Surgeon Carlo Spagnolli returns to Uganda to visit the places where his career started, hospitals founded and still continued by courageous men and women, in a country which suffered ... See full summary »
A French boarding school run by priests seems to be a haven from World War II until a new student arrives. He becomes the roommate of top student in his class. Rivals at first, the roommates form a bond and share a secret.
A girl of perhaps five or six is orphaned in an air raid while fleeing a French city with her parents early in World War II. She is befriended by a pre-adolescent peasant boy after she wandered away from the other refugees, and is taken in for a few weeks by his family. The children become fast friends, and the film follows their attempt to assimilate the deaths they both face, and the religious rituals surrounding those deaths, through the construction of a cemetery for all sorts of animals. Child-like and adult activity are frequently at cross-purposes, however. Written by
Doug Shafer <email@example.com>
When Michel is teaching Paulette prayers, his father boxes his right ear which Michel starts to rub with his right hand. In the close up, Michel is rubbing his left ear with his left hand, and in the next distant shot he's again rubbing his right ear with his right hand. See more »
There are two alternate opening credits:The main credit starts with a story book and a female hand opens the book to reveal the credits. The alternate still has the same book but this time we are introduced to the two main characters who are sitting by a lake. In this version, Michel's hand is turning the page and in between the scenes he tells Paulette that he's going to tell a story. See more »
This is Rene Clement's most celebrated and arguably best film despite being only the fifth film of his I have watched; for the record, I also have CHE GIOIA VIVERE (1960) on VHS and IS Paris BURNING? (1966) on DVD and would certainly like to catch up with a few others, especially LES MAUDITS (1947), GERVAISE (1956) and AND HOPE TO DIE (1972).
Apparently, FORBIDDEN GAMES only became a feature film after Jacques Tati's encouragement and, if so, one needs to be grateful to him as the film is one of the most poignant (and controversial) depictions of childhood innocence on film and its influence is evident in later similarly-themed films like Philip Leacock's INNOCENT SINNERS (1958). Clement opens his film with a harrowing and totally realistic air-raid sequence but proceeds with a charming and humorous depiction of simple farm life which revolves around the household, church and cemetery; the latter two settings, in fact, host two of the film's most entertaining sequences. Of course, the paradox of the children's love for animals and the need to populate their secret cemetery (and utilizing stolen crosses no less) is only the direct result of the children's impossibility of grasping the world around them: the children's cruelty to animals (the boy's stabbing of a cockroach with a pen, for example) is just as sensible to him as the barrage of bombs which the "civilized" adults throw at each other day in day out.
The remarkable performances by the two young children (Brigitte Fossey and Georges Poujouly) are certainly among the finest of their kind but the film also takes care to offer eccentric characters for its relatively unknown ensemble cast to sink their teeth in, including an early role for familiar character actor Jacques Marin as the ill-fated Georges, whose untimely death has a pivotal bearing on the film's plot. To top it all, FORBIDDEN GAMES is blessed by a haunting guitar score by Narciso Yepes.
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