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Jeux Interdits (Forbidden Games)

Jeux Interdits (Forbidden Games) (1952)


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Release Date: Jan 1, 1952 Wide



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Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 3,386

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Movie Info

One of the first films to see the horrors of war through the eyes of children, Forbidden Games was a critical smash, winning prizes from the New York Film Critics, the British Academy, and the Venice Film Festival. Adapted by Francois Boyer, director Rene Clement, and two others from Boyer's novel, the story focuses on Paulette (Brigitte Fossey), a five-year-old refugee from Paris taken in by a peasant family after her parents are killed during a bombardment of a civilian convoy. Michel Dolle

Dec 6, 2005

Times Film Corporation

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All Critics (14) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (9) | Rotten (0) | DVD (3)

Rene Clement's 1944 adaptation of Francois Boyer's novel is an exquisitely unsentimental movie about the corruptive effect of war on children.

April 19, 2009 Full Review Source: | Comment (1)

The film has lost its initial power over time and now looks too contrived to be a masterpiece.

September 4, 2008 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

This touching film, winner of the Venice Festival award, draws us deeply into the secret world of haunted by death children, in post- WWII Europe where, among other "games," they build a cemetry for dead animals.

December 12, 2005 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Perhaps not until Ponette in 1996 had another movie looked so closely at how death might be absorbed through the eyes of a small child.

December 7, 2005 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

It's difficult to fault a film that scrutinizes the veracity of childhood with such clarity.

December 4, 2005 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

powerful filmmaking in more ways than one, a story of innocence lost that you won't soon forget

November 23, 2005 Full Review Source:

Strange, compelling offbeat drama about a war orphan with a morbid fixation.

November 20, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for Jeux Interdits (Forbidden Games)

Forbidden Games is as heartbreaking as it gets. It really does show the horrors of war seen through the eyes of children. I thought that it slumped a bit in the third quarter, there is an unnecessary element of humour where the simple 'peasant' family are concerned but the last seen is as sad as the first, haunting, beautiful and hard to forget. It's shocking, tender, sad, heartbreaking and heartwarming, to produce all of these emotions in just one film takes a true master of cinema and that is exactly what Lucien Hubert was. Highly recommended for all.
February 15, 2013

Super Reviewer

Two children bond over creating a pet cemetery during WWII.
The first fifteen minutes of this film are more effective than most blood-and-guts, modern-day war films. Focusing on the cavalcade of refugees and a little girl and her pet, director Rene Clement personalizes war that post-modern filmmakers balk from. The rest of the film follows Paulette, played with all the sweet innocence in the world by five-year-old Brigitte Fossey, and her friendship with Michel, a boy who lives on a farm. The children attempt to hold on to their innocence while coming to terms with the realities of death and war. The film loses me in the subplot about stealing crosses and neighborly rivalry; I suspect each of these relates to a metaphor Clement tries to develop or a commentary on religious comfort in times of sorrow, but I couldn't fully understand how the metaphor applied.
Overall, Forbidden Games isn't a children's film, which is how many modern studios might have perverted it in order to fit the marketplace, and it isn't a war film; it transcends both generic categories and becomes something more profound.
July 19, 2012
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Forbidden Games tells of a girl orphaned by war who met a boy from a peasant family. He loves her. She loves him. Theirs is not just a story of young star-crossed lovers, but more significantly, how war robs childhood of its innocence. It is a love story, with compelling selfless details and unfathomable depth. Unforgettable.
September 9, 2011
Jan Marc Macababayao

Super Reviewer

As I've said before stories with children in major roles are always a gamble for me. Rare is the child who comes across as believable, especially in dramatic situations.

What a wonderful surprise this was as both Brigitte Fossey and Georges Poujouly do a remarkable job as Paulette and Michel. And not only are they the two youngest actors, they may well be the best two actors in the film (in my opinion).

The first fifteen minutes of this film are (aside from some chessy stock war footage) truly gut wrenching. Which was completely unexpected coming from a film of this era and really set a tone for the trials and tribulations of poor little Paulette. Paulettes puppy Jocko was a real source of distress for me as well, although he is sort of the foundation (along with her parents) for what transpires later in the film. It was hard to get past some of his "scenes" without feeling uncomfortable. (Don't want to give too much away)

While it does suffer from some predictable sub-plots and unintentional (era specific) cheesiness...the bulk of the film focuses on the innocence of children and speaks to their resilience. Though our two little scamps do go down a (slightly) dark trail, it is their love for each other that is the heart of the film.

While this is no "Ponette" in terms of heartbreaking emotion...if the last ten minutes of this film dosen't tug on your heart may want to call a cardiologist and have your heart checked.
March 4, 2011
Robert C

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Forbidden Games (Jeux interdits) (DE)
  • Forbidden Games (Jeux interdits) (UK)
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