Bridge, The/ B, B-
Fox Lorber/1999/92/ANA 1.85

     Director Frédéric Auburtin captures small town rural France in the early sixties with perceptive vision. The Bridge takes place at a social crossroads bridging post war innocence to a period when the breakdown of traditional social systems is beginning. The film doesn't try to condemn the changes, but shows them more as inevitable. The solid domestic drama plants a fairly typical French family squarely in the throws of crisis when people are more susceptible to temptation. The French are very good at these slice of life films.

It all starts at the movies. ©Fox Lorber

     It's a very sad movie. Georges, the cuckolded husband,  is an extremely likeable character.  His wife Mina is essentially an innocent. She can't help herself. Her affair is like a force of nature. Still, innocent or not, you can't help but condemn Mina. On the other hand, Matthias, the bridge engineer who Mina meets at the movies,  is an extremely selfish character. Though he might be appealing to Mina, he is only interested in himself. Mina is quite an ordinary women. When she sees Matthias crying at a movie, she is attracted. His open emotions struck a receptive chord in her. The message is that woman are aroused by sensitivity in men. But Mina is a lost soul in the confusing forest of her emotions.
    It's a touching moment to see the flush on Mina's cheeks when she descends the stairs at the Daboval house and meets Claire. Georges relationship with the local barmaid adds a layer of unrealized sub-text. The innocent romance of Georges and Mina's son Tommy and Lisbeth Daboval is an effective accompaniment to the main plot line.
   Depardieu is wonderful as Georges. In his big scene with Mina, he pulls at your heartstrings with under-acting. He is physically powerfully overbearing, but he is a very sensitive man. Carol Bouquet is perfectly cast as Mina. She's pretty, yet ordinary. She wears her emotions as naturally as the 1960s dresses. Charles Berling's confident Matthias is another excellent performance.
     A lot of energetic fifties era music is naturally incorporated into the script, adding a important level of period flavor to the film. Auburtin gives the script by François Dupeyron a flow as natural as rushing water under a bridge.
    Clearly, The Bridge could have looked better with a more controlled transfer. Black level was too high and after adjusting it the overall transfer looked quite nice. Sharp images with decent color saturation. It's very clean. Surround sound is good and open with reasonable directionality. A couple of scenes are slightly soft, but it's minor. The slatted shutter on the Daboval house are rife with jutter artifacts. Yellow English removable subtitles are clear and easy to read. The final scene at the water is a horrible jittery mess. Happily, it is not representative of the transfer.

Reviewed on a Sharp 9000VX DLP Projector


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