Claude is a Jew. Because of the risks of an arrest (France is occupied by the Nazis), his parents send him away to an elderly couple in the country. Pepe, the husband, is a Petain supporter and a anti-Semite, but he does not know about Claude's religion. The film is the story of their growing mutual affection.Written by
This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #388. See more »
When Claude joins a wooden-sword fight while the Langmann family is living in Dijon, a flag containing a swastika is hanging from a building in the background (at 0:08:51 on the Cohen Film Collection BD; at 0:09:01 on the Criterion Collection DVD). Most viewers would assume that the only swastika flag allowed to be flown on dry land in German occupied France would be the German national flag (1920-1945) containing (on both sides) a right-facing swastika rotated to a 45 degree angle from vertical on a white circle in a red background. The flag shown in the film has a left facing swastika whose arms are aligned with vertical and horizontal. See more »
I caught this at the local art museum, what a treasure it is! I became interested because the director is Claude Berri, and his "Jean de Florette/Manon des Sources" story is one of my favourites of all time. Although this movie is in black and white, it's a superior quality and beautiful to watch. The story, of a little Jewish boy hiding out in the country with an anti-semitic old man in occupied France, could easily have gone down the path of sadness and tears, but instead it is a joyous movie full of laughter and love. I must say Michel Simon is a delightful actor, and makes even a narrow-minded, ignorant, brainwashed old man like Pépé a kind, fun grandpa that any child would love to have. I believe this movie is based on Claude Berri's actual experience, but I did have to wonder at the end if Pépé was ever told the truth about the child's heritage and if so, did it matter? Anyway, this is a fantastic heartwarming movie that you shouldn't miss if you ever get the chance to see it.
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