Au revoir, les enfants

Au revoir les enfants (Goodbye, Children) is a French autobiography produced, written and directed by Louis Malle. The story follows Julien Quentin in France, a student in 1943. He attends Carmelite boarding school and has just returned from vacation. While he has a tough exterior, he is actually a mama’s boy. He doesn’t want to return to school but manages to make a new friend named Bonnet.

Julien wakes up one night to discover that his new friend Bonnet is praying in Hebrew. He learns while sorting through his locker that Bonnet is really Jean Kippelstein.

On parent’s day, Julien's mother visits and he asks if Bonnet could come along, since his parents could not come. While sitting in a gourmet restaurant, the police arrive during their meal and try to remove a diner who is Jewish.

The Gestapo raids the school in January of 1944. As the classroom is searched, Julien looks in the direction of Bonnet and the focus goes upon him. As they hunt down the other two Jewish kids, Julien finds a person who first denounced them. The kitchen hand, Joseph, tries to justify his betrayal by telling Julien that it is all due to the war.

While students line up in the school yard, an officer from the Gestapo addresses the illegality of Priest Pere Jean's actions. He says that all French people are undisciplined and weak. Pere Jean is led away with the three Jewish kids. Their hearts broken, the kids yell Au revoir, mon pere! Pere Jean then answers, Au revoir, les enfants!

Then it is disclosed that Julien - after forty years has never forgotten that terrible day and that it had a huge impact on his life. All of the kids who were led away soon died at Auschwitz. Pere Jean was jailed with all the other priests with anti-Nazi ideals. He spent time in the Mauthausen Gusen concentration camp and died very soon after he was released.

PG
| 1987 | 1 hr 44 min | 8.0/10
Cast
Gaspard Manesse, Raphael Fejtö, Francine Racette, Stanislas Carré de Malberg
Studio
Criterion Collection
Director
Louis Malle, Renato Berta
Language
English
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Au revoir, les enfants
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Trailer "Arrivederci Ragazzi (Au Revoir Les Enfants)" - Louis Malle|1:59

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