Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Zéro de conduite

Jean Vigo, 1933

Probably the most incendiary film made up until Flaming Creatures, thirty years later, it was also almost immediately banned, Vigo’s forty one minute film (it would have been longer if they had more money for it) was based in large part on his own experiences at Millau boarding school and those of his father, the anarchist revolutionary Miguel Almereyda, at La Petite Roquette juvenile prison.  The film enacts a revolution in microcosm planned and executed by adolescent students, at least one of whom is clearly queer.  In fact it's this sissy, Tabard, who finally refuses to apologize to his chemistry teacher (after shouting "shit on you" in response to the old man's fondling of him) and sparks the dormitory riot and the subsequent disruption of the next day's official assembly.  This riot is the most joyous expression of revolutionary fervor ever put on film.

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