Goodbye Children

Malle's autobiographical film, set in a Carmelite convent school in 1944, is simplicity itself: 12 year old Julien (Manesse) doesn't understand why new boy Jean Bonnet (Fejtö)-real name, he later learns is Kippelstein-is bullied by the other pupils and protected by the teachers. Only with the arrival of the Gestapo does he sees the full implications of Jean's difference. If he outcome of this sombre, loving detailed film is unsurprising. Its emotional power remains undeniable, precisely because Malle never sentimentalizes his material (neither boy is particularly loveable nor is their friendship free of petty rivalries and cruelty). Instead, he creates an authentic mood of unspoken suspicious and everyday secrecy, drawing upon performances, decor, even nature itself to paint a wintry portrait of childhood on the brink of horrific discovery. The film is quiet integrity finally depends on his avoidance of heroic cliché and stylistic bombast, and on the unindulgent generosity extended towards his characters. This is a remarkably clear-eyed, moving evocation both of a period and, more particularly, the anarchic and sometimes brutal world of schoolboys as evoked by Vigo's Zero De Conduite and Truffaut's Quartes Cens Coups.
France
'
1987

Director
Louis Malle

Script
Louis Malle

Cinematography
Renato Berta

Cast
Francine Racette
François Negret
Gaspard Manesse
Peter Fitz
Philippe Morier-Genoud
Raphael Fejtö

Music
Saint Saens
Schubert

Awards
Best Film
director
editing
Golden Lion
Louis Delluc Award
photography
script
sound Cesars
Venice 1987

Festivals
2nd Festival on Wheels
War and Resistance