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Au Revoir les Enfants(Au revoir les enfants)

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

France, West Germany, Italy

1987

Rated PG • 1h 45m

Director Louis Malle

Starring Gaspard Manesse, Raphael Fejtö, Francine Racette, Stanislas Carré de Malberg

Genre Drama, War

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The heartbreaking story of friendship and loss concerning two boys living in Nazi-occupied France. At a Catholic boarding school, the precocious youths enjoy true camaraderie—until a secret is revealed. Based on events from writer-director Malle’s own childhood, this moving film is a subtle, precisely observed tale of courage, cowardice, and tragic awakening.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

80

Time Out by

Crisply photographed and directed with understated grace, the film can feel a little standoffish given the emotive subject matter. But with strong performances from the young leads and a vice-like air of mounting tension, it’s well worth revisiting.
60

Washington Post by Desson Thomson

By many other directors' standards, Au Revoir would be a major achievement. But Malle has reached higher. If he'd made his childhood movie earlier in his career -- when he didn't have the sense to be so dispassionate -- it might have packed a meatier punch. Now it's just a deftly aimed poke.
100

CineVue by Martyn Conterio

William Faulkner once made the sage point that “the past is never dead. It’s not even past.” Louis Malle’s Golden Lion winner Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987) is a Second World War-set film very much guided in spirit by the US novelist’s musing on the febrile relationship between memory, time and individual and collective histories.
100

The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw

It remains breathtakingly good. There is a miraculous, unforced ease and naturalness in the acting and direction; it is classic movie storytelling in the service of important themes.
100

Chicago Sun-Times by Roger Ebert

The film was written and directed by Louis Malle, who based it on a childhood memory. Judging by the tears I saw streaming down his face on the night the film was shown at the Telluride Film Festival, the memory has caused him pain for many years.
100

The New York Times by Vincent Canby

It's a work that has the kind of simplicity, ease and density of detail that only a film maker in total command of his craft can bring off, and then only rarely.

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