Au Revoir Les Enfants (drama movie)  » Movies  »
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  • All the proper and effective construction that has gone into the making of this film has enabled us viewers to realize the real nature of the situation, and that is, the movie is not only about regret over an unintentional act

    • by Redtape

      To some extent, the movie is said to be based on director Louis Malle’s remorseful recollection of events in 1944 during the time when the Nazis occupied France. ‘Au Revoir Les Enfants’ is a subtle and yet powerful film that reveals to us the potentials that can befall when we make incorrect choices in moments of thoughtless naivety. It portrays an uncertain friendship of two young boys at a Catholic boarding school as war rages around them.

      Julien Quentin is one of the most privileged and well-liked boys in his class. One day a new student arrives in the person of young Jean Bonnet. He is somewhat refined though peculiar, and immediately he stirs the curiosity of the boys who constantly tease and harass him. It is Julien though, who notices Bonnet’s disinclination to share much about himself. The discreet protection

      by teachers is an example of some of a few inconspicuous signs that are missed by the other boys, but Julien also notices Bonnet’s evasiveness regarding questions about his family as well as his reluctance to share with the others in prayers and choir practise. Bonnet is carrying a burdensome secret. He is determined to conceal his identity as that of a Jew. Still, although being unsure of each other and in spite of trivial rivalry and meanness, their friendship as boys grow. Together at night they read novels under the bed covers after lights-out, trudge happily into the air raid shelters as bomb sirens go off, study together and peer inquisitively at naughty postcards, all things common in the innocent daily lives of boys at a 1944 French boarding school. Gradually Julien begins to suspect that his friend isn’t as he claims to be. Yet the two boys never discuss the cloud of misgiving that hang between them. It is difficult to tell just how much of the truth Julien knows. Still keeping his suspicious thoughts to himself, he accidently discovers one of Bonnet’s books with the name “Kippelstein” partly removed and realizes that Jean Bonnet is but a false name to hide his true identity.

      One day shortly before the war ends, the Gestapo arrives at the school after learning that Jewish students and a teacher are being hidden and protected. They enter the classroom and demand to know if there are any Jews at the school. In an instant Julien inadvertently informs on his friend Bonnet. Now a simple initiative that can never be undone has set off a chain of events that will deeply disturb ...

      • Au Revoir Les Enfants (drama movie)
      both boys for the remainder of their days. The Nazis take away all the Jewish boys and their teacher, marching them off as prisoners while the rest of the students watch in horrific fascination. A schoolboy cannot anticipate how speedily viciousness and evil can erase and disfigure everything.

      Using appropriate dialogue, such as when Julien inoffensively asks of his brother “What is a Jew?” and “Why do we hate them?” the filmmakers expertly bring to the fore the purity, beauty and innocence of youth as well as the delight of unbounded energy of young schoolboys.

      Raphael Fejto as Jean Bonnet and Gaspard Manesse who plays the character of Julien are superb in their respective roles as average adolescent boys. Individually they convey a sense of earnestness, poise and realism to their roles as twelve year olds, particularly since both boys are

      fairly new comers to acting.

      All the proper and effective construction that has gone into the making of this film has enabled us viewers to realize the real nature of the situation, and that is, the movie is not only about regret over an unintentional act. It is sufficient to say that young Julien was never completely mindful of the realities surrounding his friend Bonnet. Even though he had some knowledge about his friend, he only half-conceived just what this information meant.

      Au Revoir Les Enfants does not boast a lot of high drama. Instead, director Malle has created a touching portrait of simplicity, of children caught up in unexpressed suspicions, secrecy, evil and the bigotries of adults. It was a tragic mistake that caused both these adolescents boys to unknowingly journey into the real world of hatred and racism.

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