Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Olde Review: Forbidden Games

This Saturday's ASUW films in 130 Kane at 7:30pm are the last of the Fall series, and they are Rene Clement's "Forbidden Games" and Kon Ichikawa's "Fires on the Plains." They look at the effects of war on children and men.

"Forbidden Games" aka "Jeux Interdits" (René Clément, 1952) is a story of children in the midst of World War II. And for an anti-war film, there is very little war to be seen—at the beginning, a few strafing planes that rip through a line of fleeing Parisiennes, that leaves the young female protagonist an orphan. But the bloodshed is kept to a minimum, for the war is important only in a roundabout way; it's the two children in this story, and the family that surrounds them that are important. "Forbidden Games" is a film that is rich in allegory, but also rich in humor, and rich in a sort of melancholy attitude to the tarnished innocence of the children and the petty arguments of their elders. It's a film that, because of its nature, will lose something of its message, if you don't come across it yourself. So, suffice it to say that you will be left thinking about it, and thanking for it, for quite some time.

Broadcast on KCMU-FM on December 6th and 7th, 1976

Well, that's about as generic a review as one can write...and still have seen the film. That the saddest thing in the film is the kids' shortened childhood, and their melancholy embracing of the responsibilities of adulthood and attitude to death makes it that rare war film that deals exclusively with collateral damage and the effects of the anonymous warfare ripping apart the lives of others. The little girl, Brigitte Fossey, who was five when this was filmed, went on to have a long career in films--you probably saw her in "Cinema Paradiso."

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