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Modern Languages Study Guides: Au revoir les enfants

Author: Karine Harrington
Publisher: Hodder
ISBN: 9788877544001
Reviewer: Faye Barrett

I have spent this term using Hodder’s guide to Au Revoir Les Enfants and have been very impressed with its contents. The textbook is split into a number of sections, including: synopsis; historical context; scene analysis; themes and cinematographic techniques. 

The chapter on historical context is a particular strength of this study guide as it provides an in-depth explanation as well as including a number of tasks and questions which encourage students to think about what the film reveals about France during WW2 and the latter’s importance to the film as a whole. The chapter on key themes is a little brief, and really only provides an introduction to each idea, rather than an all-encompassing guide. The sections on characterisation and scene analysis do, however, give a good degree of depth, although it would be prudent to study key themes before analysing scenes, rather than afterwards as the study guide suggests. 

Definitions of key vocabulary used in explanations are included regularly, as well as a vocabulary section at the end of each chapter, which could serve as a useful resource for vocabulary tests. There are also varied tasks focusing on grammar and writing to strengthen linguistic skills; I have found this particularly useful given the tendency to focus primarily on content when teaching literature. 

Due to its size, there is only so much depth this study guide can go into; it will of course be necessary to supplement the activities supplied. All in all, it does, however, provide the perfect springboard to get your students thinking along the right lines.