Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987)

 You scared?
All the time

Au Revoir Les Enfants

Written and Directed by – Louis Malle

During World War II, when Germany had occupied France (1942-44) – this is the story of a boy Julien Quentin in a Carmelite boarding school. He becomes friends with a new schoolmate Jean Bonnet, with a shy demeanour and a secretive history. The backbone of the narrative is their growing friendship while exploring the underlying tension in France.

There are a lot of political references in the film which I did not completely comprehend. But, there was this one instance in the film where all the students had gathered to watch a Charlie Chaplin film and it was in that one scene that everybody looked united – in joy. It made a powerful statement in itself. There are many such moments though, some through interesting characters like the drunkard cook or petty assistant or Julien’s elder brother wanting to join the resistance movement or the fat boy who loves to bully but hardly smiles.

Its that sort of a film that works deftly along its narrative with subtle references of the essence of the plot. It eventually culminates in a silent fear that you must have had all along the way. What is more fascinating about this film is that its autobiographical and has been treated as such, from Julien’s perspective i.e. Mr. Louis Malle’s real life experiences.

A must watch for all film buffs out there.

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