Au Revoir Les Enfants (Goodbye, Children)

Director: Louis Malle
Screenwriters: Louis Malle

Institute History

  • 1988 Sundance Film Festival


Au Revoir Les Enfants (Goodbye, Children) is inspired by the most tragic memory of my childhood. In 1944, I was eleven years old and boarding at a Catholic school near Fountainebleau. A new boy joined us at the beginning of the year. A brilliant student, he intrigued me. He was different, his background was mysterious. He didn't talk much the first few weeks. Little by little we became friends, when, one morning, our small world collapsed.

That morning in 1944 changed my life. It may have triggered my becoming a filmmaker. I should have made it the subject of my first film, but I preferred to wait. Time passed, the memory became more acute. In 1986, after almost ten years in the United States, I felt the moment had come and wrote the script of Au Revoir Les Enfants. Imagination used memory as a springboard, I reinvented the past in the pursuit of a haunting and timeless truth.

Through the eyes of Julien Quentin, a young boy with my background and temperament, I have tried to evoke his first friendship—brutally destroyed—and the discovery of the real world—its violence, its disorder, its prejudices. 1944 is far away, but I know that adolescents of today can share my emotions.

— Louis Malle

Screening Details

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]