Some films arouse controversy as the place held by children is subject to discussion. Disturbing scenes take place there, via the ambiguous dialogues or the equivocal gestures that they conceal. Of course, the seventh art knows its limits. Here is our top controversial films featuring children.
Isabelle Huppert in The Valseuses
Directed by Bertrand Blier and released in 1974, the controversial film The Valseuses follows the adventures of Jean-Claude (Gérard Depardieu) and Pierrot (Patrick Dewaere). The two thugs kill time by using multiple means of transport to track down love. Pleasure and tenderness on the program so ! Brigitte Fossey portrays a young woman who lets the two men make love to her on a train. Jeanne Moreau is released from prison and offers herself to the duo before committing suicide. Miou-Miou slips into Marie-Ange’s skin. This frigid woman who lets herself be dominated by a stranger introduced to her by our amazing duo. But this new lover gives her a pleasure that the two companions had not been able to offer him.
So far, it’s adults. However, things get tougher when the two men meet a family whose the girl, teenager and virgin, follows them by provocation. Young Jacqueline (Isabelle Huppert) shamelessly gives herself to them in the company of Marie-Ange. The actress was twenty-one at the time but was camping a young lolita of about fifteen years only. Thus, the erotic comedy is considered as one of the most controversial films of French cinema. Vulgarity, representation of sexual acts, nude scenes and moral ambiguity could only make people talk… As Jean-Claude said as if to accentuate the controversy:
Are we not well? Peaceful, cool, relaxed from the glans, and we’ll get a hard-on when we want to get a hard-on!
Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver
Martin Scorsese offered us in 1976 Taxi Driver. A cult film centered on Travis Bickle, brilliantly portrayed by Robert de Niro. A taxi driver, the Vietnam War veteran is a solitary and insomniac man. violence and perversion of the New York night he is confronted with gradually make him lose his head. Travis finds himself in spite of himself involved in dirty stories: buying weapons on the black market, shooting on sight… Until he comes to rescue Iris, brilliantly played by Jodie Foster. The twelve-year-old prostitute whom he sees regularly in the street has fled the family home.
This is at the cost of fierce controversy that the psychological drama won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1976. And for good reason! Jodie Foster was only twelve years old when she landed this controversial role. The latter was thus forced to follow a long interview with a psychologist to determine if she could slip into the shoes of an underage prostitute. The actress later confided in this regard how much he had been hard to be so eroticized. If you have nine minutes, feel free to watch this exciting interview with Jodie Foster about his role in Taxi Driver.
Charlotte Gainsbourg in Charlotte for Ever
Directed by Serge Gainsbourg, the controversy Charlotte for Ever (1986), whose soundtrack bears the same name, tells us the story of a screenwriter adrift. Camped by the singer himself, the fallen artist wanders in his private mansion struggling to write a new screenplay. It is in these words that Gainsbarre at the time described his film: “Stan had his half-hour of glory in Hollywood but has since become alcoholic to the last degree and frenzied suicidal. He sees everything blackexcept in the laser and azure gaze of little Charlotte. Incest vertigo and hallucinogenic tenderness. “. Embodied by his own daughter, the latter represents his sole reason for living. The young girl, on the other hand, blames him for the death of her mother in a road accident. They have conflicting relationships, accentuated by the undisguised flirt that Stan operates on his classmates.
The film reveals a somewhat incestuous relationship between an alcoholic father and his fifteen-year-old daughter. Many were those to see the transcription on the screen of the Gainsbard’s fantasies, which created not a controversy but a real scandal. Like a highly embarrassing fictional documentary of what the real Charlotte might experience. Unsurprisingly, the singer has actually been victim of pedophilia charges. For the little anecdote, the role of Stan was to be played by Christophe Lambert before Gainsbourg took it on. A decision he will later regret… That being the lyrics of her song spoke for itself : “Dad, dad I’m afraid to taste your flavor; seen neither seen nor color, misappropriation of minor”.
Natalie Portman in Leon
Released in 1994 and signed Luc Besson, Leon tells us the story of Léon (Jean Reno), a hitman living in New York. Matilda (Natalie Portman) her twelve-year-old next-door neighbor, becomes an orphan when her family is murdered. The reason ? Her father stole cocaine from rogue cops who used his home as a hideout. A bloody vengeance breaks out and she is the sole survivor. Our solitary and taciturn man will have no choice but to rescue him.. To avenge her little brother, the only member of her family whom she loved, Mathilda implores Léon to teach her his “trade”.
From the height of his thirteen years, Natalie Portman has, beyond the controversy, unanimous thanks to her talent. Where the shoe pinches is that the spectators discovered her smoking cigarettes and able to kill others. The worst being highly ambiguous relationship developed with his savior and mentor, then forty-six years old. Many were those to make the link between the relationship that Luc Besson had been developing for three years with Maïween, met when she was only fifteen years old. Both had married in 1992 and had a daughter until the director left her for Milla Jovovich. Beyond feelings of love, it is above all unhealthy and embarrassing appearance which has been highlighted.
Kirsten Dunst in Interview with a Vampire
Interview with a Vampire (1994) by Neil Jordan was adapted from the famous eponymous novel by Anne Rice (1976). The plot takes place in present-day San Francisco. Journalist Daniel Malloy (Christian Slater) records on his tape recorder the tale of a nearly two century old vampire. Beautifully portrayed by Brad Pitt, Louis was once a young owner of an agricultural estate. After his wife dies in childbirth, he meets a vampire who offers him immortality in exchange for a luxurious life as a French settler. Tom Cruise slipped into the skin of the eccentric Lestat and Kirsten Dunst in that of the young Claudia. A girl turned into a vampire by the latter in order to offer companionship to Louis.
Very close to Louis, Claudia does not get along with Lestat, whom she blames for his condition. Prisoner of her child’s bodyt, she will never become a woman. She suffers from it more and more as time goes on, aware that she will remain devoid of feminine attractions. Kirsten Dunst was eleven when she kissed Brad Pitt, then twenty-nine years old. Both were extremely embarrassed, as were many spectators. Not to mention the hovering unease in the face of languorous gestures and whispered sweet words by the young immortal to her “love”. The controversy was on.
From the point of view of controversial films because they are highly disturbing, let’s also mention Black sequence (1979) with Marie Trintignant, lolita (1997) second of the name with Dominique Swain or even Hounddog (2007) starring Dakota Fanning.
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Top controversial films featuring children – CinéSéries