Forbidden Games (The Criterion Collection)
A timeless evocation of the loss of innocence, René Cléments devastating Forbidden Games tells the story of a young orphan and her friend forced to fend for themselves in World War II France. Featuring brilliant performances from its child stars, the film won the 1952 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film and remains a singular, breathtaking cinematic achievement.
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : s_medNotRated Unrated (Not Rated)
- Product Dimensions : 7.5 x 5.5 x 0.75 inches; 4.48 Ounces
- Director : René Clément
- Media Format : Black & White, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
- Run time : 1 hour and 26 minutes
- Release date : December 6, 2005
- Actors : Georges Poujouly, Brigitte Fossey, Amédée, Laurence Badie, Madeleine Barbulée
- Subtitles: : English
- Producers : Robert Dorfmann
- Studio : Criterion
- ASIN : B000BC8SWE
- Writers : François Boyer, Jean Aurenche, Pierre Bost, René Clément
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #25,302 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
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I checked if I could find a good copy of the movie which I was able to get
I saw the film and I wasn’t disappointment .It was very beautiful.
The main characters: Paulette and Michel played by Brigitte Fossey and Georges Poujouly respectively were very successful in their roles as well as the rest of the cast.
During a German bombing in Second War World Paulette, a 5 years old girl and her parents were running for their life, both parents were killed and her dog was hurt dying some moment later. She met Michel, a boy a few years older than her who brought her to his house and protected her until she is separated from him. During the short time they were together they started burying little animals and with stolen crosses they make a small cemetery in an abandon barn, as a result they developed a very strong a beautiful relationship.
The music:”Romance”played by Narciso Yepes, which I was very familiar with is lovely, sad and melancholy and has an important effect in the movie.
The direction by Rene Clement was outstanding.
The copy from a film from 1952 could’t be better.
On the surface, if you disregard everything said above, the film is still beautiful and haunting. The charming little kids play their "secret" games. Games that would be macabre if they themselves were not so young and innocent to realize it. (Is the boy really that young and innocent?) One thing that makes me think, after watching the interview to the director in the extras, was that he intended to have as the little girl star an older gilr, more 9 or 11 than 5 years old as she was. Well, that would have made a lot of difference. The ambivalence wouldn't have been so; I mean, what is underlying now would actually be the meaning of the story.
In any case, the little kids do their parts wonderfully as I haven't seen in any movie with kids until now. The cinematography is gorgeous, the guitar (splendid 'Gardens of Aranjuez by Rodrigo) music is enchanting and the overall mixture of tragicomedy and macabre allegory is really haunting. I did not like the ending very much, though, but I can't come up with a good way to end the story but abruptly, since it has such an oneiric quality about it.
Another important thing is that if you focus too much on the two little leading stars you are going to miss a lot of other imprtant things going on. Every character (& groups of characters) is worth attention and study. A great film.
The acoustics of a lute plucking an ancient and playful tune accompanied by a hand thumbing through the opening credits in a book launches Forbidden Games. It triggers the atmosphere of an innocent fairy tale, but it is not a fairy tale in the modern sense. Instead, the film delivers a darker and much grimmer story similar to those of the Brothers Grimm. As the final page of the book is turned, a caravan of cars, people, and other vehicles in a great hurry struggles to cross a river on a narrow bridge when a large number of Luftwaffe's death messengers begin to attack the escaping Parisians. In the middle of the fleeing convoy, a family with the daughter Paulette (Brigitte Fossey) and the dog Jock are stuck, as the car just broke down. In panic, people push the broken car out the way, as the father and mother witness their situation worsening.
With the car broken and off the road, the family has no other choice than to continue on foot across the bridge while the aerial war machines attempt to kill everything that moves. Amidst the chaos, Jock runs off crossing the bridge with the little Paulette chasing him. In terror, both the mother and father run after Paulette, and halfway across the bridge the parents throws themselves over Paulette protecting her from the bullets cutting through the air. When Paulette opens her eyes, both parents rest peacefully next to her on the dusty gravel road, as they have been pierced by large caliber machinegun shots. Carefully, Paulette studies her mom, as if she were sleeping. It is evident that the situation is foreign to her. The scene's culmination arrives when she notices Jock twitching uncharacteristically; as the poor dog's nerves send their final twitches through its limbs.
The bridge scene presents powerful and gripping symbolism in multiple ways. For example, the scene suggests that Paulette is still unaware of life's mysteries, as when she reaches the bridge's midpoint. However, it is clear that she notices that there is something unusual with the situation, as she begins her journey across. Her reaction to the situation indicates that something new is happening, as she appears somewhat stunned to the gruesome event. It is not until a small wagon pulled by the old man picks up Paulette that she learns about Jock's condition when an old woman tells her that the dog is dead. Innocently, she responds, "It's dead." as the woman tosses the corpse into the river underneath the bridge. It is seems as if she has heard about death before, but is also apparent that she oblivious of the meaning of death. All the audience can do is sit and watch in sorrow, as the little girl fetches the dead Jock out of the shallow river.
Many people usually discuss death with their children at some point in their lives, but when Paulette recently became an orphan, she no longer has the luxury of being educated in the mysteries of life by her parents. Instead, she embraces the departed Jock while her footsteps aimlessly lead her into the woods. More symbolism surfaces here through the aimless wandering in the forest, which suggests that she is facing some confusion in the new situation. Nonetheless, the wandering also symbolically implies that she is wrestling with the idea of death. Her drifting eventually leads her to the farm boy Michel Dolle (Georges Poujouly) who brings her to his family.
In a crude and tactless manner, the poor Dolle family welcomes Paulette, as they seem more troubled with the basic needs than providing shelter for the little girl. Nonetheless, the Dolles takes the little girl in, as they quickly begin to school her in the farm life. It is a lifestyle that many might find unusual; some might even go as far as advocating that it is outlandish. It is a straightforward no-nonsense approach without any pretense of what ultimately will happen to all living beings, as death belongs to the everyday routine on a farm. It is not that the family is not concerned with death, but how they deal with it. The family's pragmatic approach to death feels awkwardly insensitive that brings thoughts of people being uncivilized, selfish, and immoral. Much of this sentiment emerges through the son Michel when he provides Paulette with what she desires.
The combination of catechism, word of mouth by the Dolles, and Michel's willingness to support of Paulette's newly acquired ideas begin to form a bizarre concept of death. Meanwhile, there is no safeguarding of what might seem appropriate and inappropriate, which allows the Michel and Paulette do whatever they want. It leads to the two starting a morbid game that has its roots in Paulette's unguided discovery of death. She has developed her own idea that Jock should not rest alone in the little grave. Without much thought, Michel provides all the help he can, as his childish infatuation with Paulette motivates him to do whatever it takes to ease her newly found agony. It leads the story into a ghastly direction that stains the basic notion of children's innocence, but it also provides an intriguing proposition of how children learn from their environment.
René Clément breaks the taboo of death and children by telling this story, but he does it tactfully and brilliantly through clever symbolism and remarkable scene framing. What truly emerges in the film is the corruption of innocence, a concept that Clément shows through ignorance and feverish emotions. In addition, he proposes that children display their view of the world through play. Furthermore, children learn from those around them, as they begin to reflect on their own experiences. Ultimately, it provides the foundation of a child's world perspective, and they begin to form their own ideas with or without guidance - sometimes these children are misled.