Au Revoir, les Enfants

by J.D. Roth

Kris and I have seen a lot of fine films together. Slowly over the course of our lives, we’ve been picking our way through various lists of great movies. (One of my goals is to see every film ever nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.)

On Wednesday, we watched Sunrise, a long film from 1927, the silent era. It was fascinating. Tonight we watched Au revoir, les enfants. It takes place at a boarding school in Nazi-occupied France. It doesn’t adhere to common tropes, though. It’s more about friendship and childhood than it is about the war.

I particularly liked the following scene, in which the main characters, Julien (a stand-in for writer/director Louis Malle, on whose life this is based) and Jean, play for the pretty young piano instructor.

“That was a great scene,” I said when it had finished. (I made the same remark about two other scenes later in the film.) Secretly I wondered if I could find it on YouTube. Turns out it’s the top search result.

Au Revoir, les Enfants is a great film. I’m glad we watched it. (Malle produced two other amazing films, as well: My Dinner with Andre and Vanya on 42nd Street.)

Updated: 19 December 2008

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