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Au Revoir Les Enfants

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Au Revoir Les Enfants

Current Status:
In Season
104 minutes
Raphael Fejto, Gaspard Manesse, Irene Jacob
Louis Malle
Louis Malle
Drama, Foreign Language

We gave it an A

Louis Malle’s irresistible autobiographical tearjerker takes place at a Catholic boarding school in occupied France, where a Jewish boy named Bonnet (Fejtö) is hiding out to dodge the Nazis. At first he spars with another bookish lad (Manesse, as the director’s alter ego); gradually, they become best friends. Malle’s style, understated and unsentimental, is what makes the finale — which turns on a misbegotten glance from one character to another — so sad and potent. EXTRAS Sparse on the single disc. Fans should pick up the new four-disc boxed set that also includes Malle’s frisky Murmur of the Heart (which Noah Baumbach has said influenced The Squid and the Whale) and the lushly shot Lacombe, Lucien. On the supplemental disc, Malle’s widow, Candice Bergen, admits that he returned to France to make Au Revoir because he was devastated by the poor reception of his American flops Crackers and Alamo Bay; in another interview, Malle biographer Pierre Billard claims that Malle actually never knew the real Bonnet was Jewish.