Film: Au Revoir, les Enfants

I caught this movie on TV the other day, it takes place in a Catholic boy’s school in France in 1944. It is not really a Catholic movie but it is quite sympathetic the school’s principal, Pere Jean, tries to keep the school going, control the boys bullying and instill some Christian values if possible.
At the same time he is hiding Jewish boys whose parents have been taken away by the Nazis among his students – which is eventually discovered.

I like the image of Pere Jean the overworked pastor/schoolmaster as martyr because we usually think of martyrdom as something quick rather than years of work with the constant threat of exposure.

I think this is such a beautiful film.

I believe it is a true story (don’t quote me).

My only wish is that I could understand French.

According to Wikipedia the film is based on the director Louis Maille’s personal experiences.
The article does point out one interesting thing:

As a Gestapo officer denounces the illegal nature of the priest’s actions, Father Jean and the four Jewish children are led away by the officers as the children call out, “au revoir, mon père”, and to which Father Jean responds, “à bientôt, les enfants”.

“Au revoir, mon pere” = Goodbye, Father
"A bientot, les enfants" = “Until later/see you soon, children”

I wonder why they changed this phrase for the title?

I must see this film…I’m going to check on it now.

Thanks , didymus

I just put it on my netfliks list:thumbsup:

should be on anyone’s all time best films list, and all time best school story list

Is based in the life of the school were Father Jacques de Jesus, a Carmelite friar was rector. Louis Malle was a student here and wittnessed the incident.
The Venerable Jacques de Jesus has a cause open for canonization and has been declared “Just among Nations” by Vlad Vashem.
His life is remarkable, he was deported to the death camps but died only after the war in june of 1945.
When warned about being depported if caught hidding Jews and fugitives, he said, the “camps needed priests too”.

I loved this film. Some beautiful performances by the boy actors, and a terribly sad ending.

Here wikipedia entry on Pere Jacques de Jesus:

Here his entry bin the US Holocaust Museum:

No less celebrated are the acts of Father Jacques de Jésus (born Lucien Bunel in 1900), a Carmelite friar and headmaster of the Petit Collège Sainte-Thérèse de l ’ Enfant-Jésus. Angered at Nazi policies, Father Jacques made the boys’ school in Avon, France, a refuge for young men seeking to avoid conscription for forced labor in Germany and for Jews. In January 1943, he enrolled three Jewish boys — Hans-Helmut Michel, Jacques-France Halpern, and Maurice Schlosser — as students under false names. He also hid a fourth Jewish boy, Maurice Bas, as a worker at the school; sheltered Schlosser’s father with a local villager; and placed the noted Jewish botanist, Lucien Weil, on the school’s faculty.

Informed of the Carmelite friar’s activities, the Gestapo seized Father Jacques and the three Jewish students on January 15, 1944. Weil, his mother, and sister were arrested at their home that same day. On February 3, 1944, German authorities deported the boys and the Weil family to Auschwitz, where they perished. Father Jacques was imprisoned in several Nazi camps before being liberated by American troops at Mauthausen in early May 1945. Suffering from tuberculosis and weighing only 75 pounds, he died several weeks later.
In 1985 the Israeli Holocaust remembrance center, Yad Vashem, posthumously honored Father Jacques as one of the “Righteous Among the Nations.” Two years later, French filmmaker Louis Malle paid tribute to his former headmaster in the film, Au revoir les enfants.

Here his entry on the Carmelites including a prayer for his canonization.

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