Zero for Conduct (Review)

Zero de Conduite (1933)
Dir. Jean Vigo
(Gerald Peary)
40 minutes

Vigo made very few films. This one about a boarding school. I love the way Vigo infuses a magical quality into his films.

What do I mean by “magical?:” (Don’t read on if you want to experience the film for yourself.) There’s a certain wonder and joy–the kinds of feelings that come from the fantasies of children. In essence, that’s what this film is–a child’s fantasy. Is there any child that has not dreamed of all of the students revolting against the teachers? That’s where some of the appeal of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” comes from, I think (which this film reminded me).

Back to the children’s fantasy, Vigo does some things to give the film that quality–for example, the pillow fight and the slow-motion feathers; the boys running throughout the city and then meeting up with the irresponsible monitor (I liked this character by the way) who let them get away; the drawing of a teacher becoming animated on a piece of paper’ and the appearance of principal–who turns out to be a dwarf (Lynch anyone?).

There’s barely a story in the film, and the acting is not very remarkable, but it’s the feeling that Vigo creates–specifically the feeling that a child’s fantasy produces that Vigo recreates–that makes this such a delight. I love Vigo! (No, Penny, not that one.)

  1. No Comments

You can add images to your comment by clicking here.