Au revoir
Home ] Up ]

Oral Presentations Semester Schedule Syllabus Movies Directors Actors Vocabulary Discussion Questions History of French Cinema Other Resources Online Grades Cinema 2 Course

 

Goodbye children

Synopsis

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

Director

Louis Malle

Child Actors

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

Year

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

Length

103 min

Awards

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

Discussion

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
http://www.filmref.com/directors/dirpages/malle.html

 

Website designed and maintained by Barbara Vigano, Prof. emeritus of French, Mt. San Antonio College