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Le suicide de Bébé (1912)

The atmosphere in the living-room of Bébé's parents living-room is peaceful. Bébé is reading a children's book and his father the newspaper while Madam is playing the piano. Peaceful at ... See full summary »

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Credited cast:
Renée Carl ...
La mère de Bébé
...
Bébé (as Clément Mary)
Paul Manson ...
Le père de Bébé
Jeanne Saint-Bonnet ...
La bonne
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The atmosphere in the living-room of Bébé's parents living-room is peaceful. Bébé is reading a children's book and his father the newspaper while Madam is playing the piano. Peaceful at least until the maid comes in and gives Bébé's mother a document that makes her wince. Her husband takes notice of the paper and realizes it is an invoice from a clothes shop, whose amount gives him vertigo. Beside himself one more time, he starts one of those quarrels Bébé is fed up with. When his exasperated mother decides to leave home, Bébé has no other solution but to kill himself, or rather to simulate suicide, in order to reunite his parents. Written by Guy Bellinger

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Short | Comedy

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1912 (France)  »

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Production Eclectic N° 5750. See more »

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More disturbing than hilarious
17 March 2011 | by See all my reviews

Suicide and Bébé (Baby), two terms that do not go together well. And this is precisely what makes the (poisonous) charm of this comic scene, signed by Louis Feuillade in 1912. It does not lie in the direction : the camera is static and the editing basic, but what is shown is unusual and... troubling. The starting point could not be simpler: Bébé's parents have one of their frequent rows but this one goes particularly wrong : beside herself, Bébé's mother decides to leave her husband. Determined not to let that happen, Bébé resorts to emotional blackmail. But the stratagem he uses is chilling : after writing a farewell letter, the little boy seizes a firearm and mimics the gestures of a desperate person about to shoot himself. He holds the gun to his head, sticks the gun into his mouth before choosing to shoot himself in the heart. Of course, this is only simulation but the gestures are so close to reality that it makes your hair stand on end. Naturally there will be a happy ending and Bébé's parents will be reunited but what if the little boy had done it for real? What about this gun within hand's reach? All that to say that this short film is less comic than unsettling. All the more as Bébé is played by a seven-year-old child, Clément Mary (later to become adult actor René Dary), whose face expressions and attitudes are those of an adult. Taking the viewers as his witness through asides and camera looks, he proves at any second more mature and clever than his parents. Seen today, 'Le suicide de Bébé' looks like an object from another planet. And quite fascinating for that matter.


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