly together in this tribute to the joys, yearnings, pains and wonders of childhood. The film presents a group of ten youngsters, boys and girls, whose adventures in the quaint village of Thiers illustrate—from the first baby bottle to the first kiss—the different stages of passage from early childhood to adolescence. Also known as Pocket Money, this kaleidoscopic coming-of-age tale finds Truffaut at his most charming and insightful.
THE MAN WHO LOVED WOMEN (1977) – This irresistibly sophisticated comedy paints the delirious portrait of saturnine satyr Bertrand Morane (Charles Denner), who worships the feminine spirit—the idea of woman. Truffaut neither condemns nor glorifies him, for what could be so worthy of a subject of obsession as women? The film is a splendid example of the auteur’s nimble way with stories of erotic love. Featuring screen goddesses Brigette Fossey, Nelly Borgeaud, Geneviève Fortanel, Nathalie Baye and Leslie Caron.
THE GREEN ROOM (1978) – In a most personal and rigorous film, Truffaut stars as Julien Davenne, a man who so loves the dead that he can no longer love the living. While building a shrine to his deceased wife, he meets Cecilia (Nathalie Baye), who is also in mourning. She falls in love with him, thereby giving him a last chance at resurrection. Also known as The Vanishing Fiancée and based on the writings of Henry James, this classic film is a somber, haunting parable of life and death—and the barrier of memory that stands between.
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The François Truffaut Collection comes to Blu-Ray with digital AVC encoded 1080p transfers that are not noted as being from new masters but look strong across all four films. This collection includes The Wild Child, Small Change, The Man Who Loved Women and The Green Room on two discs. This configuration does not feel too overstuffed given that many of the films are on the shorter side. These appear to be the Blu-Ray debut of all four films in the United States. Much like some other recent Truffaut releases from the label, these transfers showcase the films well with only minor issues here and there. The films share many of the same qualities and will be judged as a unit with any differences pointed out.
Colors present with a nice vibrancy and stability with some of the hues from the world springing to life. The black-and-white photography of The Wild Child maintains a firm contrast while the remaining three films make good use of the color photography within the production design and clothing. Black levels are slightly weaker than we might want with some brief loss of detail in some shadowy scenes. Instances of print damage do pop up with some stray lines and intermittent specks visible. The transfers maintain the natural film grain of the presentation which increases the level of detail. The transfers reveal some distinct textures within the frame which give the picture greater dimension. Clarity and detail is pretty strong with skin tones that look natural and detailed. The new presentations from Kino Classics breathe life into these films
The Blu-Ray discs come with strong DTS-HD 2.0 Master Audio tracks for all four films in the original French. Dialogue and background noises are always balanced well with all competing elements. None of the films have terribly complex sound design, so nothing ever feels lost in the mix. The tracks present a very minor amount of age related wear and tear, but nothing that completely ruins the experience. The music throughout the film plays well with the dialogue and other important information. Kino Classics has provided stable audio presentations that do not feel lacking in any respect. There are optional English subtitles included for the feature film.
- Trailers: There are trailers provided for The Wild Child (1:30), Small Change (Pocket Money) (1:32), The Man Who Loved Women (0:36) and The Green Room (Vanishing Fiancee) (2:09). There are also trailers provided for The Bride Wore Black, Mississippi Mermaid and The Story of Adele H.
The François Truffaut Collection brings four of the auteur’s lesser appreciated works and gives them the spotlight they deserve. Each work provides a unique exploration of themes and ideas that reminds you of Truffaut’s versatility. Not every film is an A+ effort, but there is not a truly disappointing film in the bunch. Kino Classics has delivered a Blu-Ray release that sports a nice A/V presentation and virtually nothing in the way of special features. If you are a fan of this iconic filmmaker, this should be an essential addition to your collection. Recommended
The François Truffaut Collection [The Wild Child/Small Change/The Man Who Loved Women/The Green Room] is currently available to purchase on Blu-Ray.
Note: Images presented in this review are not reflective of the image quality of the Blu-Ray.
Disclaimer: Kino Classics has supplied a copy of this disc free of charge for review purposes. All opinions in this review are the honest reactions of the author.
Dillon is most comfortable sitting around in a theatre all day watching both big budget and independent movies.