I pride myself in getting my money's worth from my Netflix subscription. Even in my busiest months, two hours are often set aside for movies. These DVDs always get priority over recently purchased films. If it arrived in my mailbox, it'll be back in the mailbox no less than 72 hours later.
And also, what the hell is Au Revoir Les Enfants?
Whitney over at Dear Jesus knew that I enjoy films about teachers. My thesis revolves around teacher movies and she recommended two films from France. The first was a documentary called To Be and To Have and the other was the Louis Malle film that sat on my shelf for three weeks.
The plot revolves around two boys living at a French boarding school during World War II. One's Catholic, the other's Jewish. They don't like each other at first but as time passes, they begin to become close friends. The Jewish boy, Jean Bonnet Kipplestein, has been allowed to hide from the Nazis at the boarding school and tension builds as the German troops move in closer to their location.
Sounds like it would be good, doesn't it? So, why did it take almost a month for me to watch? The answer is pretty simple. My intrigue was peaked because I love teacher films. That's how it made its way to the top of my queue. However, foreign films take a higher level of concentration than I was willing to give. When you rent Notorious B.I.G. - Bigger Than Life, checking your e-mail in the middle might seem a bit more managable. Decisions are made.
I just couldn't gear myself up to dive into Malle's historical war-time drama. Instead, I watched Wattstax and Untraceable, both films that found their way back to the Netflix Shipping Center long before Au Revoir. I knew that the film deserved a clear head and my full attention.
Late one night, I shut off all the lights, sat down, and watched Au Revoir Les Enfants. It was worth the wait. Three weeks after I recieved my little red envelope, I was able to fully take in and experience what I would consider a 'classic,' whatever that means.
Also, if you ever get around to watching this movie, just remember to put it in the right context. When Au Revoir was released, the top-grossing films in the U.S. were Three Men and a Baby, Fatal Attraction, and Beverly Hills Cop II. Call it a palate cleanser. Or a breath of fresh air. Or better than 3 Men and a Baby. In short, it's worth sitting on your Netflix for three-quarters of a month just to see this film.
Go tell Slate.com what film you've kept the longest. But first, tell me. Thanks for reading!