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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
Francis Lacombrade stars as the young Comte Georges de Sarre, student at a French boarding school run by the priests. Didier Haudepin is the even younger Alexandre, another student at the same school. It is post WWII France, and the school is run with heavy discipline.
Georges develops a special friendship with Alexandre, hence the title of the novel and the movie made from the novel. Roger Peyreffite is quite a famous French author, and this story is his best work.
The two boys develop their friendship in spite of the rules of the fathers who are dead set against this sort of thing happening at their school. Not that there is anything sensual about the relationship, just a few chaste kisses and poems with Georges describing Alexandre as his "bijoux".
There is a touching scene in the movie with the two boys hidden in a haystack lying besides each other, sharing the joy of their company and a stolen cigarette.
Not to give away the ending, but tragedy befalls the two boys.
Interesting to note that a friend of Peyreffite, who also worked as a French civil servant, Henri de Montherlant also wrote a novel about the love between two boys. The Boys is also set in a Catholic boarding school, but around the turn of the 19th century. And a similar tragic ending.
In both stories, the Church and its rules against too much affection between schoolboys plays a major role in the story as one of the antagonists. We are left wondering just how well both stories might have turned out if the boys had been left alone to share their friendships.
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