• In a review for the Los Angeles Times, Dennis Lim provides some context for the work of Maurice Pialat, whose first film, L’enfance nue, is out on Criterion DVD: “Recognized in France as one of the major filmmakers of the second half of the twentieth century, Pialat (1925–2003) belonged to the same generation as Jean-Luc Godard, Eric Rohmer, and the other leading figures of the French New Wave.” Lim goes on to call the feature debut of this chronicler of the lives of wayward, fragmented people “one of the most moving films about childhood ever made” and “one of the most tough-minded . . . It establishes the searching sensibility that would characterize Pialat’s cinema, bruisingly alive and fully in the moment.”

    Slant’s Fernando Croce also deems L’enfance nue to be the brilliant herald of a great career, plus makes a intriguing connection to another Criterion release: “Maurice Pialat’s piercing first feature introduces the Gallic master’s mix of laceration and delicacy . . . The film is remarkable for its vivid, uncondescending snapshots of working-class life and, in its loving observation of Marie-Louise and René Thierry (real-life foster parents more or less playing themselves), the fullest portrait of an elderly couple since McCarey’s Make Way for Tomorrow. DVD Town’s Christopher Long is even more unstinting in his praise, exclaiming “This is a fantastic film. L’enfance nue deserves to be considered one of the great debut features of the last half century, a thunderbolt heralding the arrival of a distinctive visionary. Damn it, I can’t resist saying it: L’enfance nue is a masterpiece.”

    More praise from DVD Talk.

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