L'enfance nue

Naked Childhood

Director: Maurice Pialat
Country: France

1968 | 82 min. | French
Subtitles: German, English
FSK 18

Cast_ Michel Tarrazon, Linda Gutemberg, Raoul Billerey Screenplay_ Arlette Langmann, Maurice Pialat Camera_ Claude Beausoleil Producer_ François Truffaut, Claude Berri, Jo Seritzky, Sami Seritzky, Mag Bodard Rights_ Gaumont

The stirring debut of one of the most influential French filmmakers of the 20th century is an unsparing portrait of a wayward youth.

Ten-year-old François is raised in the French province by a succession of different foster parents. If he does not meet the expectations of a given pair of parents, he is readily passed on to the next. He thus spends his youth in poorly furnished rooms, always made to feel that he doesn’t really belong to the family. With every new home, he withdraws further into himself and his behaviour towards his environment becomes increasingly erratic.

While May 68 shook up France’s cultural life, Pialat went to the provinces and shot L'enfance nue, a portrait of the rural working class. The adversities of life are only rendered more intense by the performances of the non-professional actors and the documentary-inspired cinematography. Ever since, a French cinema without Pialat has been unthinkable.


Maurice Pialat made his first feature film, L 'enfance nue, at the age of 44 and immediately won the Jean Vigo Prize. Subsequently, he left an unparalleled mark on the French cinema of his time. Cahiers du Cinéma regularly included his films into their Top 10, and he triumphed at the Césars in 1984 with Á nos amours. In 1987, Sous le soleil de Satan won the top prize at Cannes.