Forbidden Games

2269. FORBIDDEN GAMES (1951-France). With BRIGITTE FOSSEY. Directed and co-written by RENE CLEMENT. This brilliant allegorical film is one of the greatest ever to come out of France and deservedly earned an Academy Award as the Best Foreign Language release of 1951. Its scenario starkly mirrors the contrast between childhood innocence and the devastation of war. The setting is the French countryside during the darkest days of World War II. Young Brigitte Fossey offers an extraordinary performance as five-year-old Paulette Dolle. She has grown up in Paris, but the situaÂtion there has necessitated her evacuation to the country with her parents. Almost immediately Paulette is orphaned. She cannot quite comprehend what is going on around her and has no one to care for her. She soon wanders off into the woods and is taken in by a peasant family. Eventually she strikes up a most unusual relationship with Michel, the 11-year-old son. The two bond in a close and special way. Together they create a strange fantasy world, one which is the outgrowth of the horror in which they live. Throughout the film Clement achieves a stunningly realistic quality. His film was to greatly influence the French New Wave directors who by decade’s end were to come to the forefront of the international film Scene. From beginning to end, this film is a stunner. It opens most soberingly amid the pastoral countryside. In a lengthy and brilliantly edited sequence, a column of fleeing refugees is brutally machine-gunned by the Nazis. Your spine will shiver as little Paulette is orphaned. The final sequence depicting Palette’s eventual fate is absolutely heartbreakÂing. It ends with one of the most memorable images in all of motion picture history. In French with English subtitles. Highly recommended. 84 minutes. Drama