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Originally shot in widescreen format, Fox Lorber has given us "Ponette" in reduced form (1.33 to 1). While many of the film's shots are close-ups, the reduced aspect ratio severely hampers the contrasting visual effect of the wide panoramic shots of the splendid lyonnais countryside.
In addition, Fox Lorber shortchanges foreign-film aficionados and language teachers by allowing no user control of the film's subtitles. Finally, this DVD lacks a chronometer (time remaining, time elapsed) for easy scene/shot retrieval. The "extras" Fox Lorber gives users are not worth mentioning, and were not worth the very tiny effort Fox Lorber made to include them.
In short, "Ponette" is a wonderful film that is definitely worth seeing (try renting it through Facets if your local video store doesn't carry it), but this Fox Lorber-produced DVD is definitely NOT worth spending your money on.
When Fox Lorber decides to start devoting care, effort, and money into its DVDs, then people should reward this through their purchases. Until then, as long as Fox Lorber gives us second-rate products, we should refuse to give them our money.
When we first meet the adorable four year old Ponette (Victoire Thivisol), we quickly learn she has gone through a rough patch. She's in a car with her father, arm in a sling, heading out to her aunt's house for an indefinite stay. The conversation between Ponette her dad (Xavier Beauvois) is terse and upsetting: the girl's mother (Marie Trintignant) had an automobile accident with her daughter in the car. While Ponette escaped serious injury--aside from the broken arm--the prognosis for mom doesn't look so good. The accident is far more serious than we initially thought, so serious in fact that our young heroine soon learns her mother has died from her injuries.Read more ›
One film buff told me it's the first movie she's ever seen that made her cry. Now by "cry" I don't mean you'll be dabbing at your eyes with a Kleenex or two. You're going to need the whole box. Seeing it with a friend? Get a second box. It doesn't even need the element of surprise. I've only seen it once, two years ago, in a theatre. You know how at the end of a film everyone gets up, yakking about where to go for a bite to eat and whatnot? At the end of Ponette all you could hear was sniffling. Unique in my theatre-going experience. Even now I can't talk about it without tearing up.
But please don't avoid it because you're afraid it will make you too sad. Ponette may break your heart but you'll be a better person for it, and you'll thank Doillon and Thivisol and the rest of the cast and crew and distributors for it. It's the kind of film that inspires kindness, not moroseness. Ever after, when you feel the urge to do something mean-spirited, you'll see Ponette's face and that may well change your mind. If this sounds a over the top you just haven't seen this film. The original purpose of art was to inspire people to live up to their society's ideals, and do it in an entertaining, compelling way. This does that in spades. I've read some reviews that called it slow moving, pointless etc. I feel sorry for those reviewers. You will too.
I'm also writing Fox/Lorber to beg them to reissue this on DVD in letterbox. I can't believe they'd think the kind of people who'd buy a DVD of Ponette are the sort of yahoos who'd want a third of the image cut away.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Unfortunately I received a copy with Korean subtitles, so I can't understand it. Can it be returned for English subtitles? Read morePublished 10 months ago by Dorothy A. D'Ambrosio
Horrible quality. Looked like it was taped over and copied 50 times.Published 18 months ago by Frankie
A bittersweet story with an amazing performance by a five year old Victoire Thivisol.Published 19 months ago by Amazon Customer
A few days ago I was describing this marvellous little 1996 film to a friend and promised to send a link to my review. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Jay B. Lane
My husband and I love this movie. It is hard to get on netflix so when I saw a used copy for sale, I bought it. We watch it every couple of years and it never gets old.Published 21 months ago by book lover
Remarkable acting by children. Shows the sorrow and confusion of losing a parent from a young child's perspective.
The direction is nothing short of miraculous.