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directed by François Ozon
France/Italy 2009

 

Katie (Alexandra Lamy, MODERN LOVE) is a single-mother living in a depressing flat with her eight-year-old daughter Lisa (Mélusine Mayance, SARAH'S KEY) and works in factory assembly line packaging chemicals. A quickie stand with Spanish co-worker Paco (Sergi López, PAN'S LABYRINTH) results in the birth of Ricky (Arthur Peyret) and soon both Paco and Lisa feel neglected by Katie. When Katie returns to work and Paco stays home to take care of Ricky, Katie discovers a bruise on one of Ricky's shoulder-blades which Paco cannot explain. When a similar bruise appears on his other shoulder blade, Kate accuses Paco of hitting their son and Paco packs up and leaves. Soon after, Ricky sprouts chicken-like wings from his wounds. Katie and Lisa keep this quiet and handle his new-found ability to fly (after his wings sprout features) by clipping a blanket over his crib during the night and padding both the baby and the furniture. Things get chaotic when the three go Christmas shopping and Ricky flies through the store. This is captured on mobile phones by hundreds of onlookers and the fire brigade is called to capture the flying infant. Katie balks at a doctor's desire to hospitalize the baby and study him and she, Lisa, and Ricky take shelter in their apartment from the hordes of reporters and curiosity-seekers outside. Paco returns and reunited with Katie, and they find themselves forced to decide how to care for Ricky. Another doctor suggests having the wings surgically removed, but Lisa seems to be able to communicate with the baby and knows what he really wants.

RICKY feels very slight for an Ozon film, possibly even a work-for-hire (the credits make no mention of Ozon's own production company Fidelite). Despite the narrative's overt magic realism elements, it is too adult for a family film with its fleshy if inexplicit love scenes, and the anxiety-inducing - surely for parents seeing their kids taking their first steps - scenes of the baby precariously flying and falling), but it is actually more complex than it seems on the surface. The conception and birth of Ricky seem miraculous by Ozon's compression of time during the first half of the film; the lack of surprise in the characters' reactions to seemingly sudden and abrupt turns of the plot betrays the greater passage of time rather than the editing. During this part of the story, we must also puzzle out where the pre-credits sequence fits into the body of the narrative. Lemy and Lopez give good performances, and the young Mayance is more than up to the task of her more complex role (Lisa complex love/indifference relationship with father-figure Paco is more subtly explored beneath the more fantastical story of Ricky, and Lisa's feelings for Ricky are also left for the audience to puzzle out for much of the film with the distraction of Ozon regular composer Philippe Rombi's suspenseful scoring). In the end, however, it feels a little like the Ozon equivalent of festival-bait than his more entertaining musicals.

Eric Cotenas

Poster

Theatrical Release: 16 December 2009 (USA)

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DVD Comparison:

Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL vs. IFC Films/MPI Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the Screen Caps!

(Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT vs. IFC Films/MPI Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Artificial Eye

Region 0 - PAL

IFC Films/MPI Home Video
Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:25:30 (4% PAL speedup) 1:29:18
Video

1.84:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.52 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.82:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.3 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Artificial Eye

 

Bitrate:

 

IFC Films/MPI Home Video

 

Audio French Dolby Digital 5.1

French Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles English, none English, English SDH, Spanish, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.84:1

Edition Details:
• Short PHOTOS EN FAMILLE [unsubtitled] (16:9; 1:36)
• Trailer (16:9; 1:39)

DVD Release Date: 3 October 2011
Amaray

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: IFC Films/MPI Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.82:1

Edition Details:
• Trailer (4:3; 2:02)
• Start-up Trailers for ONE WEEK, NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT PERSIAN CATS, THE OTHER WOMAN, and THE BEAUTIFUL PERSON

 

DVD Release Date: 12 April 2011
Amaray

Chapters 17

 

Comments

Both DVDs are single-layer and pretty barebones. While the IFC DVD lacks PAL speed-up, it has been given an interlaced encoding (not unusual with IFC DVDs of foreign films). The discs are likely derived from the same HD master. The Artificial Eye DVD features a minor extra in PHOTOS EN FAMILLE which includes an un-subtitled, informal talk with the real-life mother of Arthur Peyret (the baby in the film) and the shooting of some publicity stills with the infant and the actors playing his family as she looks on.

TF1 have issued the film on DVD in France and Flamingo have issued the Italian DVD, but there are no known Blu-ray editions as yet.

 - Eric Cotenas

 



DVD Menus
(
Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT vs. IFC Films/MPI Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)


 

 

 


 

Screen Captures

(Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. IFC Films/MPI Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)
Subtitle sample

 


(Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. IFC Films/MPI Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. IFC Films/MPI Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. IFC Films/MPI Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. IFC Films/MPI Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. IFC Films/MPI Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. IFC Films/MPI Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Artificial Eye

Sound:

Draw

Extras: Artificial Eye
Menu: Draw

 
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Artificial Eye

Region 0 - PAL

IFC Films/MPI Home Video
Region 1 - NTSC

 




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