Blue Is the Warmest Color. color. 179+ min. In French w/English subtitles. Criterion Collection. 2013. DVD ISBN 9781604658262. $19.95; Blu-ray ISBN 9781604658255. $24.95. Rated: NC-17.
The overworked theme of young love receives refreshingly candid treatment in Abdellatif Kechiche’s (The Secret of the Grain) drama about a sensitive high school student, Adele (Adèle Exarchopoulos), who falls hard for older Emma (Léa Seydoux) as part of the bumpy road of her romantic awakening. Poignantly realistic in its emotional and sexual exploration, Blue earns its adult rating for explicit but not clinically detailed lovemaking. While overlong, this rite of passage is definitely worth taking for open-minded viewers.
The Broken Circle Breakdown. color. 70+ min. In Flemish w/English subtitles. Cinedigm. 2013. DVD UPC 025192229794. $26.99.
Tragedy brings out the worst in a formerly loving couple coping with the death of their six-year-old daughter. Laid-back bluegrass musician Didier (Johan Heldenbergh) and high-spirited tattoo artist Elise (Veerle Baetens) especially clash over opposing religious values that never came into play during their passionate honeymoon phase. Without taking sides, writer-director Felix Van Groeningen’s Belgian Oscar nominee time-trippingly traces a sadly disintegrating relationship with heart-wrenching immediacy.
Foreign Correspondent. 3 discs. b/w. 120+ min. Criterion Collection. 1940. DVD/Blu-ray ISBN 9781604658248. $39.95.
British émigré Alfred Hitchcock’s second American outing (for Hollywood indie United Artists) stars Joel McCrea (Sullivan’s Travels) as a stateside reporter sent to Europe for a scoop on the looming war with Germany. With typical dry wit, choreographed camera work, impressive special effects, and a light romantic touch, Hitch offers up a clever variation on his British spy pictures while keeping the requisite patriotic messaging low-key save for a tacked-on coda. A pristinely restored classic for fans of the suspense master.
The Prey. color. 105+ min. In French w/English subtitles. Cohen Media Group. 2013. DVD UPC 741952763598. $24.98; Blu-ray UPC UPC 741952763697. $34.98. Rated: R.
A bank robber escapes from prison in order to track down his ex-cellmate, a man cleared of child molestation and rape who turns out to be a serial killer. Albert Dupontel is credible as Franck Adrien, a convict who trusts no one—except for the single instance when he does and now fears for his wife and daughter. Credulity may be strained by the plotting but not the execution. Unlike similar American films, this action-thriller is tethered to reality rather than a superhuman protagonist, over-the-top effects, and hyperactive editing.
You Will Be My Son. color. 102+ min. In French w/English subtitles. Cohen Media Group. 2013. DVD UPC 741952766094. $24.98; Blu-ray UPC 741952766193. $34.98. Rated: R.
A patriarchal winemaker (the formidable Niels Arestrup, War Horse) treats his heir-apparent son condescendingly, passing him over in lieu of the son of his terminally ill estate manager whom he considers up to tending his precious vineyard. Writer-director Gilles Legrand has fashioned a screenplay with the subtlety of a tannin-heavy red but the direction of a restrained white. This is a hearty family drama that goes down pretty smoothly despite a tonal shift at the finish. Wine lovers may like the film more, but experience is not required.