Au revoir, les enfants


Au revoir, les enfants
(1987)
   Film. Director Louis Malle completed Au revoir, les enfants in the latter part of his career, yet it is based on a story that haunted him well before he started to make films. Set in a Catholic boarding school in 1944, this autobiographical feature recounts a pivotal episode from Malle's childhood. Set during the Nazi Occupation of France during World War II, the film focuses on two schoolboys, Julien Quentin (Gaspard Manesse) and his Jewish classmate, Jean Bonnet (Raphaël Fejto). Quentin is modeled on the young Malle and Bonnet on his childhood friend, Hans-Helmut Michel.
   The film portrays the growing friendship between the two boys, and particularly Quentin's discovery that Bonnet's last name is really Kippelstein, and that he is, in reality, a Jew who has been hidden at the school to protect him. The climax of the film occurs near the end of the film, when the Gestapo, apparently alerted to the presence of hidden Jewish children, searches the school, discovers Bonnet, and takes him away to the concentration camps. Arrested along with Bonnet are a number of other Jewish students and the school priest, Père Jean (Philippe Morier-Genoud), who hid them. It is revealed at the end of the film that a recently fired school caretaker named Joseph (François Négret), had alerted the Gestapo either for revenge or in return for compensation. In voiceover at the end of the film, Malle himself tells the audience that Bonnet died in Auschwitz and that Père Jean died in Mauthausen-Gusen.
   Au revoir, les enfants is an ambiguous rendering of French guilt during the Occupation. It recalls Malle's exploration of the subject of French collaboration in his earlier film, Lacombe Lucien (1974). Using a director's poetic license, Malle added various fictional details to his story, for example, changing the events such that Quentin in-advertently gives his friend away. Malle also added the detail of Joseph as the informer. While the actions of the Gestapo are clearly horrendous, Malle's Joseph, like the character Lucien Lacombe in Lacombe Lucien, is not an evil character. Rather, he is a human character who acts selfishly, without, perhaps, fully considering the consequences of his actions.
   The film also acknowledges that there were heroes even in such a dark period. Le Père Jean is a case in point. Nonetheless, it also suggests that many French nationals were more focused on self-preservation or self-interest than in resisting the Occupation. In some way, the film reflects the interrogation of the Occupation associated with the Mode Rétro, with which Lacombe Lucien is often associated. Although produced a decade later than most works linked to the Mode Rétro, the film shares with them the less than idealistic image of France's collective wartime response to the Occupation, images that many in France clung to in the postwar years.

Historical Dictionary of French Cinema. . 2007.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Au revoir, les enfants — Au revoir les enfants Au revoir les enfants Réalisation Louis Malle Scénario Louis Malle Musique Camille Saint Saëns et Franz Schubert Photographie Renato Berta Société de production Louis Malle pour MK2 Productions (France …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Au revoir les enfants — Données clés Réalisation Louis Malle Scénario Louis Malle Sociétés de production Louis Malle pour MK2 Productions (France) et Nouvelles Éditions de Films (France); Stella Films et NEF Filmproduktion (R.F.A.) Pays d’origine …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Au revoir, les enfants — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel: Auf Wiedersehen, Kinder Originaltitel: Au revoir, les enfants Produktionsland: Frankreich und Deutschland Erscheinungsjahr: 1987 Länge: 104 Minuten Originalsprache …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Au revoir, les enfants — Infobox Film name = Au revoir, les enfants writer = Louis Malle starring = Gaspard Manesse, Raphael Fejtö director = Louis Malle producer = Louis Malle cinematography = Renato Berta distributor = Orion Classics (USA) released = flagicon|Italy 29… …   Wikipedia

  • Au revoir, les enfants — (1987)    Film. Director Louis Malle completed Au revoir, les enfants in the latter part of his career, yet it is based on a story that haunted him well before he started to make films. Set in a Catholic boarding school in 1944, this… …   Guide to cinema

  • Au revoir les enfants —    Drame de Louis Malle, avec Gaspard Manesse (Julien Quentin), Raphaël Fetjo (Jean Bonnet/Kippelstein), Francine Racette (la mère de Gaspard), Philippe Morier Genoud (le père Jean), François Berléand (le père Michel).   Scénario: Louis Malle… …   Dictionnaire mondial des Films

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  • Les Enfants de Lumière — est un documentaire recueillant des extraits de films du cinéma français ou traitant des débuts du cinéma, réalisé par Jacques Perrin et Yves Deschamps et sorti en 1995. Sommaire 1 Synopsis 2 Fiche technique 3 Liste des extraits des …   Wikipédia en Français


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