20 December 2007 | dbdumonteil
Quaint ,sometimes charming
"Le Petit Prof" was released when France was caught up in the nouvelle vague machine.It was to be Carlo Rim's last film and the last picture was an ironical about-turn :after predicting a safe world where the atom bomb would protect us against any war ,he salutes the brand new world where his soon-to-be-born second child will live.
"Le Petit Prof" is an imaginary chronicle ,from the twenties with an use of the silent movie style to the late fifties.It's very uneven: the scenes during WW2 in the air-raid shelter are rather tedious,and are déjà vu;on the other hand,the ones in the barracks where the squaddies give flowers to the warrant officer cause it's his name day ("it's the first time it has happened to me")or the recruits practicing shooting with pieces of wood are good moments of fun.It's also a good idea to follow the hero's military service by his first days as a teacher : guardhouse or detention,it's all the same and it's "line up!" and "move along!"at school or in the barracks.But Darry Cowl's teacher -who predates the notorious "carpe diem" of "dead poets society- is not convincing:what subject does he teach?after three scenes in his classroom ,I cannot make up my mind.And anyway,at the time ,he would have been fired.What?Giving a cigarette to one of his students ?(besides,it's bad for you).
Yves Robert,who plays Cowl's father,or Claude Berri ,were certainly influenced by Rim's ultimate effort .