L'Enfance Nue: The Criterion Collection
The singular French director Maurice Pialat (Loulou, A nos amours) puts his distinct stamp on the lost youth film with this devastating portrait of a damaged foster child. We see Francois (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.