The singular French director Maurice Pialat (Loulou, À nos amours) puts his distinct stamp on the lost-youth film with this devastating portrait of a damaged foster child. We see François (Michel Terrazon), on the cusp of his teens, shuttled from one home to another, his behavior growing increasingly erratic, his bonds with his surrogate parents perennially fraught. In this, his feature debut, Pialat treats this potentially sentimental scenario with astonishing sobriety and stark realism. With its full-throttle mixture of emotionality and clear-eyed skepticism, L’enfance nue (Naked Childhood) was advance notice of one of the most masterful careers in French cinema, and remains one of Pialat’s finest works.
L’amour existe, director Maurice Pialat’s 1960 short film about life on the outskirts of Paris
Choses vues, autour de “L’enfance nue,” a fifty-minute documentary shot just after the film’s release
Excerpts from a 1973 French television interview with Pialat
New visual essay by critic Kent Jones on the film and Pialat’s cinematic style
Video interview with Pialat collaborators Arlette Langmann and Patrick Grandperret