So effervescent and charming that one can easily forget its importance in film history, Jean Vigo’s enormously influential portrait of prankish boarding-school students is one of cinema’s great acts of rebellion.
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Despite a scrappy structure and scatty content - and years of subsequent derivatives dimming its original charge somewhat - this remains often startling in tone and texture (the slow motion revolutionary parade is poetic). The playfully sceptical view of norms and established institutionalism has a bumptious joie de vivre.
Oppressive boarding school context, anarchic pupils rebelling against the system and groundbreaking effects (slow-motion action shots, music played backwards). What's not to love? Vigo's 'L'Atalante' may be his magnum opus, but 'Zero de Conduite' is a riotous mini-masterpiece.
While Jean Vigo's first film, A PROPOS DE NICE heralded his arrival as a sly satirist, it was was his third short, ZERO DE CONDUITE, that really established him as an artist. 3 shorts in and Vigo has already seemed to master his craft with this jolting and playful film about a group of boys revolting against their boarding school superiors. Surprisingly dense, the film is a bold, inventive work of art.
this is a real masterpiece of a short. the basis of many more famous reinterpretations but none really surpass this one. the revolutionary spirit is key, and added the fervour and spirit of youth it is a real testament to the energy of these characters. seriously funny at points too with some fine moments of humour. the energy, the composition and the sheer revolutionary joy of this film are worth it all.
An exuberant, playful, rebellious little film about the anarchic spirit of youth. I laughed out loud several times. It's bold, it's non-conformist, and it's a joy to watch. The pillow fight scene is beautiful. These kids (and Vigo) are waving their middle fingers at the establishment and status quo, and you can't help but love them for it.