Screened as part of NZIFF 2006

Naked Childhood 1968

L'enfance nue

Directed by Maurice Pialat

Maurice Pialat's first feature is a delicate study of a ten-year-old boy and his decline into delinquency when boarded out with foster parents. (1968)

France In French with English subtitles
82 minutes 35mm



Arlette Langmann, Maurice Pialat


Claude Beausoleil


Michel Tarrazon
Raoul Billerey
Maurice Coussenneau
Pierrette Deplanque
Linda Guttemberg
Marie Marc
Henri Puff
Marie-Louise Thierry
René Thierry


“Pialat’s first feature is a wonderfully delicate study of a ten-yearold boy and his decline into delinquency when boarded out with foster parents after being abandoned by his mother. With Truffaut as co-producer, comparisons with The 400 Blows are inevitable, but there is really little resemblance between the two films except in theme and refusal to sentimentalise. Instead of focusing on the child, Pialat concentrates on the adults: the foster parents puzzled by the boy’s delinquency since he so clearly responds to their affection; the ancient grandmother with whom he breaks through to a special relationship (very warm and funny); the welfare and adoption officers, carrying out their jobs with weary patience, but tending to treat the children as pets rather than as human beings. It’s a film in which nuance is everything; amazingly, given that Pialat was working exclusively with non-professionals, the performances are stunning.” — Tom Milne, Time Out 

“These actors inhabit their roles, and their world, in ways rarely achieved in cinema.” — Richard Peña, New York Film Festival