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Forbidden Games

Top French Movies

Forbidden Games, a powerful war drama seen through the eyes of children

Forbidden Games (Jeux Interdits); 1952

The terrors of war seen through the eyes of young children can be hard to stomach. But this black-and-white masterpiece from 1952 creates a sense of magic and matter-of-factness at the same time. The magic stems from the dark games played by young Paulette, who loses both her parents and pet dog during a bomb attack, and the eleven-year-old country boy Michel whom she meets. Both coping with death and loss, the two create their own little bubble when they start a pet cemetery where they bury other animals and decorate with stolen crosses. The matter-of-factness comes from the quiet, detached, very child-like way these kids deal with the cruelty of World War II, and the betrayal of adults. Truffaut deplored this film as too old school, as "cinema du papa." But we find the silent grittiness of the cinematography and the haunting music of Spanish guitarist Narciso Yepes quite modern.


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