Primal scenes
in Louis Malle
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This chapter focuses on Louis Malle's Au revoir les enfants. Psychoanalytic interpretation of Au revoir les enfants reveals many important insights, not least those suggested by Lynn Higgins in her discussions of Mallean cinema and the primal scene. However, the chapter also demonstrates that Malle is too complex to be explained by one theory or interpretation, however tempting its conclusions. Other forms of psychoanalytic reading, not so directly related to trauma or the idea of the primal scene, can be applied. Malle's work such as Zazie dans le métro and Le Voleur display an almost obsessive preoccupation with teenagers, their youth and corruption and reverberate with disturbed adolescents, social worlds at their breaking points and so many failed escapes. The chapter concludes by returning to a more politically informed consideration of Au revoir les enfants.

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