directed by Francois Truffaut (1976)
Friends, Small Change is so utterly charming, you must take time to watch it! A loving ode to childhood, Truffaut, a frequent chronicler of youth (see 400 Blows) gives us a glimpse into the lives of young children in the town of Thiers. The script was largely improvised and the children (who are adorable, every one) are non actors, lending a documentary quality to the film.
Described perfectly by the Times as “a major work in minor keys”, Change is made up of small moments, often mundane which add up to a touching, heart warming whole but never feels cloying nor hits a false note.
In its simplicity and subtlety, the movie is profound – almost life changing even – in that it’s opened up my eyes to the way a film maker can so clearly capture the feelings of childhood. The only other film comparable would be the equally lovely Spirit of the Beehive.
With yuppies of the opinion that children are little more than nuisances that might dare to invade one’s dining space, and all the crummy stories of abuse and neglect in the news, it’s particularly gratifying to see a movie that is so pure in its vision and message – essentially that children are wonderful and need to be loved; this is a sentiment that very few of today’s navel gazing artists seem to share.
While the film is brimming with humanity and includes one of cinema’s kindest portrayals of good teachers, it doesn’t shy away from the dangers of childhood, particularly neglect in the case of the rascally and charming Julien.
It’s worth noting that Small Change, as it is mostly known as in the US, is listed as Pocket Change on netflix, where you can enjoy this gem instantly. (Moms, there’s tons of great kid style too!)