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The Young Girls of Rochefort
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 2.35:1 Widescreen
  • 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • French DTS-HD 5.1 Surround
  • 2 Discs
FEATURES
  • French television interview from 1966 featuring director Jacques Demy and composer Michel Legrand discussing the music for the film
  • New conversation between Demy biographer Jean-Pierre Berthomť and costume designer Jacqueline Moreau
  • Episode from Behind the Screen, a 1966 series about the making of the film
  • Filmmaker AgnŤs Varda's 1993 documentary The Young Girls Turn 25 (Blu-ray only)
  • Trailer

The Young Girls of Rochefort

Dual-Format Edition
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Jacques Demy
Starring: Catherine Deneuve, , Jacques Perrin, Gene Kelly, Danielle Darrieux, Michel Piccoli
1967 | 126 Minutes | Licensor: Cine-Tamaris

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $124.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #717
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Release Date: July 22, 2014
Review Date: August 3, 2014

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SYNOPSIS

Jacques Demy followed up The Umbrellas of Cherbourg with another musical about missed connections and second chances, this one a more effervescent confection. Twins Delphine and Solange, a dance instructor and a music teacher (played by real-life sisters Catherine Deneuve and FranÁoise Dorlťac), long for big-city life; when a fair comes through their quiet port town, so does the possibility of escape. With its jazzy Michel Legrand score, pastel paradise of costumes, and divine supporting cast (George Chakiris, Grover Dale, Danielle Darrieux, Michel Piccoli, and Gene Kelly), The Young Girls of Rochefort is a tribute to Hollywood optimism from sixties French cinema's preeminent dreamer.

Forum members rate this film 10/10

 

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PICTURE

The Young Girls of Rochefortóthe fourth film in Criterionís Essential Jacques Demy box setóis given a dual-format edition presenting the film in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The dual-layer Blu-ray disc presents the film with a new 1080p/24hz high-definition digital transfer. A standard-definition version is found on the dual-layer DVD, which enhances the film for widescreen televisions.

Like Umbrellas of Cherbourg itís a very colourful film, though not as elaborate: where Umbrellas had a wide array of colours in practically every shot, with colours changing drastically from shot to shot and angle to angle, Rochefort has predominantly white backgrounds with bright, colourful foreground objects and costumes. Blues, pinks, and reds are wonderfully rendered, particularly the twinsí pinkish/reddish dresses during the final performance. There are times where the colours look a little over-saturated or even under-saturated but it could be intentional. Whites are clean and nicely balanced without any instances of blooming, and black levels are also fairly deep without hiding any details.

Detail is very good on close-ups and film grain is rendered cleanly and naturally, but long shots arenít as sharp as I would have expected. The print is in stellar shape, the restoration work looking to have cleaned up the source prints nicely.

The DVDís standard-definition presentation is also pretty good. Compression is a little more noticeable and reds and blues just arenít as pure here, but for a DVD transfer itís fairly good.

Thankfully the transfer is another strong one in the set, nothing like the horrific botch-job done on Lola. Itís clean, vibrant, and looks very much like film. Itís a strong high-definition presentation.

9/10

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AUDIO

The 5.1 surround track (presented in DTS-HD MA on the Blu-ray and Dolby Digital on the DVD) is a pleasantly mixed one, spreading the filmís music between all of the speakers, nicely enveloping the viewer. The music sounds rather good, not hindered by age in anyway, with superb dynamic range and fidelity. Regular dialogue sequences sound a little flatter in comparison but the overall track is very clean and could pass as something recorded today, not something from 1966.

8/10

SUPPLEMENTS

The disc is also another one of the more stacked editions in term of supplements. It contains another archival interview featuring the director, again from an episode of the French program Cinťma. It features Demy and composer Michel Legrand working on the music for the film, trying to figure out how the dance numbers will work and how to end the song correctly, the latter of which becomes a rather touchy subject between the two. They then both sit down to talk about the film and their desire to make a more traditional musical and how they collaborate. It runs 11-minutes.

Criterion has then recorded a new discussion between film scholar Jean-Pierre Berthome and costume designer Jacqueline Moreau, widow of one of Demyís frequent collaborators, production designer Bernard Evein. During the 26-minute conversation the two discuss Demyís and her husbandís work together. She recalls how she first met Demy and then their early work together, particularly The Umbrellas of Cherbourg which presented a particular challenge due to the colours that Demy wanted: the basically had to break down every scene in the film and plan the colour schemes precisely for each so nothing would clash. She then talks about her husbandís work, focusing mostly on The Young Girls of Rochefort as they go through his concept drawings.

That interview starts out fairly dry but picks up as it goes. Much better (and competing for best feature on the disc) is a 1966 episode from the French television program Behind the Screen, focusing on the making of The Young Girls of Rochefort. This 35-minute episode spends a lot of time looking at the filmís production design and includes a fairly extensive interview with Bernard Evein, who covers the work theyíre doing and gives a great overview of what a production designer does and how one works with the director. Thereís also an interview with producer Mag Bopard and a rather intriguing one with the mayor of Rochefort, who talks about some of the issues that came up with letting the crew in and some of the things heís really enjoyed (like overhearing the musical numbers during work hours.) Local businesses really benefitted from the production, getting free paint jobs and repairs for the film. Most intriguing, though, is behind-the-scenes footage of the twinsí musical number: we actually get to see the musical number performed in both French and English. I wasnít actually aware of an English version of the film and doing online research didnít actually yield much about it, but just seeing this footage was a real treat. This was a great find on Criterionís part, but whatís disappointing about it is that itís only the second episode of what was apparently a six-part run, so itís a bit of a letdown not to see the rest of the material since this lone episode suggests a wonderfully engaging behind-the-scenes piece.

Also a strong addition is the 1993 documentary The Young Girls Turn 25. The 66-minute documentary, directed by Demyís widow Agnes Varda, revisits Rochefort during a festival celebrating the 25th anniversary of the film. She captures plenty of the festivities while also getting interviews with many of the locals and members of the cast and crew (including Deneuve) who all recall the experience. It also shows more English footage from a musical number. It had a profound impact on the town and the documentary really captures that and is all the more fun because of it. As a nice bonus it has also been beautifully restored, where even the production footage looks amazing. Itís also delivered in 1080p/24hz, and looks about as good as the main feature. A great inclusion.

(As a note The Young Girls at 25 only appears on the Blu-ray. The DVD version of the supplement has actually been included on the second disc of Une chamber en ville.)

The supplements then close with a the re-release trailer for the film. Surprisingly there is no restoration demonstration to be found.

Thereís obviously material missing (the rest of that television making-of, and more footage from the English version) but what remains is fantastic, with a couple of the stronger ones of the entire set found here. All of it is worth viewing.

9/10

CLOSING

Another strong edition in Criterionís Jacques Demy set, delivering an excellent roster of supplements and solid, filmic transfer.




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