Forbidden Games (Classic Film Pick)
Rene Clement's adaptation of Francois Boyer's novel is an exquisitely unsentimental movie about the corruptive effect of war on children. After her parents are killed beside her in an air raid, five-year-old Paulette (played by Brigitte Fossey) carries her dead dog with her as she attempts to reenact of the deaths that have traumatized her. Michel (Georges Poujouly), a young peasant boy, discovers Paulette wandering in the countryside and convinces his family to take her in. Soon, Paulette has Michel stealing crucifies and killing animals for her private animal cemetery, for which she wishes to include human corpses. "Forbidden Games" caused a scandal when it was released in 1952 because it co-opted a fictional story and embellished it with the recent tragedy of war. The film is every bit as controversial today for its transparently passionate view of the permanent damage that war inflicts on its youngest survivors.