In Au Revoir Les Enfants Does Malle See the Germans in Terms of Black and White?
820 WordsMay 5, 20124 Pages
Throughout the book “Au Revoir Les Enfants” Louis Malle highlights at several points the typical associations which the majority of people have when discussing the role of the Germans during the war. However Malle approaches the topic from a more complex angle thus forcing the reader to question the general stereotypes and examine the varying attitudes of both the French and Germans, by portraying them in certain situations in which they adopt a sometimes unexpected attitude.
During a scene in the beginning of the book whilst the boys are out in the village they encounter a group of German soldiers, Malle exposes this situation in order to immediately draw attention to the general hostility and fear which is evoked by the Germans.…show more content…
“Est-ce que vous avez perdu des enfants?”
At this point in the book, Malle has succesfully introduced to the reader a controversial theme which demands a lot of thought and consideration, as we are made aware that not all German soldiers had the same principles.
Continuously, it must be taken into account that the attitudes of the French differed during the war also, and it would be unfair and blatantly wrong to assume that the Germans were simply “bad” and the French were “good”, which is a common misconception.
The restaurant scene is essential in under lining the way in which Malle does not see the French and Germans as merely “black and white” but instead evaluates each of their characteristics and exploits them thoughout many scenes in order to highlight the common misjudgements made by many people.
Whilst Julien, his older brother François, Bonnet and Mmm. Quentin have lunch they witness the French police randomly persecute a quiet, well dressed man and at first, politely request to see his papers.
“Vos papiers monsieur”
However, quickly their tone changes and they become aggressive and rude as they realise that the man is a jew.
“Dis donc toi, tu ne sais pas lire?”
The way in which they begin reffering to the man as “tu” as opposed to “vous” conveys their