Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Les Petits Bastardes

The Incredible Suit is part of The Cineastes, a group of bloggers who review a film a month and link blogs in the hope of spreading the word of whatever it is we’re on about. September’s film is L’Enfance Nue, directed by Maurice Pialat in 1968.

The lovely folks at LoveFilm failed to send me a copy of L’Enfance Nue in time, so this article is based entirely, and rather fatuously, on the poster and trailer for the film. It might be best to watch the trailer before reading any further, otherwise this post is going to make even less sense than all my others. And that’s saying something.


If you were to base your opinion of L’Enfance Nue entirely on its poster, you may believe it to be about two boys; one who’s incredibly smug because he’s stolen his grandad’s war medals, and another who intends to wipe that silly grin off his face by lobbing a Twix bar at him. Only one Twix bar, mind – the other he’s saving to give to a girl in exchange for a glimpse of her jumper bumpers.

However, having closely studied the trailer, it’s clear that medal theft and justice by confectionery-hurling is but one small aspect of this complex work of art.

A young scallywag – let’s call him Pierre – has got himself involved with a rum crowd of tinkers who force him to drop a cat down a stairwell as part of an initiation ceremony to their gang, Les Petits Bastardes. But all Pierre wants is to act out scenes from his favourite movies. He takes a girl to the countryside to educate her about the finer points of Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd and its throat-slashing fun, but she’s unimpressed. In fact she slaps Pierre before falling over for no apparent reason.

After overhearing an adult conversation about how great Forrest Gump was, Pierre attempts to run across France in an attempt to emulate the legendary simpleton. When he reaches his destination he celebrates by kicking a door down in the style of Jack Nicholson in The Shining, but he’s captured by grown-ups and plonked on the next train back to wherever he came from. Probably Paris.

On the journey he thinks about all the great movies that have featured trains, such as Strangers On A Train, North By Northwest and From Russia With Love. Pierre even attempts to recreate the famous James Bond / Red Grant fight on the Orient Express by paying a bigger boy to whack him across the chops with a pair of dirty underpants.

Back at school, Pierre is given a small child in an orange turtle neck to look after. Tragically the child reminds Pierre of Steve Buscemi’s character from Fargo, and Pierre promptly feeds the boy into a woodchipper (not shown in the trailer). The End.

The moral of the story is a universal one: Never trust LoveFilm to get a DVD to you on time.

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You can read the rest of The Cineastes’ reviews of L'Enfance Nue by clicking their links below:

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