Forbidden Games 1952 ★★★★

A deeply affecting wartime fable that, like the very best of war films, presents us with the horrors as (barely) understood by a child. Startlingly good young leads lend an air of angelic grace to a story that turns out to be far more comical than I anticipated. The laughs—and they are many—don't prohibit the moments of intense drama, and Clémeni manages to espouse some pretty contentious views on the role and relevance of religion amid all the havoc. The balance between comedy and tragedy is so strikingly adept, keeping us consistently amused before reminding us of the difficulty of life in these times with all the sharpness of a slap to the face. Showing war through a kid's eyes is an old trick, but it's one that works so well to highlight the magnificent fallacy of humankind on a global scale that you can't help but be touched and a little traumatised by the events that befall our young heroine.

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