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Growing Pains

Growing Pains

Coming of age isn’t easy—especially in the Criterion catalog. Not all the kids in the films below had to resort to, say, primitive savagery on a desert island following an authority-figure-obliterating plane crash, but other extreme youthful horrors abound, whether related to sex, war, poverty, or high school. Where some of these characters would end up as adults we can only speculate. One thing’s for sure: the young actors who played them—from Bicycle Thieves’ Enzo Staiola to The 400 Blows’ Jean-Pierre Léaud to Mouchette’s Nadine Nortier—gave some of the most fearless, arresting performances ever captured on-screen.