No. 65: Au Revoir Les Enfants
Bad endings in Occupied France
1987, dir. Louis Malle. Julien Quentin is Louis Malle’s alter ego in this semi-autobiographical film about a boys’ Catholic boarding school in Occupied France in January 1944. At first hostile to Jean Bonnet, a mysterious new student, Julian grows curious and slowly sympathetic to him when he learns Jean hasn’t seen his mother in two years and then figures out why. Viewers know it won’t end well for Jean, and Malle depicts their friendship—as well as the growing tension and tragedy—vividly, with respect, pathos, and restraint.