Forbidden Games

Written by Joe D on August 27th, 2007


Bridget Fossey

Once in a great while a film comes along that rocks you to your very roots. Forbidden Games is such a film. It is by the great Rene Clement. He created several master works like, Purple Noon (The original Talented Mr. Ripley), and Rider On The Rain with Charles Bronson but this one is my favorite . I first saw this film when I was a young lad, it played on The Million Dollar Movie back in New York on WOR Channel 9. I must offer thanks to the unknown programmer of that show. I saw Peter Brooks Lord Of The Flies, Bergman’s Virgin Spring, De Sica’s Two Women, Bunuel’s Robinson Crusoe, Losey’s Boy with The Green Hair, and Fellini’s La Dolce Vita all on The Million Dollar Movie and it made me a cinephile for life.

The Peasant and The Princess

Forbidden Games starts with a long line of people on a country road, they’re fleeing Paris as the Nazi’s approach. We meet a young couple with a beautiful daughter, the little girl has a puppy she cherishes. Suddenly a sound from the sky, a German Messerschmidt fighter plane, it strafes the refugees, killing the girls parents and the puppy. The girl wanders away in shock carrying the tiny dog. She’s found by a farm family and brought into the farm house. These rough hewn folk marvel at her finery and her beauty. The young son of the farmers immediately falls in love with this rare jewel that’s appeared like a vision in their midst. The little girl tries to cope with her parents demise in a strange way.She and the boy create a fantasy cemetery burying the puppy and any other deceased creatures they come across. The imagery is powerful, romantic, emotionally intoxicating. It’s like a fairy tale come to life.


A Fairy Tale Come To Life

Clement understands that by using children as protagonists, we (the audience) experience the film as children. We re-experiance the time of our innocence and our most vivid impressions of life. The music is by the wonderful guitarist Narcisco Yepes. I had the good fortune to see him play at Alice Tully Hall in New York and he was incredible. He played a 10 string classical guitar of his own design.

Check out his music, it’s great and check out this film it’s tragic beauty will touch your soul. Below is a clip from the film, sorry about the lack of subtitles.