L'enfance nue

Director: Maurice Pialat
Year Released: 1968
Rating: 2.0

A nasty little mongrel behaves horribly - he steals, smokes, kills a cat - so he gets sent to foster care where an elderly couple take him in, and there he continues his spree: he steals, he throws knives, he dumps food on his foster brother's lap, he starts fights, he throws railroad spikes at cars (in other words, he represents a good portion of the students I teach). Pialat purposely removes scenes where explanations are given for the characters' behavior - especially the main misfit - which makes this a difficult picture to 'hold onto': without knowing the 'why' of his young tyrant's antisocial tendencies, it's becomes a waiting game for him to receive his comeuppance. Of course, there are shades to his character - he is capable of kind gestures (like giving Mom a present before she sends him off), but the way the film is structured, even those acts appear disingenuous (designed to lull his victims into a false sense of security around him). Get thee to a reform school!