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directed by Agnieszka Holland
France 1992

Agnieszka Holland based the screenplay for her film on a newspaper article that she'd read: a nine-year-old boy disappears from his family home and returns, suddenly, six years later. While keeping us hooked on the mystery aspect of the story (is the new Olivier really the same boy?), Holland's main interest clearly lies in exploring the psychological tensions that are provoked within the family by the disappearance and return of the son.

With its fairy tale references, mystical elements (heightened by Zbigniew Preisner’s haunting score), and themes of incest and rape, "Olivier, Olivier" eludes any comfortable analysis. Holland's characters are real, damaged human beings, struggling to find happiness and with their own reasons for needing to believe (or not) in Olivier's return. A film of subtle intelligence and emotional truth.

Michael St Aubyn


Theatrical Release: 1992

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DVD Review: Bluebell Films - Region 2 - PAL

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Bluebell Films

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:43:59 (4% PAL speedup)

1.66:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

Audio French (Dolby 2.0)
Subtitles English (non-removable)
Features Release Information:
Studio: Bluebell Films

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.66:1

Edition Details:
• Non-anamorphic transfer
• Single-layer disc
• No extras

DVD Release Date: Jul 2, 2007
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Chapters 16





It's a cause for celebration that this marvellous film has finally arrived on DVD, and in an English-friendly release. However, this is a real barebones edition: single-layer, no menus (just a Play Movie screen), no subtitle option (the large white English subtitles are ingrained in the image), and no extras of any kind, not even cast bios or a trailer.

The image is non-anamorphic. I don't know if the 1.66:1 ratio used here is correct; the Internet Movie Database says 1.85:1, in which case some cropping has occurred in the transfer to DVD. Image quality is acceptable but unremarkable: dull colours and soft detail, but with no significant print damage apart from a few speckles. Edge enhancement and compression artifacts are occasionally visible, and may be troublesome on a large screen. That compression problems should arise is hardly surprising given that the 104-minute running time has been squeezed into 3.04Gb, less than three-quarters of the available space on the single-layer disc.

Though there are no irredeemable flaws in this edition, it's a shame that Bluebell Films didn't push the boat out a bit further by making this an anamorphic DVD9 and tossing in a few extras.

 - Michael St Aubyn


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Bluebell Films

Region 2 - PAL


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