Skip to main content

CROSS MY HEART

France, 1990 (MIFF 1991)

Director: Jacques Fansten

Usually films with children are unbearable cute. Cross My Heart has nothing precocious about it.

In the provinces, a boy's mother drops dead. Out of a quite logical fear of falling into the hands of the French social services and being sent to an orphanage (it seems a father has never been invovled), he and his school mates keep the death a secret. What follows is their discovery of death, solidarity, and the hypocrisies of the adult world - as well as how easy it is to deceive it.

Even the well-meaning adults - teachers and parents of other children - have accepted given ideas about children and what constitutes happiness and health for them, and thus they become as dangerous as the close-minded and tyrannical adults who run the institutions, Cross My Head is the story of how society destroys a child through "saving" him.

The film has a hard and serous edge, but it is also a comedy - at times it is almost slapstick What do you do with a body when all you have is a grandfather's clock to bury it in?

Jacques Fansten has long made films with and about children; he gets superb and unselfconscious performances from his young cast. He avoids all the sentimental traps. His film is lean, and emotionally sure. "At first," says Fansten, "we auditioned hundreds of kids. But we ended up not using any of them. We only took children from the school where we filmed in the middle of France. They were perfect - so natural." The aim, he adds, was to make a film, "not about children, but with them, allowing them to speak and show their world through their own eyes".

See also...

The Man of Tautavel

Twenty years of painstaking research has now unveiled the time, the environment, the climate, the habitation and the cultural setting of the Man of Tautavel. The Tautavel Grotto in France is an ... More »

HALFAOUINE - CHILD OF THE TERRACES

Long regarded as North Africa's leading film critic, Ferid Boughedir must now be considered one of the region's leading filmmakers on the basis of this, his first feature, which has already collected ... More »

Homage to the Yaghans

Only a handful of the Yaghan people are now alive, the last of the Indians who inhabited the southern tip of South America. These brave sea-faring people could survive the hardships of a cold and ... More »

Lardux

The continuing misadventures of Lardux. Wacky absurdism in stop-frame style. ... More »

Valentino, I Love You!

A spirited and witty spoof, re-staging the hysteria of the American suspense thriller in terms of its formal and narrative cliches . (FF) ... More »

Le Bechose

Two boys receive a free gift in a gum packet, a powder that says 'add water'. At home one of them adds water and the result is a fast growing blue creature...but what is it? ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director