Rene Clement’s Forbidden Games (1952) is the classic French picture which centers on two youngsters living in rural France in 1940 as German planes invade the air space and drop bombs on various sites in the country.

When death pervades in the sphere of children is what the film is about but, plainly, additional themes obtain as well.  One of them is the ineffectiveness of religion in causing people, such as the peasant family, to behave as they ought.  This goes only so far, however.  Usually the conduct of clergy in Forbidden Games is unobjectionable, and at any rate it isn’t as though Catholicism is not needed in rural France.  But although the kids here play what is easily termed a forbidden game—for it involves theft—adults in those German planes are playing a worse forbidden game involving murder.  It is an extreme on a scale of adult games.

(In French with English subtitles)


Cover of "Essential Art: Forbidden Games ...

Cover via Amazon