'Au revoir les enfants' - Movie Review

"Au revoir les enfants" is now regarded as one of the classics of cinema. It's a semi-autobiographical tale by the director, Louis Malle, who grew up in France during the Second World War. The story is about Julien Quentin (Gaspard Manesse), who at the beginning of the film is returning to boarding school. He's one of the school's hellraisers, but we first see him as a pampered Momma's boy. At his Roman Catholic school, one of the new students is Jean Bonnet (Raphaël Fejtö), who turns out to be a Jew that the priests are hiding. This is a big risk in the middle of occupied France.

The movie plays out as a series of vignettes, scenes from their day-to-day life at the school. There's zero effort to join the scenes together. This lack of continuity made the film a fairly bumpy ride, and somewhat uninvolving. By the end you have a pretty good picture of who everyone is, and where they stand in the world ... just in time for the inevitable tragedy that made this period of his life so memorable to Malle.

It's a window on a particular place and period in time, and in the end a fairly good movie, but if we set aside the awe and the horror that surrounds the circumstances and just look at it as a movie ... I just don't get the respect it gets. It's a good movie, but I didn't feel like it qualified as a great movie.