Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Au revoir, les enfants

(France/West Germany, 1987)

Louis Malle was one of the greats, and he made films in both French and English. This one is autobiographical, and recounts his time in a Catholic school in occupied France, when he was eleven. The priest (one of the good ones) is sheltering three Jewish boys under assumed names. The protagonist, Julien, figures this out, and eventually they become friends. But the Gestapo arrives and finds them all, taking them away along with Father Jean/Père. A final narration tells us that all three boys died at Auschwitz, and the priest at Mauthausen.

This is an excellent film, highly recommended. It was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Oscar, but lost to Babette’s Feast. That was a good call. Lee and I totally adore Babette’s Feast.

It’s getting harder and harder for me to watch films like this, since as soon as I see Gestapo and SS my blood starts to boil. My hatred for them has no bounds. Why we didn’t kill them all at the end of the War is beyond me. But there’s another group who were dealt with more appropriately, in my view. They were called the Milice, and they were an organization of French collaborators with the Vichy puppet government of despicable traitors that the Resistance feared more than the Germans. There is very little in this world slimier than a collaborator against one’s country. When the War was over the lucky ones went to prison. The somewhat less lucky had been drafted into the Waffen-SS, where I hope they died screaming. But the majority were executed on the spot, to which I say, Bravo!