Artikelnummer 5494

GIRLS IN DISTRESS (Jeunes filles en détresse) (1939) * with switchable English subtitles *

Georg Wilhelm Pabst Writers: Tristan Bernard (dialogue), Jean Bernard-Luc (dialogue) | 2 more credits » Stars: Marcelle Chantal, Jacqueline Delubac, André Luguet

Jacqueline is sixteen years old ... though her busy parents wouldn't know that if you asked them. Her father's a renowned divorce attorney and her mother's a doctor running her own clinic. The two of them could be the perfect example as to why people should be required to pass a test to be allowed to have children. For Jacqueline's parents are more dedicated to their jobs and their own selfish pasttimes away from one another than to the marriage and the child they created. And because their lives are so busy and, obviously, much more important than their child, they decide to send the girl off to a boarding school, where most of the inmates' parents are divorced ... and the attorney of record in most of these divorces is Jacqueline's father. In this impeccably run school, where the teachers attempt to help the children forget they've been cast off, so their parents can move on with their lives and find new lovers and new distractions, the abandoned girls wait ... like so many unwanted and dumped dogs at a shelter. They wait for visiting day, when many of the parents never bother to show up. Worse, many of the ones who do show up make no bones about showing how inconvenient this "duty" is. Even though Jacqueline's parents are not divorced (legally, that is), she takes to the plight of her new friends and forms a league to combat divorce. This league even wants to pay a visit to the president of France to convince him to put anti-divorce measures into law! All's going well, until the day Jacqueline finds out her parents have decided to finally call a quit to their fantasy of a marriage and now it's Jacqueline's turn to realize her abandonment is something more than temporary.

Some reviewers have called this film both a drama and comedy or even just "a comedy" (obviously, people who've never experienced the tragedy of abandonment or bad parents). Unfortunately, the ridiculous "feel good" ending to the film might explain its designation as a comedy. Like the many sad children in this "dog pound" of unwanted offspring, the conclusion of the film is as divorced from reality as the petty and bickering "adults" who make their children pay for their folly. An "almost tearjerker", which, in the end, ridicules and snickers at you for feeling empathy for the tossed-away and unwanted little victims. 

Les pensionnaires de l'institut Villand sont presque toutes enfants de parents séparés ou divorcés. Elles fondent la Licodipa, ligue contre le divorce des parents, après qu'une des leurs ait tenté de se suicider en apprenant que sa mère avait brisé le ménage des parents d'une de ses amies.

DVD-R is in French with switchable English subtitles.  Approx. 85 mins. See film sample for audio and video quality!

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