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Cement Garden [DVD] [1996]


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Product details

  • Actors: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Andrew Robertson, Alice Coulthard, Ned Birkin, Sinéad Cusack
  • Directors: Andrew Birkin
  • Writers: Andrew Birkin, Ian McEwan
  • Producers: Bee Gilbert, Bernd Eichinger, Ene Vanaveski, Martin Moszkowicz, Stephen O'Rourke
  • Format: Colour, DVD-Video, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: To be announced
  • Studio: New Yorker Video
  • DVD Release Date: 8 Aug 2000
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 1567301789
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 261,906 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Rosie on 29 Jun 2009
Format: DVD
Very good film centred around siblings trying to keep the family together after the death of both parents. Naturally arguments ensue between the main character Jack and his elder sister although they are very close. Jack wants to share responsibility for caring for the two younger siblings but is obviously not mature enough to cope with this and relies on his elder sister. Although Julie has a boyfriend she becomes more sexually atracted to Jack and embarks on an incestuous affair whilst both being aware that this will eventually be found out. Sad but not un expected ending to the film and carried off well by the actors.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By D. Turner on 9 Jan 2006
Format: DVD
This amazing ground breaking film is based on Ian McEwan's award winning novel about four children (2 who are in their late teen's) who after the death of their mother fear foster homes and separation and as such keep the death a secret and withdraw into their own shadowy world and whilst that novel is an excellent read, this film offers so much, much more...
For a start it features excellent actors including Sinead Cusack who expertly plays the mother, but the real stars of this film are the children: Jack, Julie, Sue and Tom with Jack played by Andrew Robertson and Julie played by Charlotte Gainsbourg both being the main focus of the film and who are both incredibly photogenic and simply steal the show proving what fantastically accomplished young actors they really are.
Then there's the films musical score which is absolutely astounding, it's haunting for the best part of the film and tears at your heartstrings at times but it simply oozes atmosphere throughout and just adds to the overall surreal effect of this movie and is the best orchestrated score I have ever heard.
Then there's the film itself, which will be familiar if you've read the book, it's commonly thought to be set during the long hot summer of 1976, hottest summer on record being mentioned during the course of the movie but the fashions/styles are more of a 1960's/1970's pastiche. But this is of course a movie for adults and justifies it's 18 rating as it does contain a few shock moments, most notably the ending which although breaks a taboo is handled quite beautifully.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Mr. G. Bridgeman-clarke TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 6 Oct 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the book and managed to buy a copy of the DVD after hunting hi and lo (should have gone to Amazon earlier!!). I was keen to see if the DVD was as good as the book and I was not disappointed.

I would say that there are some subtle differences in the storyline from book to DVD but they really do not matter as the DVD is as dark as the book and as enjoyable.

The story revolves around the death of the parents of a family leaving the two eldest to manage the family and keep it together, in fear of the youngsters being put into care since they have no adult guardians. The DVD treats the subject with a lot of emotion and tension. The sexual tension in the film can be cut by a knife, especially at my favourite part where there is a birthday party.

The story is believable, though the location of the house in the middle of nowhere is a bit far fetched (especially since I know the film was made in Beckton east London!!) but overall a real classic and well worth buying.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Bruno VINE VOICE on 3 Feb 2006
Format: DVD
From the opening shots I was mesmerised by this superb adaptation of Ian Mcewans first novel. Dreamy visuals, a haunting soundtrack and near perfect perfomances from the entire cast succeed in bringing to life Mcewan's story as the eerie fable he surely intended it to be but which even his beautiful prose could not quite fully capture on the printed page. The recurrent theme in Mcewan's fiction of the tragic gap between idealism and reality has never been told with more elegance and beauty than here, a perfect little gem of british cinema.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By G. A. Terpstra on 22 Mar 2009
Format: DVD
The Cement Garden is a movie that begins slow but gradually builds up a suspense and a sexual tension. Charlotte Gainsbourg, who was 20 at the time, convinces as teenager Julie with an unfolding sexual curiosity, still discovering herself as a woman. Andrew Robertson, then 18, acts just as freshly and naturally as the teenage brother of Julie. The story develops like a Greek drama, with an unavoidable dramatic ending, painful and at the same time deeply beautiful and innocent.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Peter Scott-presland on 30 Mar 2009
Format: DVD
The Cement Garden is something of a Jane Birkin/Serge Gainsburg family affair. This subtle examination of the way a brother-sister relationship gradually slips into incest is directed by brother Andrew Birkin, and also features his son Ned as the cross-dressing 9-year-old Tom; Charlotte comes to this trailing the notorious "Lemon Incest" duet with her father. With Gainsberg and Birkin we always wonder about the borders between fact and fiction.

This is a very claustrophobic film - one location for almost the whole story, as four orphaned children, having lost their mother, bury her themselves in an attempt to avoid the fate of being split up and having the younger ones taken into care. The relationships are deftly drawn between the four, although the younger girl is slightly sketchy. But the central thread concerns the dawning relationship between the two oldest, Jack (Andrew Robertson) and Julie (Gainsbourg). They start, while the parents are alive, in competition; Jack is particularly concerned to share responsibility and not to have Julie left "in charge", but as they are forced to assume the parental role for the young ones, they mimic a married relationship; Tom the cross-dresser when he dresses up plays at Jack-and-Julie, but Jack and Julie are also playing mummy and daddy. The game becomes more real as their private world is threatened by the arrival of Derek, chasing Julie. When they finally come to consummation, it happens so naturally, so inevitably, that any shock value is dissipated. We see Derek's disgust from Jack and Julie's point of view, and the final image of the film, the blue police light flashing over the two young naked bodies, is tragic not prurient.
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