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890 Ratings

Naked Childhood

L'enfance nue

Directed by Maurice Pialat
France, 1968


François is a provincial orphan whose destructive behaviour precipitates his relocation from the home of a long-term foster family to the care of a benevolent elderly couple.

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Naked Childhood Directed by Maurice Pialat
[In The 400 Blows,] Truffaut’s widescreen camera maintains a loving distance from Antoine, giving him freedom to explore both the geographic and cinematic space. Pialat’s distance [in L’enfance nue], however, is more stoic, almost vacant; his background as a painter is evident in how he embraces stillness to convey the callow simplicity of his subject. Truffaut examines childhood, but Pialat lets it exist in all its contradictory sublimity.
February 26, 2016
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A useful companion to Truffaut’s The 400 Blows, Naked Childhood was a commercial failure, but remains a film of red, raw power and was a vital, now recognized influence on French filmmakers of today, such as Xavier Beauvois and Olivier Assayas.
October 16, 2015
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An unadorned, unsentimental depiction of a troubled ten-year-old foster kid named François (Michel Terrazon)… What distinguishes Pialat’s tough yet compassionate study, among the best about youth, is its multigenerational cast.
October 13, 2015
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