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Gianni Da Campo
THIS SPECIAL FRIENDSHIP tells of the tender relationship between a twelve-year-old boy and the upperclassman who is the object of his desire. All set in the rigid atmosphere of a Jesuit run school. Written by
I had read the novel (in English translation, one of two which have been published?) several years before seeing the film. It is, I think, characteristically French: carefully descriptive, observant, objective, restrained, but also subtly hypnotic. I read and read, and almost put the book down halfway through because it didn't seem to be going anywhere or making any impact on me. Then, all of a sudden, I was in tears-- but I still couldn't say exactly what had hit me other than everything. It was as though the pieces of a puzzle suddenly fell into place.
The film is faithful to the spirit as well as the letter of the book. Both were remarkably bold gestures for their time, describing an earlier generation and environment which were even more strait-laced. Like me, you may fall gently under its spell, then-- wham! Sheer magic.
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