Catholic Culture Podcasts
Catholic Culture Podcasts

Righteous among the nations: Au Revoir les Enfants (1987)

By Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast ( bio - articles - email ) | Jul 12, 2022 | In Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast

Listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | RSS feed | YouTube Channel

Participate in film discussions at https://www.facebook.com/groups/CatholicPods.

This is a listener-supported podcast! Thanks for your help!

On the morning of January 15, 1944, Nazis raided a boarding school for boys in Avon, France. The Carmelite monks who ran the school had been hiding some Jewish boys there under false names. As a number of the children and teachers watched, three of their classmates were led away by the Nazis, along with the headmaster, Pere Jacques, who turned back to say only, “Au revoir, les enfants” (“Goodbye, children”). The three boys died in Auschwitz, and the priest went to Mauthausen, dying only a few weeks after the camp was liberated by US forces.

Among the children standing by on that unforgettable day was the future French film director Louis Malle. Decades later in 1987, he would memorialize the experience, the boys and the priest (whose cause for canonization was opened in 1990). The film is included on the Vatican’s 1995 list of important movies under the category of Values.

But Au Revoir les Enfants is about much more than the Holocaust. The bulk of the film is a kind of slice-of-life experience of a French Catholic boarding school. The children in the story don’t know what is going on behind the scenes, and Malle proves deft at developing the plot in an unemphatic and invisible manner until the end. It is a coming-of-age story, a Holocaust story, and the story of a heroic priest-martyr all in one.

Note: In this episode, we mistakenly referred to the main character as “Lucien”. His name, in fact, is Julien.

Article about Pere Jacques: https://www.criterion.com/current/posts/1781-au-revoir-les-enfants-p-re-jacques-and-the-petit-coll-ge-d-avon

Music is The Duskwhales, “Take It Back”, used with permission. https://theduskwhales.bandcamp.com/

Criteria is hosted by Thomas V. Mirus and James T. Majewski.

Thomas is a pianist living in New York City. He is Director of Podcasts for CatholicCulture.org and hosts the Catholic Culture Podcast. See full bio.

James is the Director of Customer Relations for CatholicCulture.org. A stage, film, and voice actor based in New York City, he is the host and narrator for Catholic Culture Audiobooks. See full bio.

Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a current donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.