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Sundays and Cybele 1962

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4.2 out of 5 stars (13) IMDb 7.8/10
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Winner of an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, director Serge Bourguignon's compassionate drama stars Hardy Krüger as Pierre, a former military pilot psychologically devastated by a wartime experience. Living a detached existence in a Parisian suburb, Pierre begins to perk up when he meets and befriends a 12-year-old urchin (Patricia Gozzi) abandoned by her father. But problems arise when their relationship is misconstrued.

Starring:
Nicole Courcel, Patricia Gozzi
Rental Formats:
DVD

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_12_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 50 minutes
Starring Nicole Courcel, Patricia Gozzi, Hardy Kruger
Director Serge Bourguignon
Genres Drama
Studio SONY PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Rental release 21 November 2011
Main languages French
Subtitles English

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Sundays and Cybele" holds up even after nearly 50 years. I remember seeing it as a very young man and it lodged in my memory as a very touching and moving story of two damaged souls discovering life and love together. Still controversial after all these years, it tells of the older pilot traumatized from bombing an innocent girl in a Vietnamese war and in another time, another place, of a young girl unloved and abandoned by parents and dropped off in a convent in a small French provincial town. Their worlds are shattered. They cling to what it means to be alive and loved. These two strangers come together. They talk. They play. They take meandering walks along a pond, a river. They help to open up each other's feelings of joy and happiness. It is love and light. But perceptions are reality and those around these innocent victims perceive a dark and treacherous motivation in the pilot. They conspire to save the girl, which leads to the inexorable tragic climax. Interesting to revisit the film that was never forgotten, a memory of a haunting, lyrical and tragic story of love, loss, innocence and betrayal. It was as vivid and engrossing now as it was 50 years ago, only the styles have changed.
It left me thinking what it might be like to have an American remake, possibly Brad Pitt playing the Hardy Kruger role, reshaping the black and white images into the light and dark shadows of color. But the original "Sundays and Cybele" will always remain a classic.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Stupid, stupid, stupid Madeleine!
Why didn't she think to go round to Francoise/Cybele's school and talk it over with the nuns after she had seen how well Cybele was bringing poor Pierre out of his traumas?
Maybe too much to hope that she and Pierre could adopt little abandoned Cybele, but at least the Sunday meetings might have been formalised.

These thoughts are an indication of how much this harrowing film moved me. I first saw it at the university film society in the 1960's and it has stuck in my mind ever since.
The very wide letter-box screen on the DVD was a bit disconcerting to start with but it did have the advantage that the sub-titles appear below the picture on my TV.
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Format: Blu-ray
A beautiful film, in terms of both images and story. This very sweet - but never sticky -and slightly disturbing story of a platonic 'love affair' between a psychologically damaged, almost child-like ex-soldier and an emotionally abandoned 12 year old girl is deeply moving, honest, and just creepy enough in terms of in nascent sexuality hovering around the edges of the relationship to keep us from feeling too at ease. Shot in gorgeous black and white, with great use of shadows and silhouette, the images are both beautiful and mysterious -- as is the film's central relationship.

Hardy Kruger is excellent as the amnesiac soldier who has the feeling he's done something awful, but doesn't know what, or how to atone for it (we know more, having seen a dream- like flashback of his war experiences to open the film). He is lovable and sad, but we sense there's always a danger this man could lose control and cause damage without meaning to. And Patricia Gozzi is remarkable as the young girl, bringing an almost frightening amount of pain to this hurt character, and never feeling like a kid faking it for a film. There's a complex honesty to her performance combining hurt, innocent joy, emotional need, the first flickers of adult sensuality and manipulativeness, and yet a child's open heart that any seasoned actor would envy.

The film does telegraph where its headed more than once, but somehow it doesn't matter very much. It's the humanity of the telling rather than any surprise twist that makes the film work so well. We root for this odd pair to be able to maintain their bond in the face of a grown up world that doesn't understand how much these two damaged souls need each other and is, as one character puts it, afraid of any love that doesn't fit into nice neat categories. Beautifully made and haunting, it won the Oscar for best foreign film in 1963.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
An ex-pilot (Hardy Kruger) suffers from what we call today post traumatic stress disorder after his plane crashes in Vietnam killing a little girl. Emotionally disturbed, he's now child like and lives with his girlfriend (Nicole Courcel) in what appears to be a platonic relationship though she would like to take it to the next level. He begins to come alive however when he meets an orphan (Patricia Gozzi) and spends his Sundays with her in their own special little world. Winner of the 1962 best foreign language film Oscar, director Serge Bourguignon does wonderfully balancing a very tricky plotline. Though the relationship between the disturbed vet and the orphan girl is a pure one, Gozzi comes across as more child/woman (not unlike Elizabeth Taylor in NATIONAL VELVET) than child which give some of the dialog and situations a reading not intended. It's clear from the beginning that this is a film that's not going to end well which makes the journey a nervous one but at least when the end comes, we've been more than prepared. Kruger is excellent in a career best performance. Impossibly tragic yet with a delicate beauty which permeates almost every frame. The superb B&W cinematography is by Henri Decae and the minimalist score by Maurice Jarre. With Daniel Ivernel.

The Sony DVD is a handsome anamorphic wide screen (2.35) transfer in the original French with English subtitles as well as an English dub.
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