Zéro de conduite: Jeunes diables au collège. Jean Vigo. 1933. ⚃
Since there are 16 movies tying for “last place” on this top 100 (all at #91), it means that I’ve got some leeway in choosing the order of movies. So the next film alphabetically was The Deer Hunter, but that’s over three hours long!? And I’ve got things to do tonight. So I’m watching this Jean Vigo movie instead, which is only 44 minutes long.
The only other Vigo thing I’ve seen is L’Atalante, which was spiffy… but so weird.
And again, this is weird. I know, Vigo isn’t going for naturalism or anything, but it’s so odd.
Though the film was not an immediate success with audiences, it has proven to be enduringly influential. François Truffaut paid homage to Zero for Conduct in his film The 400 Blows (1959). The anarchic classroom and recess scenes in Truffaut’s film borrow from Vigo’s film, as does a classic scene in which a mischievous group of schoolboys are led through the streets by one of their schoolmasters. Director Lindsay Anderson has acknowledged that his own film if…. was inspired by Zero for Conduct.
I don’t know… It feels like pretty undigested disgust for Vigo’s school situation (presumably) vomited onto the screen.
I wonder whether this would have been as famous as it is if it hadn’t been banned for over a decade in France. I mean, it’s good, but…
This blog post is part of the Officially The Best series.