Forbidden Games (4 stars)

Forbidden Games

DVD release of Rene Clement's beautiful but melancholy film sheds light on the director's career

Despite picking up an Oscar (Best Foreign Language Film), a BAFTA and the Golden Lion in Venice on release in 1952, Forbidden Games has slipped off the radar. It’s unsurprising in some ways as it’s a beautiful but melancholy film.

Fleeing war torn Paris in 1940, Paulette’s (Brigitte Fossey) parents are killed in a hail of gunfire. She’s taken in by local farmers and instantly strikes up a strong relationship with Michel (Georges Poujouly).

This might seem like a cute tale of triumph over adversity but the main theme is the comprehension and acceptance of death in a child’s mind. Boasting wonderful, believable performances from the two young leads the pair become obsessed with burying animals and stealing crosses, mixing half formed thoughts of superstition, magic and religion. What should be an idealistic rural life is corrupted by the grim realities of war.

Also released are Gervaise (1956), The Deadly Trap (1971) and And Hope to Die (1972) shedding light on the work of much overlooked French director René Clément.

Jeux interdits (1952)

Les Jeux Interdits (Forbidden Games)

  • 4 stars
  • 1952
  • France
  • 1h 42min
  • PG
  • Directed by: Réné Clement
  • Cast: Brigitte Fossey, Georges Poujouly, Amedee.

It is 1940, and as refugees flee from the Nazis, an orphaned young girl and the small son of the peasant family who take her in build a cemetery for animals together. Direct and moving exploration of the effects of war on children, which benefits immeasurably from completely natural performances from the two children.