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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( )
  Languages
  • French: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
    English
  Extras
  • 10 Theatrical trailer
  • Featurette
  • Behind the scenes footage

Swing

Madman Entertainment/AV Channel . R4 . COLOR . 86 mins . PG . PAL

  Feature
Contract

This recent film from France is a dreamy, music soaked tale of a boy, Max, on his summer holidays. Whilst exploring the countryside he encounters gypsies and is immediately drawn into their world by the soulful guitar playing of virtuoso Miraldo. Vowing to take lessons, Max finds a way to buy a guitar and begins learning at the foot of Miraldo, all the while being observed by gypsy girl Swing. Becoming firm friends with Swing, the two become inseparable and their youthful admiration turns into a sweet love affair of friendship and adventure.

The sweet and youthful exuberance of Max and Swing is quite charming to watch. As their friendship grows in the warm summer haze, we become involved in their afternoons of fun and adventure as they explore their world and develop a friendship unlikely in the circumstances, and one doomed to end as the summer draws to a close. How they deal with this impending separation is altogether delightful as they enmesh their very different worlds and experiences.

The other theme of this film is music, always music, everywhere throughout the film. Featuring some astonishing guitar playing and jam sessions of up to 40 musicians and singers, the film is carried along on a river of sound as we follow both Max and Swing and the lives that surround them.

Max discovers during his relationship with Swing that his life isn’t so different from that of the gypsies, with his mother moving him to his grandmother’s house each summer. In this he begins to relate to Swing and the other children of the gypsies more and more, though it is with Swing that he grows close, even with the ever-present threat of summer’s end. First love has been handled in this instance with true class and a simplicity so reminiscent of that age, where everything is still cut and dried in life. Ah, that we could all go back and have it like this.

This film is worth watching for the music alone, but when the sweet early teenage relationship is added, the film becomes a twofold story; one told in vision, the other in the balance of a timeless music.

  Video
Contract

Being such a recent film, the picture is practically unparalleled. Presented in 2.35:1 and 16:9 enhanced, there is nary an artefact in this well lit, well shot picture. Colours are all rich and well saturated and nothing leaps out unevenly. Flesh tones are all nice and even which is good as there are a multitude of flesh colours here. Blacks are all true and shadows all deliver up their details clearly. No aliasing or shimmering is present, nor is there any jittering or such. Overall, a beautiful video transfer.

  Audio
Contract

When a film has a dual storyline running and one of those is music, you have to pay attention to excellent audio, and thankfully this has been done here. Dolby Digital 5.1 surround for those so equipped or stereo for the TV-only folks are absolutely awesome in both instances. Fresh and clean audio has been delivered with a perfect resonance and sounds just fantastic.

The dialogue is in French and is all well spoken and clear (subtitles too are clean and sharp). The sound effects, where employed, are all clean as well, although there really aren’t all that many comparatively. A perfect audio transfer devoid of noise or static, well balanced and evenly distributed.

  Extras
Contract

What looks like a lot is actually a little. A gypsy music featurette that runs for 11 and a half minutes has been shot on video camera and is fairly grainy. This is presented in 4:3 and is basically a behind the scenes series of rehearsals and such. There isn’t a voiceover, so the whole thing isn’t very interesting by and large. Then comes the original French trailer which plays in 1.85:1 and isn't enhanced and runs for a minute 20. On the subject of trailers, there are three more for films by the same director, Tony Gatlif. Latcho Drom, Gadjo Dilo and Vengo. Then, six more trailers for Madman releases: The Kid Stays in the Picture, Satin Rouge, Russian Ark, Yi Yi, Calle 54 and Amandla. After that all that remains is the DVD credits page which doesn’t really count as an extra I’m afraid. So, not much once you remove the ten trailers.

  Overall  
Contract

This touching and sweet film may move a little slowly for some, but if you like your music there’ll be more than enough to keep your interest. I’m sure if you speak French there will be more interest in it for you, but even those who don’t will find a charming little film if they hang in there long enough.

Whilst not being groundbreaking and certainly not a new theme, Swing remains a delightful excursion into the innocence of first love and the amazing variations on music that exist within the world.


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      And I quote...
    "First love can be rough, but when the music in your world sounds this good, you’ll get over it."
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Nintaus DVD-N9901
    • TV:
          Sony 51cm
    • Receiver:
          Diamond
    • Speakers:
          Diamond
    • Surrounds:
          No Name
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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