Jeux Interdits, 1952
Games is a simple, yet deeply affecting
story about loss and the ravages of war. Filmed from the perspective
of children, René Clément juxtaposes the innocence of youth with the
insight of maturity. The result is a powerful and unrelenting film
that operates on a purely visceral level - from the haunting theme
to the heartbreaking conclusion. Paulette (Brigitte Fossey), a Parisian
girl orphaned during an air raid, retrieves her dead dog from the
river, and in the process, gets lost. Michel (Georges Poujouly), a
young boy searching for an errant calf, finds her, and takes her home
to his family's farm. There is an immediate bond between them, and
the children quickly become friends: Paulette, lonely and afraid,
and Georges, protective and kind. But the pastoral life proves no
more idyllic than occupied Paris, and soon, death takes its toll.
Imitating the burial ritual of the adults around them, the children
build a crude memorial to honor the dead (a theme similarly developed
in Francois Truffaut's The
Green Room). It is through their eyes that we cannot see the impossibility
of things. It is through our own perspective that we understand the
hopelessness of their situation. Forbidden
Games is a bittersweet film that shows the
devastation of war by touching an emotional cord, without the visual
Clément uses a
narrative style of filming. There are few, if any, cinematic tricks
used in the film. The shots are minimalist, direct, and unflinching.
Consequently, the film seems journalistic or documentary in style.
He presents his visual argument without prejudice, and we, as observers,
bring our own life experiences into the analysis of its meaning. The
effect is intensely personal, emotionally devastating, and truly unforgettable.
© Acquarello 1998. All rights
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