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Jean Vigo's surrealist satire of rebellion at a boys' boarding school is one of the most poetic and influential films ever made.
Jean Vigo's reputation rests equally on L'Atalante and Zéro de conduite, the latter one of cinema's most loved and widely quoted works, from Truffaut's The 400 Blows (screening on July 2) to Lindsay Anderson's if.... and Bill Douglas' Trilogy. The French government banned Zéro de conduite for its attack on sacred institutions, and the film was released only thirteen years later (after World War II); this restored print renews the full anarchic power of Vigo's satire, and should not be missed even by those familiar with its many celebrated sequences. Set in a boarding school, the film focuses on four boys who rebel against the hypocrisy and authoritarianism of their teachers. When a group of local dignitaries visits the school, the students' revolt turns into chaos. "One of the most poetic films ever made, and one of the most influential" (Pauline Kael).