This was a smart film. It is French, but that is not the reason it is smart. It is smart because the main point of the film comes only in a few seconds toward the end of the film when the viewer, after having been drawn through the narrative of Anna, a little 9-year old girl who is rebelling against her bourgeois-turned-bohemian parents, gets a glimpse of what Anna’s parents have been trying to “show” her all along: true solidarity.
Anna walks up to her father, after he has found out about some political happenings that did not go their way: he is staring out the window, contemplative; she slowly walks up to him and reaches out to hold his hand. It is at this moment that the viewer sees real solidarity happening. Clearly, Anna cannot know what group solidarity means until she can accomplish the first hurdle of being understanding and compassionate toward just one person. This, after her parents have dragged her through the emotional ringer by completely shocking her sense of sensibility when it comes to thrusting her into a world of revolutionaries, communist sympathizers, and an end to her bourgeois lifestyle.
The film closes, a bit cliche, with her walking amongst the “public school” kids, intermixing.
This film shows us that though we may struggle against change, if we can learn on our own to show true compassion for one, we are more likely to show it naturally for more-than-one; rather than being forced to for some idealism we can’t even comprehend. Hmm….