7 year-old boy Ernesto intrigues people around him for several reasons. Despite such a young age, he looks like a man on his 40's and also seems a little more intelligent than any of his ... See full summary »

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3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Axel Bogousslavsky ...
Ernesto
...
Enrico
Tatiana Moukhine ...
Natasha
Martine Chevallier ...
Nicole (as Martine Chevalier)
...
Le directeur d'école
...
Le journaliste
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Storyline

7 year-old boy Ernesto intrigues people around him for several reasons. Despite such a young age, he looks like a man on his 40's and also seems a little more intelligent than any of his peers - and the latter fact is what causes him to quit school, refusing to attend it because he doesn't want to learn the things he does not know. His family is very supportive of his actions, even though they don't have any clue of what's to become of him; at the same time the school headmaster and a journalist are concerned about Ernesto's real motivations for leaving school. Written by Rodrigo Amaro

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29 May 1985 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Børnene  »

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Last film directed by Marguerite Duras. See more »

Connections

Version of En rachâchant (1982) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Rubbish disguised as an intelligent and artistic piece
21 September 2014 | by (São Paulo, Brazil) – See all my reviews

At first, "Les Enfants" ("The Children") sounds like a brilliant idea about to stir some thought-provoking debate on the importance of school to children and the learning process. But with time one learns to forget about expecting things and just let things follow their course; and as I was watching this movie the more I got horrified with almost everything thrown on the screen. Gladly, I didn't get any expectations about it except for maybe thinking "story looks good, Marguerite Duras is behind all of it, what can go wrong?". So many things, and it won't fit in this review as much as I'd like to.

What got me into it, in the first place? The story of Ernesto, a 7 year-old boy who looks like a 40 year-old man, who shocks everyone around him when he decides to leave school, refusing to stay in a place where he only learns the things he doesn't know (if you've got confused with this sentence you can imagine Ernesto's parents reaction with that as well). The simple minded parents only accept the kid's resolution because they're old and dumb, and the "kid" isn't contained on a kid shape, he looks older and stronger and who knows what might happen. It gets weirder: Ernesto has a sister, same age as his and same problem, also looks like an adult. It's up to the school principal (Andre Dussolier) and a reporter to find out what's so peculiar about Ernesto, his actions - strangely learning things outside of school - and thoughts that evoke a strong sense of nihilism.

We all know most kids have this phase of hating school, we've all been there and I think Mrs. Duras was trying to provoke a point by imagining what would be if a kid had enough arguments and wisdom to quit school and be on his own. The idea got lost, if ever existed. Somehow, the boy keeps on learning, returns to keep rejecting God's existence and exposes dull views about the importance of learning, to later gather everyone into peeling potatoes. Relevance? Zero.

The symbolisms were poor, staging and scenes were just shallow and pitiful, and almost nothing got answered (what about the other five kids in the family? Where were they and how do they look like?), and the lack of conflict is amazing. And the more it progresses, the more you start to feel less and less involved with this wreck.

Three awards at the Berlin Film Festival and among them a Silver Berlin Bear, an honorable mention for whatever reasons, and tied in one category with the impeccable and obscure "Wetherby". Throughout the movie, Ernesto describes that school is worthless (C'est pas la peine was the term if I'm not wrong). Same goes for this movie. 3/10


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