Zero for Conduct (Zero de Conduite) (1933)
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The shortest of French filmmaker Jean Vigo's two feature-length films, Zero for Conduct (Zero de Conduite) is also arguably his most influential. The overtly autobiographical plotline takes place at a painfully strict boys' boarding school, presided over by such petit-bourgeous tyrants as a discipline-dispensing dwarf. The students revolt against the monotony of their daily routine by erupting into a outsized pillow fight. Their final assault occurs during a prim-and-proper school ceremony, wherein the headmasters are bombarded with fruit. Like all of Vigo's works, Zero for Conduct was greeted with outrage by the "right" people. Thanks to pressure from civic and educational groups, this exhilaratingly anarchistic film was banned from public exhibition until 1945. Among the future filmmakers influenced by Zero for Conduct was Lindsay Anderson, who unabashedly used the Vigo film as blueprint for his own anti-establishment exercise If.... ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Zero for Conduct (Zero de Conduite)
From a modern perspective it seems delightful rather than revolutionary, dangerous and subversive.
Vigo's anarchic, disorienting vision of life in a French boarding school.
These amorphous scenes, strung together by a vague continuity may be art but they are also pretty chaotic.
A wholly original creation, the film walks a narrow line between surrealist farce and social realism.
It's surreal and zany anarchistic slapstick, filmed as if Charlie Chaplin was a teacher in the dreaded suburban boys' boarding school.
a funny, fantastical exaggeration of childhood exuberance and adult idiocy
Pretty great, but also overwhelming: Vigo clearly had a good 80 or 90 minutes worth of movie that he had to fit into half the running time.
One of the most haunting and influential films ever made about childhood, Vigo's feature protests rigid authority and celebrates anarchic revolution. This personal film influenced two other great works: Truffaut's 400 Blows and Lindsay Anderson's If.
Compelling and influential, a fascinating film and essential viewing for film history enthusiasts.
One of the greatest films about children ever made and a haunting celebration of anarchic rebellion.
Audience Reviews for Zero for Conduct (Zero de Conduite)
Boys at a French boarding school stage a revolt in this heavily anarchist, mildly surreal short (45 min.) feature. A playful but slow-moving curiosity, with a dwarf headmaster and some interesting surprises (including trick photography and an unexpected animated sequence). Historically, it's very interesting, but its importance has been exaggerated by the fact that the French government banned it for 13 years!More
One of the oldest movies about rebellious youngsters. Other than that, it's not a fantastic movie.More
Beautiful, sometimes surreal and funny although the humour is a little dated. Why Jean Vigo isn't better known is beyond me, he invented the new wave 30 years before it was recognised IMO!!More
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