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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Sundays and Cybele aka 'Les Dimanches de Ville D'Avray' [Blu-ray]


(Serge Bourguignon, 1962)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Terra Film Produktion

Video: Criterion Collection Spine #728



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:51:01.029

Disc Size: 48,703,440,609 bytes

Feature Size: 32,545,093,632 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Chapters: 18

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: September 30th, 2014



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



LPCM Audio French 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit



English (SDH), none



• New interviews with director Serge Bourguignon (26:29) and actors Hardy Krüger (23:10) and Patricia Gozzi (11:17)
Le sourire (1960), Bourguignon’s Palme d’Or–winning short documentary, with a new introduction (6:57) by the director (22:20)
Trailer (2:15)
PLUS: An essay by critic Ginette Vincendeau






Description: In this provocative Academy Award winner from French director Serge Bourguignon, a psychologically damaged war veteran and a neglected child begin a startlingly intimate friendship—one that ultimately ignites the suspicion and anger of his friends and neighbors in suburban Paris. Bourguignon’s film makes thoughtful, humane drama out of potentially incendiary subject matter, and with the help of the sensitive cinematography of Henri Decaë and a delicate score by Maurice Jarre, Sundays and Cybèle becomes a stirring contemplation of an alliance between two troubled souls.



The Film:

Sundays and Cybele original French title: Les Dimanches de Ville D'Avray stars Hardy Kruger as a former bomber pilot. Emotionally shattered by a tragic wartime incident, Kruger goes into semi-seclusion in a small Parisian suburb. He is drawn out of his shell by 12-year-old orphan girl Patricia Gozzi. The nuns in charge of Patricia bless the relationship, assuming that Kruger is the girl's father. A warm, chaste friendship develops between the older man and the bright-eyed girl, culminating in their mutual decision to spend Christmas together in a nearby woods. Unfortunately, nurse Nicole Courcel, suspecting that Kruger is a pedophile, calls the police--a move that can only result in disaster for all concerned. Based on a novel by Bernard Eschasseriaux, the exquisitely photographed Sundays and Cybele won the 1962 Best Foreign Film Academy Award.

Excerpt from Barnes and Noble located HERE

Bourguignon's first feature won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Its appeal lies in its unabashed identification with the kind of romantic desperation common to early adolescence. Amnesia is certainly one of the most over-used (and silliest) dramatic devices in film -- here, at least, it's only employed as a way of making the mind of the adult hero more childlike, so that his strong bond with the girl will be more moving and believable. And Krüger does a good job portraying the young man's lost, restless, searching qualities. Gozzi is something else -- she conveys the girl's morbid emotional states with harrowing intensity. Francoise is looking for someone to love her, and she rewards Pierre's attentions with a fierce, voluble devotion that is tinged with more than a little erotic energy. In fact, it's one of the picture's virtues that it doesn't try to deny the erotic aspect of the relationship, but chooses to face it head on.

Excerpt from Cinescene located HERE


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Sundays and Cybele looks excellent on Blu-ray from Criterion.  The image has some impressive contrast and tight, detailed image.  This is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate and we can guess that it is a solid representation of the film. There are plenty of appealing textures and even some depth. It is in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and the 1080P provides a strong, consistent and clean presentation. This Blu-ray has no discernable flaws that I noticed.
















Audio :

Criterion stay true-to-form with linear PCM monaural track at 1152 kbps in original French. There isn't much aggression but the lossless exports some depth in certain scenes. It seems to support the film very well. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A' disc.


Extras :

Criterion include many supplements. There are many new interviews including a 26-minute one with director Serge Bourguignon where he discusses the making of Sundays an Cybele and his relationship to his contemporaries in the French new Wave. There is also a 26-minute interview with and actor Hardy Krüger who was the only 'name' actor attached to Sundays and Cybele - he was paertly responsible for the film being made. Krugr discusses the obstacles encountered during preproduction, his relationship with actor Patricia Gozzi (who is also interview separately for a dozen minutes) and why the film occupies a special place in his heart. Le sourire (1960), is Bourguignon’s Palme d’Or–winning short documentary running about 22-minutes and comes with a new, 7-minute, introduction by the director. There is also a trailer and the package has a liner notes booklet with an essay by critic Ginette Vincendeau.



This is a great film. Sundays and Cybele is a beautiful, touching drama - one I really appreciated seeing - especially in Criterion's HD presentation. I can see this being a mainstay in my Blu-ray library - an impressively impacting film that I will revisit often! Strongly recommended! 

Gary Tooze

September 10th, 2014


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
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Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

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Gary W. Tooze






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