Yves Robert died a few days back and I write this comment as a tribute to him:"la guerre des boutons" is a timeless brats movie,which can be watched forty years after with the same pleasure:a blockbuster when it was released in France in 1961,French kids enjoy it at least as much as their parents or grandparents today.
Of course,Louis Pergaud's Rabelaisian novel,written at the beginning of last century, was watered down (but not cheapened),or else it would not have been accepted by the censorship:there are lines in this book that would make blush the well-meanings.The words are crude and not prudish at all.The story was much more than a funny joke though:actually,the children aped the grown-ups and THEIR wars:("to think,that later,we will be as stupid as'em!"-this is the last line of the movie).
Yves Robert transposed the action to the rural sixties.He gathered lots and lots of children whom he directed masterfully."Magna cum laude",first class honours,for young "Petit Gibus"!anyone who watches the movie will love him:he's so funny when he gets drunk!Shot in black and white,the movie will remind you of your schooldays.
Louis Pergaud died in 1915.The war he was waging was not a war of the buttons.
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