Au Revoir Les Enfants (Themes)

  • Created by: dbrennan
  • Created on: 16-06-19 12:00

l'innocence perdue:

  • Julien loses his innocence not only through the atrocity of the war but also through other characters and events that take place in the film.
  • Joseph (a secondary character) 'steals' Julien's innocence and childhood by introducing him to 'le marche noir'. Joseph allows Julien to be manipulated by the desire of illegal products and pratically introduces him into the brutality of war. Le Marche Noir acts as a symbol of the war: individuals are competing for survival- links to Louis Malle's darwinist motive 'survival of the fittest'. En fait, le monde d'adultes dans le film joue un role important a travers le perte de l'innocence de Julien Quentin.
  • When Pere Jean (le figur paternal pour Julien et les autres pensionnats) and Jean Bonnet/Kippelstein are deported at the end of the film, we see the realisation of the atrocity of war for Julien by his facial expression. Julien's innocence and childhood is not only protected throughout his life by his parents and is attempted to by Pere Jean but also through the walls of the boarding school which act as a safety barrier for him. Suddenly, the end of the film provokes a turning point and his protective cocoon is pierced. You could therefore argue that the atrocity of the war contributes to his loss of innocence.
  • In the boarding school there are the older friends of Julien's brother, Francois Quentin, who set an example of how to behave. They talk about having girlfriends, smoking and also sexual dreams. This sets an example for not only Julien but also the younger boys in the boarding school. Some of the younger boys find a picture of a women and claim that she has no *****. Other times we see their attraction to Julien's piano teacher. This reinforces that the film is 'une histoire passage a l'age adulte' (coming-of-age story).
  • Throughout the film we are exposed to the evolution and development of Julien, learning that he is less naive than he was at the beginning. His exposure to the outside world has made him learn that reality is no longer innocent or positive. His 'little' world has been invaded by the brutality of the world outside and his innocent nature has been manipulated and pierced by that of older adults (including les soldats).
  • Key quotes:
  • "Quand on me cherche, on me trouve."-Julien
  • "Je ne pleure pas. Pas du tout meme."-Julien
  • "Julien releve la tete. Ses yeux brillent."-narratuer
  • "Pape, je m'en fous. Vous, je vous deteste."-Julien


  • A core theme of the film focuses on the evolution of Jean and Julien's friendship. 
  • Malle incoporated lots of scenes that focus on the development of their friendship (the forest scene, the reading scene etc).
  • The medium close-ups, facial expressions and long shots capture their friendship.
  • Julien is intriegued by Jean, unlike the other boys who mock him and find him rather bizzare.
  • Even when Julien discovers that Jean is a Jew, that does not change their flourishing relationship.
  • The focus on the friendship between…




This is great! Thanks



Really helpful thank you