Forbidden Games (French: Jeux interdits), is a 1952 French language film directed by René Clément and based on François Boyer's novel, Jeux interdits.
The film recounts the death of five-year-old Paulette's (Brigitte Fossey) parents and of her pet dog in a Nazi air attack on a column of refugees fleeing Paris, France during World War II. In the chaos, the traumatized child meets ten-year-old Michel Dollé (Georges Poujouly) whose peasant family will take her in. She quickly becomes attached to Michel and the two attempt to cope with the death and destruction that surrounds them by secretly building a small cemetery where they bury her dog and then start to bury other animals, stealing crosses from the local graveyard.
One of the first films to see the horrors of war through the eyes of children, Forbidden Games was a critical smash, winning prizes from the New York Film Critics, the British Academy, and the Venice Film Festival. Adapted by Francois Boyer, director Rene Clement, and two others from Boyer's novel, the story focuses on Paulette (Brigitte Fossey), a five-year-old refugee from Paris taken in by a peasant family after her parents are killed during a bombardment of a civilian convoy. Michel Dolle (Georges Pujouly), the family's 11-year-old son, becomes her best friend, and they create a cemetery in which Paulette's dog is interred, along with other animals and insects, some of whom the children kill themselves. The Dolle family is too busy feuding with the Gouards, their neighbors, to notice the absence of the children. Eventually, authorities locate Paulette and insist that she be placed in an orphanage for legal adoption. Unsentimental and yet heartbreaking, Forbidden Games demonstrates the strategies of children who witness war to deal with the constant presence of death. It's also a bitter condemnation of the selfishness of adults who could offer their charges more love and protection. ~ Tom Wiener, All Movie Guide