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Goodbye children


Autobiographical film set in January 1944. The German occupation as seen through the eyes of children. Julien, 11 years old, is a student in a Catholic boarding school because it is too dangerous to live in Paris. One day, a new student, Jean Bonnet arrives. He is an outstanding student, reserved and seems to have something to hide. Julien and Jean become friends. 

Background Information

Second World War, Occupation and Resistance, Vichy Government, Marechal Petain, Leon Blum


Louis Malle

Child Actors

Julien, Jean, François (Julien's brother), Joseph (works in the kitchen)


1987 (Malle had wanted to make this autobiographical film earlier, but could not face the painful memories)


103 min


1987, Golden Lion for Best Foreign Film at the Venice Film Festival
1988, 2 Cesars,  for Best Film and for Best Director
1988, Nominated for Oscar for Best Foreign Movie
1988, Nominated for Golden Globe for Best Foreign Movie


1. German occupation in France
2. The Resistance in France
3. Describe the different stages of the relationship between Julien and Jean
4. Fear is a constant theme in the movie. Who is afraid? Of whom?
5. Are all the French in the movie good? Are all the Germans in the movie bad?
6. Who is responsible for Jean's arrest?
7. Who is the main character in the first scene and in the last scene of the movie? Why?
8. Do you think that the child actors were conscious of the seriousness of the subject of the film? 
9. Is it possible for today's children to understand the film?
10.  Julien states at one point, during the treasure hunt in the forest: "It's incredible that I am the only one here who thinks about death." Is he?
11. Julien asks: "What do they have against Jews?" What are the different answers?

Related Websites

Le Chambon: A whole French community helped to save Jews


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