Film director Louis Malle, who was a student at Petit College, about his decision to make the film “Au revoir les enfants” (“Goodbye Children”)
Au revoir les enfants was inspired by the dramatic memories of my childhood. In the year 1944 I was eleven-years-old, a student at the Catholic boarding school near Fontainbleau. One of my friends, who arrived at the beginning of the year, raised a lot of questions in me. He was different, withdrawn. I began to get to know him and love him, until the that morning when our small world collapsed.
That morning of the year 1944 may have determined my destiny as a film director – a destiny that I have served faithfully and devotedly.
In fact, this was supposed to be the topic of my first film, but I hesitated and waited. The time passed, and the memory became sharper, more present. Last year, after a stay of eleven years in the United States, I felt that the time had come and wrote the script for Au revoir les enfants. My memories served as a springboard for my imagination. I reconstructed the historical events that were etched into my memory, searching for the painful truth that is beyond time.
Through the perspective of a young boy who resembles me I tried to find again this first friendship that had grown strong and was abruptly destroyed, and the discovery of the absurd adult world that held violence and prejudice.