Enfances (Childhoods)

by James McNally on March 28, 2009 · 1 comment

in Directors,Film Festivals

Enfances (Childhoods)

Enfances (Childhoods) (Directors: Yann Le Gal, Ismaël Ferroukhi, Corinne Garfin, Joana Hadjithomas, Khalil Joreige, Isild Le Besco, Safy Nebbou): This very inter­esting idea, brought to real­iz­a­tion by French dir­ector Yann Le Gal, brings together six short films, each con­cerning a pivotal moment in the child­hood of six great film dir­ectors: Fritz Lang, Orson Welles, Jean Renoir, Jacques Tati, Alfred Hitchcock, and Ingmar Bergman. I hadn’t heard of any of the segment’s dir­ectors before, but three or four of the seg­ments were out­standing. My favourite is the story of how Fritz Lang, at the age of ten, dis­covers a family secret that changes his politics and his whole out­look on life. Also excel­lent was the recol­lec­tion by Jean Renoir of how his friend­ship with a peasant child who teaches him how to hunt and steal gives him an appre­ci­ation for the injustice of class dis­tinc­tions. The seg­ments on Welles and Hitchcock, though good, were per­haps the weakest. But the seg­ment on Jacques Tati was per­haps the closest in spirit to an actual Tati film. The gangly Tati is too tall to fit into his class photo, so he wanders off into the school on an almost word­less adven­ture. The way he ends up in the photo is pure phys­ical comedy. The seg­ment on Bergman rounds out the film, and if I’d been more familiar with his work, I might have appre­ci­ated it more.

I really enjoyed the way each seg­ment not only told a story from the director’s life, but was also dir­ected in their sig­na­ture style. Although these omnibus films are always bound to be uneven, these six stories moved along at a great pace and made for a very enjoy­able (and hope­fully enlight­ening) experience.

Official site of the film


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