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L'Enfance Nue (1968)

L'enfance nue (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 22 January 1969 (France)
An anguished foster child takes to mischief and lies as his foster parents do their best to love and care for him. But it might be too little, too late in this emotionally devastating portrayal of the orphaned child.

Director:

Maurice Pialat
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Michel Terrazon Michel Terrazon ... François
Linda Gutenberg Linda Gutenberg ... Simone (as Linda Gutemberg)
Raoul Billerey Raoul Billerey ... Roby
Pierrette Deplanque Pierrette Deplanque ... Josette
Marie-Louise Thierry Marie-Louise Thierry ... Madame Minguet
René Thierry René Thierry ... Minguet
Henri Puff Henri Puff ... Raoul
Marie Marc Marie Marc ... Meme
Maurice Coussonneau Maurice Coussonneau ... Letillon
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Storyline

A ten-year-old boy feels unwanted when his mother places him in a home for wayward children. He goes to a foster home where a family of workers finds him to be too much for them. When the unruly child discovers the family plans to give up on him, he kills their daughter's cat in retaliation. He is sent to another home where he is cared for by an elderly couple. The boy takes to the wife's elderly mother, who reaches out to the disturbed boy. His deliberate disobedience lessens somewhat in his new environment, but he is arrested after throwing bolts at cars from a bridge. The boy tries to overcome his mother's rejection and struggles to boost his self-image in this childhood drama. Written by Dan Pavlides

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

22 January 1969 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

L'Enfance Nue See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Marie-Louise Thierry and René Thierry were real life foster parents. Maurice Pialat became acquainted with the couple and cast them in lead roles after he began researching the plight of children in the foster care system. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Lady Bird (2017) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Pialat's magnificent debut
21 February 2011 | by tomgillespie2002See all my reviews

It is quite extraordinary that 1968's L'Enfance Nue (or Naked Childhood) was the debut feature of a 43 year-old Maurice Pialat. Pialat would go on to direct a small number of highly-admired films after this, up until 1995, but it remains this film that he will be most remembered for. Similar in spirit but not in style to Francois Truffaut's masterpiece The 400 Blows, it follows the exploits of a troublemaking child who channels all of his rejection into ferocious anger that causes havoc with the people around him. Truffaut also has a co-producer credit for the film, although it would be the last time he would work with Pialat.

A young boy, Francois (Michel Terrazon), is placed in a home for bad children when his frequent outbursts and often psychopathic acts become too much for his mother. He is eventually re-homed and put into the care of an elderly couple, who also look after another older child, Raoul. When Francois warms to the elderly lady, his behaviour begins to become less hostile and he becomes familiar with his new surroundings. But a lifetime spent being unwanted has left it's mark on Francois, and he constantly remains unpredictable. Francois kills a cat, throws a knife at his new 'brother', and repeatedly steals from the other children. He is a horrific creation, and every parent's nightmare.

Pialat paints an interesting picture of France at the time. Without sledgehammering it home, he and the film depicts a time where a creeping poverty was lurking among the edges of suburbia. Perhaps this was one of the factors for Francois' parents being physically and mentally unable to keep the child, too distracted with their own situation that they don't have the time to get to the root of the problem. Or perhaps Francois is just a mischievous little bastard, and his inability to settle with one family before pushing them over the edge is his fault. L'Enfance Nue also has a surprisingly reserved depiction of the social services. They are seen simply doing their job, and repeatedly re- housing Francois every time he is rejected by a new foster family. This is where the genius lies in this film. Instead of using the film as a medium to send a social message (a la Ken Loach), Pialat sits back, points his camera, and tells a story. It is both complex and simple, but you would have to make your own mind up about that.

Much like Jean-Pierre Leaud in The 400 Blows, Michel Terrazon is fantastic in the lead role, brimming with menace and an unpredictability. Although the comparisons seem obvious, it would be wholly unfair to carry on comparing this to Truffaut's film, as L'Enfance Nue is a fantastic film in it's own right. Like most of his films, this is considered somewhat autobiographical to Pialat, but how much is unclear. His filmmaking techniques seem similar to the attitudes of the title character - this film is in your face and hard-hitting. You can almost hear the director yelling 'if you don't like it, then f**k you!'. A very, very good film, and I shall be seeking out more Pialat because of it. A remarkable debut.

www.the-wrath-of-blog.blogspot.com


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