Cold Water (1994) (Blu-ray Review)

Cold Water (1994) (Blu-ray Review)
DIRECTED BY: Olivier Assayas
STARRING: Cyprien Fouquet, Virginie Ledoyen
AVAILABLE FROM The Criterion Collection

An acclaimed early work by Olivier Assayas, the long-unavailable, deeply felt coming-of-age drama Cold Water can at last be seen in the United States. Drawing from his own youthful experiences, Assayas revisits the outskirts of Paris in the early 1970s, telling the story of teenage lovers Gilles (Cyprien Fouquet) and Christine (Virginie Ledoyen), whose rebellions against family and society threaten to tear them apart. The visceral realism of the movie’s narrative and the near experimentalism of its camera work come together effortlessly thanks in part to a rock soundtrack that vividly evokes the period. Cold Water, whose centerpiece is one of the most memorable party sequences ever committed to film, is a heartbreaking immersion in the emotional tumult of being young.

In what amounts to be one of the more pure forms of youth and rebellion captured in film, Cold Water is a classic that I’m pretty sure hasn’t been seen by as many as it should be. Hopefully with this release from The Criterion Collection that will change as this classic is here with a great transfer on Blu-ray. We watch the story of Gilles and Christine as they fall in love and find lots of things to get in a lot of trouble over during the course of the film. It is a film that really brings home the character side of things and that is what draws you in and keeps you watching as everything unfolds in this one.

Director Olivier Assayas has a real eye to capture the emotion that becomes clear as Cold Water rolls along. I’m sad to report I wasn’t that aware of Assayas work but after seeing this I plan to change that fact. If you’ve never seen this before or his movies before then this would be a great place to start as it is just masterful storytelling from beginning to the end. This one packs lots of drama, feelings, and a great view of the time it is covering. Some probably won’t like reading subtitles, but if that doesn’t bother you I can’t see why you won’t enjoy this one.


– New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director Olivier Assayas, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
– New interview with Assayas
– New interview with cinematographer Denis Lenoir
– Excerpt from a 1994 French television program on the film featuring Assayas and actors Virginie Ledoyen and Cyprien Fouquet
– New English subtitle translation
– PLUS: An essay by critic Girish Shambu