The Child (Enfant, L') (2005)

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Released 7-Feb-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Interviews-Crew-Dardenne Bros. & Frederic Bonnaud
Featurette-Making Of-The Image Factory: Alain Marcoen & Benoit Dervaux
Interviews-Crew-Margaret Pomeranz with the Dardenne Bros. in Cannes
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-The Son; The Promise; Life is a Miracle; Land of Plenty
Notes-(slick) Director Biography & Filmography
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 91:18
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (22:14) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jean-Pierre Dardenne
Luc Dardenne
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Jérémie Renier
Déborah François
Jérémie Segard
Fabrizio Rongione
Olivier Gourmet
Stéphane Bissot
Mireille Bailly
Anne Gerard
Bernard Marbaix
Frédéric Bodson
Leon Michaux
Samuel De Ryck
Hachemi Haddad
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English-American Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Bruno (Jeremie Renier) and his girlfriend Sonia (Deborah Francois) have a new joy in their life, in the form of a son, baby Jimmy. Although Sonia is delighted to be a Mum, Bruno is hardly the doting Dad. The couple are unemployed and of no fixed abode (for the moment), so making ends meet turns out to be a tough task with an extra mouth to feed. Bruno, ever the enterprising knucklehead, indulges in petty thieving to supplement his income; bag-snatches and the like, which is satisfactory up to a point. But, looking at his new baby boy, Bruno sees the potential to net a bit of cash and hatches a devious plan without Sonia's knowledge.

    I won't divulge any more of the plot - that is a serious failing of the film's theatrical trailer, in my opinion. Suffice to say that Bruno's competence as a parent is brought seriously into question, much to the despair of his poor girlfriend, Sonia, who suffers a complete mental breakdown in the process.

    The Child (l'enfant), Directed by Belgium's Dardenne Brothers (Jean-Pierre & Luc), is a fascinating study of parental obligation and human callousness. The Dardenne's style is unmistakable, while the performances are purely riveting. Some of the lowest forms of human contempt are on display here, contrasted by a light at the end of the tunnel, in the form of a loving mother and child relationship. Bruno and Sonia aren't a complete loss either as despite their failings they have the potential to turn themselves around if Bruno can find motivation to redeem himself. This is highly recommended viewing.

    My review of another fantastic Dardenne Bros. film, The Son (le fils), can be found here.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film has been transferred to DVD in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.66:1, complete with 16x9 enhancement. In order to maintain the 1.66:1 aspect, black bars appear on the left and right of the frame.

    The image is a little on the soft side, but is generally easy on the eye. Finer detail in objects such as hair and clothing is visible throughout, but I can't help feeling that MPEG compression has let this transfer down a bit. Shadow detail is good, represented by a scene at 11:58, situated inside a dark room.

    The film's overall colour scheme is drab, but having said that, skin tones appear to be accurate. I didn't note any rendering issues at all.

    The transfer has been encoded with an MPEG bitrate averaging 6.2Mb/s. Some compression artefacts are present, particularly on detailed surfaces, such as the noise on the white, roughly rendered concrete wall at 50:53. Macro blocking is visible in the shimmering water at 75:55. Some tiny film artefacts can be seen here and there, along with a mild degree of film grain, but the source is in an otherwise great condition.

    An English subtitle stream is provided, with some Americanisms in the text. The font is a yellow SBS-style text, with a thin black outline. The text sometimes flashes on screen several times rather than remaining solid, which can be annoying.

    This disc is dual layered, with a transition placed early in the feature at 22:14. This is a relatively still moment between scenes that shouldn't prove obtrusive to most viewers.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are two soundtracks accompanying this film on DVD, both in the film's original French language. The default soundtrack is Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s). A Dolby Digital 2.0 alternative may be selected from the setup menu or on the fly.

    The dialogue is always distinct. There has been no ADR  performed, since the directors chose to stick with location audio only. Audio sync is perfect.

    The surround channels are given minimal activity, only some very mild street noise in appropriate scenes. Voices are generally confined to the front centre channel and rarely stray.

    The two audio options are virtually identical. For the majority of the film, there is very little to distinguish between the two.

    As is the tradition in the Dardene's films so far, there is no score per se, although a portion of the Danube Waltz is used in a particular scene.

    The subwoofer is not utilised in this film, nor is it missed.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation

    The main menu is animated with a slightly blurred scene from the film, with location audio. All menu pages are 16x9 enhanced.

Interviews-Crew-Dardenne Bros. & Frederic Bonnaud (22:44)

    The two men discuss their choice of locations and how the concept for this project came about. This is a very insightful interview that delves into the Dardenne's methods of film making, with reference to their past work making documentaries. The Brothers take a very hands-on role in the production, particularly with auditions and casting. This piece is 16x9 enhanced, with burned-in English subtitles.

Featurette- The Image Factory - Interviews with Alain Marcoen & Benoit Dervaux (Cinematographers) (17:34)

    Director of Photography Alain Marcoen explains the natural effect he seeks when working with these Directors. Dervaux discusses his approach to camera operation and how it differed between the films The Son (le fils) and The Child (l'enfant). This interesting interview is 16x9 enhanced, with optional English subtitles.

Interviews-Crew-Margaret Pomeranz with the Dardenne Bros. in Cannes (13:18)

    An Australian exclusive! Margaret from ABC's At The Movies asks the brothers to explain the mechanics of how they work together on set, which is interesting to hear. She also discusses their extensive work as documentarians, and how it relates to their current work. Some info is repeated from the other two interviews, but it is a great inclusion all the same. Margaret asks her questions in English, while the Dardennes answer in French. English subtitles are provided. This interview is also 16x9 enhanced.

Theatrical Trailer (1:22)

    This is a good trailer that does not betray the mood of the film, but it gives away too much in terms of plot.

Madman Trailers

    Additional trailers include The Son (le fils), The Promise, Life is a Miracle and Land of Plenty.

Notes- Director Biography & Filmography

    Madman's Director's Suite series includes director biography and filmography notes on the inside of the slick. Worth a read!

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Our Region 4 package appears to be slightly different in comparison to other regions. Not only do we have the exclusive interview from At The Movies, the captures I have seen from the main Dardenne's interview are completely different to our interview. The Region 1, Region 2 UK and Region 2 French interviews also run five minutes longer. Our video transfer is a little more compressed as well, by about 1Mb/s. Still, I don't see any reason not to go for the local product in this case.

Summary

    The Child (l'enfant) is moving, challenging viewing and highly recommended.

    The video transfer is true to the theatrical presentation.

    The audio transfer is good.

    The extras include nearly an hour of enlightening interviews.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Monday, March 19, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910, using HDMI output
DisplaySanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector, Screen Technics Cinemasnap 96" (16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-3806 (via Denon Link 3)
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.

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