Saturday, March 25, 2006

Forbidden Games

Jeux Interdits
Robert Dorfmann
Director: Rene Clement
Length: 85 min.
Country: France
Format: DVD
Date Viewed: 15 March, 2006

Master director Samuel Fuller, who served in WWII, once discussed that when moving through towns in a war zone, the only human life left is typically the elderly and children, the latter being either abandoned in the confusion or orphaned by bombs and artillery. French director Rene Clement, his country still recovering from the war, seemed to also understand this truth, and in 1952, used it to good effect in his adaptation of Forbidden Games. There are two children in the spot-light of the film, Paulette and Michel (played by the exquisite Brigitte Fossey and Georges Poujouly), the former orphaned in the tense opening sequence, the latter belonging to a farming family who takes in the five year-old girl. Michel falls under Paulette's spell immediately, and begins to wait on her hand-and-foot. Paulette rather quickly becomes his Lady Macbeth as the two begin stealing crosses for their own pet cemetery, put together in an abandoned windmill as a way for Paulette to try and come to terms with her own parents' demise. The film as a whole is very well done and is incredibly moving, especially in the final act. The contempt for country folk shown in the film is a little off-putting, but is the film's only real flaw. Some might see the ending as too bleak, but its realism is part of the film's power - there are very few happy endings in war - as is its elliptical nature. It's the perfect ending for a fine film.


Post a Comment

<< Home