2 JANUARY 1953, Page 14


Les Aux Interdits. (Academy.)—La Kermesse MI-clique. (Con- tinentale.) Les Jeux Interdits is a brilliant film unerringly directed by M. Rene Clement and acted in a manner past believing by two small children, Georges Poujouly and Brigitte Fossey. Infinitely wounding, this adaptation of M. Francois Boyer's novel relates how a little girl, whose parents have been machine-gunned and killed escaping from Paris, strays off the haunted road with her dead puppy into the quiet countryside, and is befriended by a farmer's little boy. Overhearing the farmer say that her parents have been put into a hole in the ground, the little girl makes a hole for her puppy, and the children then embark on a game of making a cemetery for all the dead animals they can find. This leads them to stealing all the crosses they can find too, with heartrending results.

The innocence of these children flowering amid the horrors of war, their naive attempts to turn their bewilderment and suffering into a simple game, and the amazing acting ability of these baby players give this film a terrible poignancy. As an indiament of war it is unsur- passed. As a work of art it is a notable contribution. Although played in a minor key, it is by no means on one note, and among the many harmonies made by M. Clement can be heard the trill of true comedy. At all times is his touch velvet-gloved, and it is strange that such lightness should hammer home his point so cruelly. This picture won the Grand award at this year's Venice festival, and for once, one feels, no one can argue the rightness of such a compliment.

Few people can argue either the rightness of reviving M. Jacques Feyder's La Kermesse Heroique, an enchanting film if there ever was one. Born in 1935 it does, perhaps, seem a trifle sedentary in com- parison to later models, but it still retains its vigour. Mlle Francoise Rosay, ruffed and wimpled, still charms as she rouses the women of Boom to greet its Spanish conquerors with grace ; still splendid she is as she slates the weakling menfolk of her town ; still delightful as she gently flirts with M. Jean Murat. The pattern of Flemish life, with its scenes so like animated old masters, is a lovely refreshment to the eye, and, though there is a tendency to loiter, M. Feyder distracts us with his pictures filled with fascinating details to their very frames.

I have not had the chance of seeing Cops and Robbers, an Italian film which goes to the Marble Arch Pavilion after I go to Press, but it stars Toto who, I am told, is Italy's Fernandel. VIRGINIA GRAHAM.