Zero for Conduct (Zero de Conduite)

Critics Consensus

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93%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 14

80%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,795
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Movie Info

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....

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Critic Reviews for Zero for Conduct (Zero de Conduite)

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (3)

Audience Reviews for Zero for Conduct (Zero de Conduite)

  • Feb 08, 2014
    One year before his longstanding feature-film achievement <i>L'Atalante</i> (1934), Jean Vigo's enchanting anarchich short masterpiece has a huge heart placed in the middle of it all, despite the negativity in the depiction of the boarding school, the meanness of the school authorities and harsh conditions of the students. Correct observations have been made pointing out the fact that the spirit of this film was an influence on Lindsay Anderson's <i>If....</i> (1968), which is actually considered as a remake by several sources, including IMDB, as both circle around the intentions of the students to organize an uprising, and both have key scenes which visual techniques highlight the intensity of the moment (the pillow fight sequence was extraordinary). Still, this one has that French Revolution vibe impossible for other countries to emulate. The ideas are disturbing and form material potentially controversial and subject to censorship. In the case of Vigo, it was his spirit of mockery against the bourgeois adult authorities and the dwarf-sized ruler of it all. Still, it transports us to an era few of us saw with our own eyes. Its historical relevance is unarguable, and its social relevance, up to date. 99/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Nov 09, 2011
    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!
    Greg S Super Reviewer
  • Jul 08, 2011
    While some critics complain of Zero de Conduite being filmed chaotic, It's this sense of chaos that portrays the literal chaos in the film. One of the earliest and most influential films about children and anarchy, Zero de Conduite inspired countless Directors and films. The two most notable and acclaimed being The 400 Blows and If...., both of which are masterpieces. Anarchy is at the core of Vigo's beliefs and films, this being the most literal adaptation and one so revolutionary that it was banned until 1945.
    Chris B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 03, 2010
    One of the oldest movies about rebellious youngsters. Other than that, it's not a fantastic movie.
    Aj V Super Reviewer

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