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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • French DTS-HD 2.0 Surround
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • Conversation between film critic Scott Foundas and filmmakers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne
  • New interview with actors Émilie Dequenne and Olivier Gourmet
  • Trailer

Rosetta

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Luc Dardenne, Jean-Pierre Dardenne
Starring: Emilie Dequenne, Fabrizio Rongione, Anne Yernaux, Olivier Gourmet
1999 | 93 Minutes | Licensor: Universal Studios Home Entertainment

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $39.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #621
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: August 14, 2012
Review Date: August 16, 2012

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SYNOPSIS

The Belgian filmmaking team of brothers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne turned heads with Rosetta, an intense vérité drama that closely follows a poor young woman struggling to hold on to a job to support herself and her alcoholic mother. It's a swift and simple tale made revelatory by the raw, empathetic way in which the directors render Rosetta's desperation, keeping the camera nearly perched on her shoulder throughout. Many have copied the Dardennes' style; few have equaled it. This ferocious film won big at Cannes, earning the Palme d'Or for the filmmakers and the best actress prize for the indomitable Émilie Dequenne.

Discuss the film and Blu-ray here   


PICTURE

Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne’s Rosetta comes to Blu-ray from Criterion in its original aspect ratio of 1.66:1 on a dual-layer disc. It has been given a new 1080p/24hz transfer.

Criterion’s companion release, La promesse, looked fairly good but had some stability issues in places where the film got really grainy. The grain looked more like heavy compression and quick movements caused a pixilated blur. Rosetta is a frantic film filled with more than its fair share of quick camera moves and thankfully the transfer for this one handles it much better delivering a smooth, clean, and filmic look. The film’s grain remains fairly natural and there’s a strong amount of detail in the objects on screen. Colours, even the drab ones, pop, and black levels look decent if not spectacular. The print is also in spotless shape, far better condition than La promesse. Despite the drabber look to the film it is a stronger and more satisfying presentation in comparison to its companion release.

8/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

Although the film probably has a more active soundtrack in comparison to La promesse (or at least seems that way since the film feels far more frantic,) Rosetta doesn’t receive the 5.1 upgrade that film did. This Blu-ray comes with a DTS-HD MA 2.0 surround track, though, similar to La promesse, it’s more mono in nature with some minor effects creeping to the rears in places. But it’s a crisp presentation, with clean dialogue and no distortion or damage. Perfectly fine for what the film calls for.

7/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Again we get what looks like a slim number of supplements but the two bigger items we get here are substantial and make up quite a bit over the lack of anything else.

After providing a one-hour interview on the disc for La promesse, Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne yet again provide a lengthy interview, this time running about 62-minutes. Similar to La promesse the two are being interviewed by film critic Scott Foundas. This one manages to be an even more revealing look into the brothers’ process as they recount how they came up with the film and built the character, and how they worked with Émilie Dequenne in that process. They talk about their style and give some technical details, as well as get into the film’s themes of gender and social politics. Similar to the interview on the La promesse disc it’s an engaging and surprisingly entertaining piece, offering some great insights and details into the film.

Criterion then includes another set of interviews, this time with actors Émilie Dequenne and Olivier Gourmet. The two, recorded separately, talk about how they came to be in this film and the preparation they had to go through, which was pretty extensive, and the two also talk about their characters. Dequenne also talks about the lengthy process she went through to get cast in the role while Gourmet recalls making waffle batter. It runs 18-minutes.

The disc then closes with the film’s original theatrical trailer and then a booklet with another great essay by Kent Jones.

So, again, it doesn’t look like much, and there’s a lack of scholarly material, but this is a case of quality over quantity as the supplements, which run about 80-minutes, are wholly satisfying.

7/10

CLOSING

The film has a drab look but the transfer presents it well, and it looks filmic. The supplements may also look slim but they manage to offer a substantial amount of information. The release comes highly recommended.


View packaging for this Blu-ray

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