Based on the novel by Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. Friends since infancy, Philippe and Vinea have always regarded themselves as brother and sister. But as adolescence segues into puberty, the two youngsters fall in love.
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Sixteen-year-old Philip and his younger cousin Vinca grew up together and treat each other like siblings. Their families constantly communicate, and the summer is spent together. But the time comes when teenagers start to be interested in the opposite sex, and they begin to form feelings for each other. Though their parents are oblivious to their growing ardor, an older woman Madame Dalleray sums up the situation. She is experienced in the art of love and looking for ways to brighten up her loneliness. She becomes his master in the art of love, and his relationship with Vinka is threatened. She takes him under her wing and initiates him sexually, so that Vinea's virtue will remain intact -- at least for the time being. However, when the relationship with Madame Dalleray ends, he returns to Vinca already an experienced man.
When the movie was broadcast for the first time on French TV ,it was shown with a thing of the past ,the "carré blanc" (=white square" )on the low right of the picture,which meant that the work was strictly reserved for adults ;today,it would not scandalize a nun.
Which is not to say the movie is bad ;time has passed since and we've seen worse!Claude Autant-Lara was one of the best French directors of all time and progressive at that ;Colette was a feminist writer ,ahead of her time ,whose books were often transferred to the screen by feminist director Jacqueline Audry ,the only woman directing in the pre-Varda days :and like it or not ,Autant-Lara and Audry were more feminist than Varda( see "Le Bonheur" for that matter) :In "La Garçonne ",Audry depicted what one should call a playgirl (in the fifties) ; in "Le Blé En Herbe ",Colette reverses the roles : the still majestic Edwige Feuillère uses Philippe like as a sex object : when she leaves him ,she tells him so :"you'll be a nice vacation souvenir".No more ,no less; people frightened of the rising woman power -which was to blossom in the late sixties- depicted the movie as the initiation of a young virgin lad ...
A woman such as Madame Dallery made her way through the fifties thriumphantly , with a whiff of scandal (what she does was only allowed to men at the time);the Office catholique Du Cinema made no mistake when they forbade this "trash " to their flock.
And it had just begun :in the sixties ,Autant -Lara devoted two movies to abortion (still illegal in the French mid-sixties).
A note about the young actors : Pierre-Michel Beck's career was short-lived,but Nicole Berger carried on with her career through the sixties when she was killed in a car crash;
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