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Tales from the Zoo (1994)

Le jardin des plantes (original title)
In Paris, near the end of World War II, crotchety professor Fernand Bonnard maintains a zoo and continues his research. He's a coward, as is his debonair son, Armand, who has one daughter, ... See full summary »




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Credited cast:
Fernand Bornard
Salomé Stévenin ...
Philippine Bornard
Rose Thiéry ...
Gert Burkard ...
Zoltán Gera ...
István Mészáros ...
Cyril Montana ...
Free French Soldier
Tamás Dunai ...
Captain Jones
János Szikora ...
Dr. Blauschild
János Kulka ...
Colonel Bastien
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jozsef Bal ...
The Director
István Hunyadkürthy ...
Council Worker


In Paris, near the end of World War II, crotchety professor Fernand Bonnard maintains a zoo and continues his research. He's a coward, as is his debonair son, Armand, who has one daughter, Philippine. On her eighth birthday, Armand picks her up from her repressive boarding school and takes her to Fernand's to celebrate. Father and son quarrel, and Armand leaves, only to be arrested and shot for violating curfew. In grief, the curmudgeonly Fernand does not tell Philippine, but invents a life for Armand as a captain of the Resistance. Fernand takes her from school to live with him and his sensible wife. Along the way, Philippine finds out the truth and Fernand discovers courage. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Plot Keywords:

paris france | world war two | See All (2) »






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Release Date:

30 August 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Greenhouse  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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User Reviews

A Lovely Movie, With Humor, Innocence, Great Screenplay and Direction and Outstanding Performances
30 September 2003 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

Fernand Bornard (Claude Rich) is the responsible for the Botanic Garden and Zoo in Paris during the Second World War. He was a coward in the First World War and used to lie to his granddaughter Philippine (the lovely Salomé Stévenin) about his heroic features and participation in the past war. His son Armand (Samuel Labarthe) is a smuggler and a cooperator with the Nazi regime in Paris. He does not take much care of Philippine. Philippine's mother is an actress and singer of cabarets and does not take also care of her. On Philippine's eightieth birthday, her father decides to leave her at the grandfather's home after the permitted retire schedule and is arrested by the Germans. Then, he is convicted to death by fusillade and his father witnesses the execution of his son. Fernand hides the death of Armand to Philippine. In order to justify the absence of the father, he tells her that his son is a highly graduated member of the French resistance and responsible for many explosions and sabotage of German facilities. The situations generated by this lie are delicious. This is indeed a lovely movie. With humor, innocence, great screenplay and direction and outstanding performances of Claude Rich and Salomé Stévenin, it is a type of movie to be watched by the whole family. This film is not well known in Brazil: looks like a hidden jewel to be discovered by viewers who appreciate a sensible story with wonderful performances and direction. Roberto Benigni, with his Oscar winner `Life is Beautiful', copied not only the screenplay of the fantastic `Train de Vie', but also the innocence of this marvelous `Les Jardin des Plantes'. My vote is nine.

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