The director,who was anxious to get messages across often calls Victor Hugo for help:the great writer was a children's right activist and one of his poems begins like this "Où vont tous ces enfants dont pas un seul ne rit" (Where do these children go ,none of them smiling?).Hugo was speaking of children's work in the mines and mills.
Here the children are sent to a penal colony .The director tells them they build a big family:don't they call the wardens "the cousins"?The movie is so poor one can barely feel the despair,the sufferings and the humiliations the poor brats endure.A countess comes to the colony ,in order to write an article and feebly sides with them.A rebellion begins.
SPOILER:the revolt is crushed ,and in order to secure a relatively happy end,the countess takes in one of the little survivors.As Bunuel showed in "Viridiana" (1961)"what's the point of saving one dog where there are lots of mistreated dogs in this world?"
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