Tuesday, April 30, 2002


I've wanted to see this movie since I was 10 and read its description in TV Guide (war, children, and dead animals--it sounded a bit like an artsy horror movie to this young monster movie fan!). In WWII rural France, a 5-year-old girl loses her parents and her dog during a bombing raid (from which she herself barely escapes alive). She carries the dead dog around, meets up with an 11-year-old boy and becomes part of his household. She and the boy bury the dog and, because she thinks the dog will be lonely, the boy starts killing small animals (insects, chicks) and burying them near the dog. Then, more or less at her request, he begins stealing crosses to mark the graves, which triggers a village scandal.

This movie works on many levels; it's really a dark satire involving religion, ritual, death, rivalry, the pettiness of humans (certainly not just French peasants), war, and childhood. Robert Osborne, hosting TCM's showing, prepared me for a real tear-jerker, but aside from the opening when the dog dies (I felt sadder about the dog than about the parents), I had dry eyes. Both of the kids are remarkable but especially the girl, Brigitte Fossey, who really was only 5 when this was made. The ending, though I didn't cry, is haunting.

No comments: