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Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987) 
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Post Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987)
I mentioned this film years ago, but the forum's makeup has changed a lot since so I'll ask again. Has anyone here seen this film by Louis Malle? First of all, I should quickly mention that Malle was a fantastic director and doesn't get nearly the credit he deserves. And with that said, Au Revoir Les Enfants is truly his magnum opus. It's the only movie I've seen since getting serious about films (2004) that has made me sob. Not merely tear up, mind you, but deep, thorough sobbing.

The story of a Jewish boy brought to hide in a French Catholic school during World War II, it's pretty terrific for the first 95 minutes just as a detailed, touching and tender depiction of the friendship that develops between the Jewish boy (Jean) and his Catholic schoolmate Julien. But then in the last 10 minutes...

[Reveal] Spoiler:
The Nazis come looking for Jean and Julien accidentally gives him away, taking a poorly-timed glance at his friend and revealing that he's the Jew hiding in the school. They take Jean away, along with their teacher (whose final, devastating words -- "Goodbye children" -- form the title) and then Jean looks back and Julien gives him this flickering little wave. A voice comes on to the soundtrack and it reveals itself as the director's -- we realize that this is HIS story, that he was Julien. He says that Jean died at Auschwitz, and that he remembers that moment every day of his life and will remember it every day until he dies.


And it's so sad! But such a movie.

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Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:40 pm
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Post Re: Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987)
I'll take this thread's response as a sign that I shouldn't start a thread on political and cult films from the 60's and 70's.

I loved the movie, too, James. Although a thread repeat works, this one (http://www.reelviews.net/reelviewsforum ... 72&start=0) captured most of what I wanted to say. One of the best films I've seen based on a Reelviewer recommendation.

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Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:35 pm
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Post Re: Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987)
Mark III wrote:
I'll take this thread's response as a sign that I shouldn't start a thread on political and cult films from the 60's and 70's.

I loved the movie, too, James. Although a thread repeat works, this one (http://www.reelviews.net/reelviewsforum ... 72&start=0) captured most of what I wanted to say. One of the best films I've seen based on a Reelviewer recommendation.


Thanks for commenting Mark. I remembered our wonderful conversation over the film and was hoping I might be able to get a few new members in. Guess not

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Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:23 pm
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Post Re: Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987)
One of the most tragic films I have ever seen and one of the only ones deserving of its tears. I'd say this ranks with Apocalypse Now, Come and See and Platoon as one of the best war films I've ever seen even though its nothing like those films.

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Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:44 pm
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Post Re: Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987)
JamesKunz wrote:
Mark III wrote:
I'll take this thread's response as a sign that I shouldn't start a thread on political and cult films from the 60's and 70's.

I loved the movie, too, James. Although a thread repeat works, this one (http://www.reelviews.net/reelviewsforum ... 72&start=0) captured most of what I wanted to say. One of the best films I've seen based on a Reelviewer recommendation.


Thanks for commenting Mark. I remembered our wonderful conversation over the film and was hoping I might be able to get a few new members in. Guess not


It's too bad because it's a great movie and full of the stuff that leads to much e-hugging and cups of tea shared over diverse topics.

Maybe if we started a Reelviews file-sharing system, people would have an electronic copy of Au Revoir to call their own. Terrible idea. Entirely possible, easy-to-do terrible idea.

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Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:53 am
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Post Re: Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987)
I've always hesitated on viewing this. Not because I have any doubt that it's great, but because I had the ending spoiled for me. It was during my final semester as an undergraduate at ASU, and I was taking a Holocaust In Film class. The film wasn't part of the required viewings for the class, but at the end of the semester each student got to pick one film outside the curriculum to base a presentation around. I ended up going with Night And Fog, while another student went with Au Revoir Les Enfants. As part of the presentation, each student was allowed to screen a little bit of the film for the class, and when it was the turn for the presentation of Au Revoir Les Enfants, the student decided to show the ending. Taken out of context, in a room of 25 or so other students, the ending didn't carry the same weight I assume it would have had one watched the whole thing in a proper setting. You could tell that there was material of tremendous power there, but in such a detached viewing environment the overall effect was muted. As a consequence, I've never really felt the desire to view the film in its entirety.

I'm going to change that soon though, as I have a copy reserved at my library. Now that a few years have passed since that class, and after seeing this thread and its need for support, I feel like it's finally time for me to watch it all the way through.

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Post Re: Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987)
Welcome to the club, Blondey.

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Sat Nov 17, 2012 3:58 am
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Post Re: Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987)
Blonde Almond wrote:
I've always hesitated on viewing this. Not because I have any doubt that it's great, but because I had the ending spoiled for me. It was during my final semester as an undergraduate at ASU, and I was taking a Holocaust In Film class. The film wasn't part of the required viewings for the class, but at the end of the semester each student got to pick one film outside the curriculum to base a presentation around. I ended up going with Night And Fog, while another student went with Au Revoir Les Enfants. As part of the presentation, each student was allowed to screen a little bit of the film for the class, and when it was the turn for the presentation of Au Revoir Les Enfants, the student decided to show the ending. Taken out of context, in a room of 25 or so other students, the ending didn't carry the same weight I assume it would have had one watched the whole thing in a proper setting. You could tell that there was material of tremendous power there, but in such a detached viewing environment the overall effect was muted. As a consequence, I've never really felt the desire to view the film in its entirety.

I'm going to change that soon though, as I have a copy reserved at my library. Now that a few years have passed since that class, and after seeing this thread and its need for support, I feel like it's finally time for me to watch it all the way through.


I completely know how you feel though. I remember this feeling after Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments ruined the end of The Wicker Man for me. On one hand, now I wanted to see the movie. On the other hand, I really didn't, because I knew where it was heading

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Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:41 am
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Post Re: Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987)
Blonde Almond wrote:
I've always hesitated on viewing this. Not because I have any doubt that it's great, but because I had the ending spoiled for me.


You know, the ending of "Au Revoir Les Enfants" isn't even the most important thing about it. It gives the movie an extra dimension, for sure, but even if you know what's happening in the end you will stil find it a very powerful and great film. There are so many things it does so well, such as portraying life in a Catholic boarding school, the inner conflict of the priests (when was the last time you have seen a generaly sympathetic depiction of the Catholic Church in a movie that wasn't about exorcism) or the presentation of the German soldiers and the French Nazi henchmen not as monsters (even "Schindler's List" doesn't get this right) but as real persons acting in a very specific situation.


Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:32 am
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Post Re: Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987)
I must admit I haven't seen it in years, but I really, really loved this film. I need to revisit it pronto.

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