Au Revoir les Enfants (1987)

chosen by Edouard Hill at Allan Gray’s Imagination

chosen by Edouard Hill at Allan Gray’s Imagination

Au Revoir Les Enfants really moved me. Thank  you,Ted,for selecting this film, because it is certainly the greatest movie yet seen on The Cineastes. It is also the most powerful film I’ve seen in a while. Watching Au Revoir Les Enfants is difficult to do. It is much the equivalent of watching Schindler’s List. The fact that it is somewhat based on the director’s own experiences at a Catholic boarding school, is what makes it all the more powerful. The phrase: Au Revoir Les Enfants or “Goodbye, Children” is the farewell between Pere Jean and the children, as he is taken away by Nazi officers. “Goodbye Children” in my mind, can possibly stand as a metaphor for the loss of innocence. As we follow young Julien Quentin we watch him on his journey through life, facing conflicts from the inside and out, and come the end, loses what he had left of his innocence, prior to meeting the ill-fated “Jean Bonnet”. Not only Julien Quentin, and our director Louis Malle, but all the schoolboys are stripped of their youth on that cold January morning. The hardest thing about it for me, is to know that those innocent boys were gassed upon arrival at Auschwitz. It is a gloomy picture, but one not to be forgotten (great performance by Gaspard Manesse). It is never fun to watch movies about the Holocaust. However, that may all change this week with the release of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds. And I’m not saying that is a good thing, either.

“Stop being so pious. There’s a war on, kid.”


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