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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Girlhood aka "Bande de filles" [Blu-ray]


(Céline Sciamma, 2014)



Also available on Blu-ray from StudioCanal in the UK later this year:


Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Arte France Cinéma

Blu-ray: Strand Releasing



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

Runtime: 1:53:18.708

Disc Size: 24,396,984,883 bytes

Feature Size: 23,141,692,032 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.16 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: May 19th, 2015



Aspect ratio: 2.40:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio French 3618 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3618 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)



English, none



• Interview with Actress Karidja Touré (2:56)
Original Theatrical Trailer (1:37)
Other Strand Trailers





Description: From the director of WATER LILLIES and TOMBOY, comes GIRLHOOD, the critically-acclaimed hit from Sundance and the Director's Fortnight in Cannes. Fed up with her abusive family situation, lack of school prospects and the "boys' law" in the neighborhood, Marieme, a teenage girl in Paris, starts a new life after meeting a group of three free-spirited girls. She changes her name, her style, drops out of school and starts stealing to be accepted into the group. When her home situation becomes unbearable, Marieme seeks solace in an older man who promises her money and protection. Realizing this sort of lifestyle will never result in the freedom and independence she truly desires, she finally decides to take matters into her own hands. With dazzling visuals and music, GIRLHOOD is a powerful and inspiring coming of age story for this generation.



The Film:

Céline Sciamma’s “Girlhood” can be described (like so many movies these days) as a coming-of-age story, and it honors the genre, and its main character, with exemplary sensitivity and sympathy. But even as she stops at familiar stations on the road to maturity — problems at home and school, new friendships and first love — Ms. Sciamma revels in the risky, reckless exuberance of adolescence and in the sheer joy of filming it.

The first shot of the movie is of a football game — the American kind, with pads and helmets and hard contact at the line of scrimmage. This may come as a surprise in a French movie. Shouldn’t they be playing soccer? Another surprise: All of the players are girls, mostly of African descent and residents of a high-rise housing complex on the outskirts of Paris. So right from the start, before the plot has gotten underway, “Girlhood” insists that the world will not conform to easy categories or lazy expectations.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE




Among the players is Marieme (Karidja Touré), a teenager whose family live in the high-rise schemes of suburban Paris. This is her story - or rather it is her the story of her multiple possibilities, as she tries on various identities for size. Through the course of the film, we will see how her life has been shaped. When we meet her, she is the Marieme molded by her family experience, particularly by her elder brother who is more of an oppressive presence than a physical character, his sense of threat lingering in the room like bad eau de cologne long after he has left. The way Marieme holds her younger sister's outstretched hand as they settle down to sleep tells you as much about his affect on them as any act of violence.

Excerpt from Eye For Film located HERE


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


Strand give us a single-layered 1080P transfer with a supportive bitrate for the heartfelt and empowering 2014 gang-drama Girlhood out of France. The Blu-ray visuals look decent in HD. It is tight with some depth but the video presentation is not overwhelming with eye-candy or gloss. The film goes for a realistic edge and that is exported by the tame, but competent, image style. The few darker scenes of the film show no noise or artifacts. I presume this, pristinely clean, appearance is a strong replication of how the film was viewed theatrically. Shot with the flexible Arri Alexa camera - this has a consistent and appreciated video presentation.

















Audio & Music:

The audio is transferred in a healthy DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at a whopping 3618 kbps in the original French language. Effects are an important facet in the film although there is some adroit separation notable in a few instances but the score by Jean-Baptiste de Laubier (and some will recognize Rihanna's Diamonds) is the bigger beneficiary of the lossless rendering. It sounds quite dense and melancholy but the score is not used abundantly with the film relying on empty pauses to extract a vérité mood. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A' disc.





Not much in the way of supplements. We get a brief, 3-minute, interview with actress Karidja Touré, an original theatrical trailer and some other Strand Releasing trailers.



Bottom line: I am now interested to explore Céline Sciamma's previous films; Tomboy and Water Lilies with this being the final installment of her “trilogy of youth”. It's a sober take on gang-life, sexual orientation and the struggle to find one's place in the world. The Strand Blu-ray offers an impressive presentation of this rewarding film experience. Recommended!

Gary Tooze

May 11th, 2015



Also available on Blu-ray from StudioCanal in the UK later this year:


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.

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Gary W. Tooze






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