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100 Years of Olympic Films, 16: Grenoble, 1968
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.66:1 Widescreen
  • 1.37:1 Standard
  • French PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • None

100 Years of Olympic Films, 16: Grenoble, 1968

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Claude Lelouch, , Jacques Ertaud, Jean-Jacques Languepin
2017 | 209 Minutes | Licensor: International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic Committee

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $399.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Release Date: December 5, 2017
Review Date: February 6, 2018

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SYNOPSIS

Spanning fifty-three movies and forty-one editions of the Olympic Games, 100 Years of Olympic Films: 1912–2012 is the culmination of a monumental, award-winning archival project encompassing dozens of new restorations by the International Olympic Committee. The documentaries collected here cast a cinematic eye on some of the most iconic moments in the history of modern sports, spotlighting athletes who embody the Olympic motto of “Faster, Higher, Stronger”: Jesse Owens shattering world records on the track in 1936 Berlin, Jean-Claude Killy dominating the Grenoble slopes in 1968, Joan Benoit breaking away to win the Games’ first women’s marathon in Los Angeles in 1984. In addition to the impressive ten-feature contribution of Bud Greenspan, this stirring collective chronicle of triumph and defeat includes such documentary landmarks as Leni Riefenstahl’s Olympia and Kon Ichikawa’s Tokyo Olympiad, along with captivating lesser-known works by major directors like Claude Lelouch, Carlos Saura, and Miloš Forman. It also offers a fascinating glimpse of the development of film itself, and of the technological progress that has brought viewers ever closer to the action. Traversing continents and decades, reflecting the social, cultural, and political changes that have shaped our recent history, this remarkable movie marathon showcases a hundred years of human endeavor.


PICTURE

Continuing on through Criterion’s 100 Years of Olympic Films box set, disc 16 presents two films covering the 1968 Winter Games in Grenoble, France: Claude Lelouch’s and Francois Reichenbach’s 13 Days in France and Jacques Ertaud’s and Jean-Jacques Languepin’s Snows of Grenoble. The films are presented with 1080p/24hz high-definition encodes on a dual-layer disc in their respective aspect ratios of 1.66:1 and 1.37:1. The presentations both either come from 2K or 4K restorations.

Both come out looking really good, though I’d still have to say that 13 Days in France is the sharper looking one of the two, and easily one of the top looking restorations in the set. Restoration-wise it’s about flawless, lacking any significant marks or damage, while delivering crisp sharp details and faultless film grain. Colours might be leaning more on the blue end but considering the film’s snowy setting this at the very least seems a bit more natural than something like White Vertigo’s yellow snow (as a reminder, never eat yellow snow). Outside of that colour saturation is otherwise terrific with some strong black levels. There are some sepia toned sequences scattered about, and though I’m not entirely sure why the filmmakers went with this stylistic choice these sequences at least look sharp themselves with decent tonal shifts. Overall it looks unbelievably good.

Snows of Grenoble is a grainier film in comparison, the grain looking a bit denser. Still, the grain still looks great, rendered incredibly well with no obvious signs of noise, and this aids the excellent detail levels in the film itself. Colours come off balanced a bit better here, less blue than what the previous film presented, but they still look delightful, with some great looking reds and greens. Black levels are decent though detail can be lacking, and this does flatten the image at times. The elements are also not as clean here, showing a wee bit of wear and tear, with a handful of tram lines and bits of dirt popping up. Still, despite that, the restoration work has still cleaned up a lot.

Despite any shortcomings, though, both come off looking great, aided substantially by sharp encodes that deliver nice filmic presentations. Another solid batch.

Snows of Grenoble: 8/10, 13 Days in France: 9/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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13 Days in France

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13 Days in France

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13 Days in France

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13 Days in France

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13 Days in France

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13 Days in France

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13 Days in France

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13 Days in France

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13 Days in France

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13 Days in France

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Snows of Grenoble

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Snows of Grenoble

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Snows of Grenoble

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Snows of Grenoble

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Snows of Grenoble

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Snows of Grenoble

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Snows of Grenoble

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Snows of Grenoble

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Snows of Grenoble

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Snows of Grenoble

AUDIO

Both films come with lossless PCM 1.0 monaural tracks and both deliver decent if unremarkable audio presentations. Dialogue sounds clear, they’re both free of noise, but they’re both flat and fairly one note.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

The only disappointing aspect to this set is that there are no on-disc special features to speak of. The set does come with an incredibly thorough 216-page hardbound book, featuring material on the restorations by Adrian Wood along with essays covering the films, all written by film scholar Peter Cowie. It also filled with photos from the various events. Cowie covers both films in his essay for the ’68 Winter Games, noting 13 Days’ New Wave nods and Snows’ editing techniques attempting to put us in the action and in the minds of the athletes. He also mentions Robert Redford’s attendance at the games with writer James Salter, researching for their upcoming project Downhill Racer. (The grade given here refers to the supplements for the set as a whole, which, in this case, is just the included book.)

5/10

CLOSING

Another two very strong restorations, both looking sharp and filmic.




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