7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A beautiful movie,
This review is from: Au Revoir Les Enfants [VHS] (VHS Tape)
The setting is a private school for the rich run by Catholic monks in France; the time is January 1944. The story is about how 2 boys become friends, and how one, who is of a rich Paris family, learns that the other is Jewish. One day the Gestapo comes and the Jewish boy is arrested, along with the head of the school who had been hiding him there. Louis Malle, who wrote and directed the movie, said that this is based on a true story in his own childhood, and it is faithfully, even lovingly, produced - yet this parochial French setting during the Nazi occupation seems so strange and different it might have taken place on another planet. Though not much happens - the boys attend classes (in freezing rooms), fight with one another, attend church, exercise, etc. - one's interest never flags. This is mainly for two reasons: it IS so different (the boys sleep in one big dormitory room, they bathe at the public baths in town, their game of war on stilts, the wild boar in the woods, the monks in bare feet); and the tension that builds as we slowly learn of the Jewish boy and then the scene with "collaborators" in a restaurant, and then the final outrage with the Gestapo barging in on the school - it happens so subtly yet inevitably that we can't but feel morally outraged and moved at the end. An excellent film; it's also beautifully photographed. Definitely worth a watch.