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on 26 January 2001
Au Revoir Les Enfants (translation: farewell/goodbye, children) is one of the best French films of recent years.
The French director Louis Malle tells us a story: that of his childhood in a Catholic boarding school during the occupation of France by Germany (Second World War). "Farewell, children" really means farewell, childhood and innocence. Louis Malle recalls the events that turned him into an adult, the faults he made, the regrets he had. The direction is faultless, the acting is excellent, the music matches.
This film won the following awards: -BAFTA Film Award: Best Direction -Bodil Festival: Best European Film -French Academy Awards: Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Editor, Best French Film, Best Production Design, Best Sound, Best Scenario -LAFCA Award: Best Foreign Language Film -Venice: Golden Lion
Warmly recommended for all audiences. Certainly one of my favourite movies.
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on 18 December 2000
Set in a time when relations between jews and other ethnical races were fraught and often dangerous, this film is an amazing example of the personal stories that lie beneath the fighting during the war. The subtitles are forgotten as you are transported into the world in which Quentin and Bonnet try to survive. This true story defects from the traditional war tales of soldiers in the trenches as the innocent and impressionable boys are left in a boarding school to deal with their feelings about the war and growing up at the same time.
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At present this Louis Malle classic is only available on BLU RAY in the States. But therein lies a problem for UK and European buyers...

The desirable US Criterion issue is REGION-A LOCKED - so it WILL NOT PLAY on most UK Blu Ray players unless they're chipped to play 'all' regions (which the vast majority aren't).
Don't confuse BLU RAY players that have multi-region capability on the 'DVD' front - that won't help.

Until such time as this 1987 French classic is given a Region B release by someone else - check your player has the capacity to play REGION A - before you buy the pricey Criterion issue...
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on 24 January 2006
It seems astonishing that this moving and beautifully crafted film is not available in the UK. However, I have managed to order the DVD of it from Amazon France. Doubtless no subtitles, but many can manage without, I'm sure.
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AU REVOIR LES ENFANTS, (1987). An unusual, but welcome, French classic in full color, this 104 minute film, a biography/drama/World War II/holocaust picture was written and directed by eminent French director Louis Malle, (ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS, ATLANTIC CITY, LACOMBE, LUCIEN, PRETTY BABY, MY DINNER WITH ANDRE), based on his own childhood experience. In 1944, as World War II rages around them, upper crust boy Julien Quentin,( played by Gaspard Manesse; the character can be read as Malle’s standin), and his brother Francois return to an expensive provincial boarding school run by priests. Julien is a smart boy, a good student, a reader and a leader, and he is up to most of the usual schoolboy tricks in the school, which seems to be a haven from the war around them. A new student, Jean Bonnet, (Raphael Fejto), obviously also smart, arrives, and for some time they are rivals. But eventually the roommates realize they have similar interests and talents, form a bond, and share secrets. Jean learns that Julien is unhappy at school and wets his bed; Julien learns that Jean is Jewish, very frightened, and simply trying to avoid the eyes of the German troops occupying France so as to survive the war.

The acting of the boys, the priests, and everyone around them is seamless, transparent. Beautifully written and filmed, this is a picture that might be unbearably sad, were it not for the fact that most of it is taken up with what I imagine is typical life at a French boys boarding school at the time, with all its horseplay and high jinks, cold water and scanty food (even at an expensive place). The crocodile, and the outdoor exercise plus wearing of short pants all through winter. The director does a good job of distracting the viewer with all this, until he is ready to tell the tragic story at its heart, which has clearly been on his mind for nearly 50 years. I would urge you to take a look at it.
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on 12 May 2003
I was introduced to this film by chance.I must say it is without doubt a film that has engaged me emotionally like no other.
If you are A-level french standard, you will be able to comfortably follow this.
You will never forget the film. Don't hesitate to buy this if you like films that make an impact emotionally and philosophically, and relish interpreting actions rather than have conclusions fed to you.
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on 14 October 2000
"Au Revoir les Enfants" is a play by Louis Malle set in France during the Second World War. The two main characters, Julien Quentin and Bonnet, his friend, are at a boarding school in the French countryside. Throughout the film, we see the two of them grow closer together, and the interactions between Quentin and Bonnet, and the two of them and the rest of the world, is sometimes heart-wrenching but always magnificently portrayed. As the film builds to its climax, I belive one can truly feel all the emotions with the characters. Although the cinematography is occassionally a little dark, and the subtitles do get a little in the way at times, the film is beautifully made, with such a powerful ending, that I would recommend anyone interested in this period of history to see it. It certainly makes me cry, every time.
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on 21 October 2004
Why why why why why? This has been one of my all-time favourite films since I first saw it when I was about 11. It is powerful, moving and elegantly filmed and acted. Why isn't it on DVD? Louis Malle is not an obscure director with a low fan-base, he is one of the best known French directors, so why isn't it on DVD? There are far too many bad/fashionably edgy foreign films available for this film of true quality to be unavailable on DVD.
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on 8 February 2002
All has been said about the film that can be said - a true cinematic masterpiece from one of the greatest directors in history. As in Le Souffle Au Coeur and Lacombe Lucien, Malle inspires the most incredible acting from non-professional child actors. The ending is particularly gut-wrenching, more than any British or American war film one could ever hope to see.
The video, by contrast, is something of a disappointment, as the subtitles have clearly been written by an American. This is in no way xenophobic, but the odd US spelling or nuance can be offputting to the British viewer. Add to this the dreadful error of misspelling the word "Auschwitz" at the most moving part of the film and one is left with a rather unfavourable impression of the caption writer.
In brief, I wholeheartedly agree with all the positive comments regarding the quality of the film, but must disagree with the reviewer who claims that one does not notice the subtitles - this is where the video for me falls short.
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on 30 March 2015
Not playable on EU equipment. Requested refund.
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