The previous DVD edition technically had nothing in the way of features other than theatrical trailers and a booklet. It was also available in a box set (accompanying Murmur of the Heart and Lacombe, Lucien) which came with a disc loaded with supplements. Most of the supplements from that disc, only available in the box set previously, have made it over to this Blu-ray, though not everything on that disc, primarily limited to anything involving Au revoir les enfants.
First is a fairly informative 31-minute interview with Malle biographer Pierre Billard (in French with English subtitles,) who discusses Malleís early film career, concentrating primarily on Malleís documentaries and French work with special mention of the films that were in the original DVD box set (again Murmur of the Heart, Lacombe, Lucien, and Au revoir les enfants) and he also touches on elements from his personal life that appear in his work. Itís an engrossing interview and offers an excellent primer on Malleís work but itís disappointing that thereís not much on his American work.
Following this is an interview with Malleís widow, actress Candice Bergen. For 13-minutes she talks about Malle on more of personal level, while also covering his work with special attention to Au revoir les enfants and the childhood experience that influenced the film. While the film would win many Cťsar awards, Malle actually did get excited about the possibility of winning the Oscar for Best Foreign Film and was upset when the film ultimately lost. Mixed in with some footage from the set of Au revoir les enfants, itís a nice interview and Iím glad Bergen sat down for it.
The next feature is an odd one in that itís fairly interesting though ultimately doesnít offer anything truly surprising. Called Joseph: A Character Study it presents a 5-minute analysis of one of the key background characters in the film (and I wonít spoil it for those who havenít seen the film.) Itís a good analysis of the character and the time period in France, but I canít say it offered anything truly surprising or anything most wonít have already picked up from the film.
The coolest feature on here would probably be the inclusion of Charlie Chaplinís The Immigrant, which appears in Au revoir les enfants. While itís a fun film and Iím pleased Criterion included it here (as they did in the Malle DVD box set) I was disappointed that the film doesnít appear to have received a new transfer; it looks like this is simply just an upscaled version of the standard-definition presentation found on the original DVD. The film (with opening notes and additional credits) runs about 25-minutes.
The final large supplement is a 53-minute audio only feature presenting a Q&A session with Louis Malle at AFI, recorded in 1988. Divided into 8 chapters, Malle talks about a wide range of topics including the controversy around Lacombe, Lucien, the writing of Murmur of the Heart, and the real life experience that inspired Au revoir les enfants. Most of the interview is on filmmaking in general, making comparisons between French and American film crews, working with non-professional actors, and the writing process in general. Though Malle speaks in English I wish subtitles were an option since the quality of the audio can be a little rough. A nice inclusion and worth listening to for those interested by Malleís process.
The disc then closes with a teaser trailer and theatrical trailer, the same ones found on the original DVD.
The booklet also appears to have the same two essays found in the DVD booklet. First is an essay on the film by Philip Kemp followed by a Francis J. Murphy on PŤre Jacques and the Petit-CollŤge díAvon, the school and its headmaster from Malleís youth that served as inspiration for the film.
Other items found in the supplements of the DVD box set that are missing here are two television programs which offered looks at Murmur of the Heart and Lacombe, Lucien, and then more audio interviews with Malle. Iím assuming these will be saved for eventual/hopeful releases of the other two films in the set on Blu-ray.
Disappointed with a couple aspects of the supplements (primarily the fact that The Immigrant is pretty much an upscaled standard-def transfer) but overall theyíre of good quality and worth going through. 7/10