Forbidden Games: Criterion Collection

January 28, 2012 4 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Paulette (Brigitte Fossey) has just lost her parents and her dog, leaving her alone in a world cloaked in death and destruction. She was with her parents as they tried to escape Paris, but the Nazi forces were too much and gunned down her mother and father. Her dog was also wounded and would soon die in her arms, leaving her with no one to turn to. When a man throws her dog into the river, she runs down to reclaim the animal, when she is seen by a young boy named Michel (Georges Poujouly). Michel takes her home to his peasant family, who takes in the young girl. Michel and Paulette become instant friends and when Paulette needs to bury her pet, Michel is sure to lend a hand. Soon the two begin to bury all the dead things they come across, but will the realities of death ever truly sink in?

This is the kind of movie that could never be made in the present day, as cynical and corrupt as our world has become. Forbidden Games deals with intense subjects, such as war and death, but views these issues through the eyes of innocence, the eyes of children. Of course, that means the horrors of death and war seem a little less horrific, but that is the nature of this approach. The children don’t have a total grasp on death and what it means, but they do understand the concept of loss. The ways in which they deal with the loss is what makes Forbidden Games work, ways that only the innocence of childhood can allow. I think the movie is quite powerful, but not the kind of films I would revisit often. So that leaves me to recommend Forbidden Games as a rental, but the film is well worth a look. As always, Criterion provides a restored visual transfer and some good supplements, so this is a more than solid overall release.

Video: How does it look?

Forbidden Games is presented in full frame, as intended. As usual, Criterion has used digital restoration to enhance the elements, so we have a beautiful presentation. If you watch the included interviews, which show some clips from the film, you will see the dramatic improvement. The print looks very clean and thanks to the lack of grain and debris, the visuals have minimal softness. The black & white image is well balanced in terms of black levels, as contrast is spot on throughout. This is just another wonderful restoration from Criterion, who only seem to get better as time passes.

Audio: How does it sound?

This film is presented with the original French mono track, and of course they’ve supplied English subtitles. Since this is mono, you won’t find much power anywhere, but it takes of this movie. This film is dialogue driven so the audio punch isn’t needed in truth and this mix supplies clean and distinct vocals. It might be in a language I don’t speak, but I know clarity when I hear it. Any music and effects remain in the background, where they belong in this mix.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes alternate opening & ending sequences, new & vintage interviews, and finally, the film’s theatrical trailer.

Disc Scores