This Special Friendship (1964)

Director:Jean Delannoy Producer:Christine Gouze-Rénal Story by:Roger Peyrefitte Screenplay by:Jean Aurenche, Pierre Bost  

Music by:Jean Prodromidès Cinematography:Christian Matras  Edited by:Louisette Hautecoeur Running time:100 mins. 

Country:France Language:French Genre:Drama  Subtitle:English  Starring: Francis Lacombrade as Georges de Sarre,
Didier Haudepin as Alexandre Motier
, François Leccia as Lucien Rouvère, Dominique Maurin as Marc de Blajean,
Louis Seigner as Le père Lauzon/Father Lauzon
, Michel Bouquet as Le père de Trennes/Father Trennes,
Lucien Nat as Le père supérieur/Father Superior
, Alain-Philippe Malagnac as Un élève (uncredited)


Les amitiés particulières (English: This Special Friendship) is a 1964 film adaptation of the Roger Peyrefitte novel Les amitiés particulières directed by Jean Delannoy. It starred Francis Lacombrade as Georges, Didier Haudepin as Alexandre and Michel Bouquet as Père de Trennes. It was released in English as This Special Friendship. The film was produced by Christine Gouze-Rénal, whose sister Danielle was the wife of future French president François Mitterrand. The filming location for the movie was the 13th-century Royaumont Abbey, some 50 km north of Paris.

The movie is mostly true to the novel, changing only relatively minor plot points such as Alexandre''s suicide from poisoning to death by throwing himself from a train. Also, Alexandre in the movie is brown-haired, not blond, which also removes some of the inside jokes between Alexandre and Georges which are present in the book.

On the set of the film, Peyrefitte met the 12-year-old aristocrat Alain-Philippe Malagnac d''Argens de Villèle who had been cast as a choir boy and was a big fan of the book. Not only did Peyrefitte sign Alain-Philippe''s copy of the book but the two also fell in love, pursuing a stormy relationship that Peyrefitte chronicled in some of his later novels such as Notre amour (1967) and L''enfant de cœur (1978).

Alain-Philippe Malagnac was later married to the French entertainer Amanda Lear and died in a house fire in 2000 at the age of forty-nine, shortly after Peyrefitte''s death. It is unknown whether this was a suicide, even though Peyrefitte in his novels describes a "suicide pact" between the two, i.e. their intention to commit suicide if the other one dies.

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Venice Film Festival 1964

Golden Lion
Jean Delannoy 

I have been wanting to view this film for quite some time, but never got around to seeing it, or struggled to find a copy. Well, Ive finally seen it.

It could be argued that character arcs are somewhat absent in this film, but I think it has the classic structure of a tragedy. The storyline follows an unlikely friendship between a 16-year-old and a 12-year-old who both attend a strict Catholic boarding school in the 1920s.

The special friendship that is featured in this heartbreaking and impactful film, takes place at a time and place when certain thoughts or doings were deemed very wrong. It was an environment in which purity was number one on the list. It is a beautiful and, at the same time, gut-wrenching relationship. At times, one may question the protagonists motives. But, above all, it is a strong tale of friendship and the outside forces that can disrupt friendship.

Francis Lacombrade and Didier Haudepin are both fantastic in their roles, most notably Didier as Alexandre. What a fantastic young actor, in a role that had many challenging moments and progressions which needed to be consistent with the overall tone of the film. I think both were very good at this.

It is beautifully shot by Christian Matras. His choice of shooting it in black and white adds so much to the feeling of the time and place, and the simple yet elegant shots contribute to the story well.

This is one of those films that will stay in your mind long after it has concluded. It is an impactful film that some might find controversial or even wrong. But if you look deep into what this film is about, and what it says, its themes are very prevalent even 50 years later in todays society.

review by Sky Kid ( George )

A masterpieceshocking in the best sense of the word (L.A. Times).

At first I did not think that the movie will be interesting. But I soon changed my opinion. The fact that the movie is in black and white makes it even more appealing than if it was in colour. The action takes place in a boarding school located in France. Actually the scenes from the dinning room reminded me of the movies for Harry Potter.

The main characters are Georges de Sarre 16 years old student and the young Alexandre (age 12) who is a student at the same school. Their friendship is really beautiful and heart touching. It sure brought some old memories too.
amities-particulieres-lesThere is a lot of poetry in this movie it seems that I am getting hocked to poetry- again! Few years ago there was a girl who was sending me sonnets of Shakespeare. I even tried to write some poems myself.
I still havent finished watching the movie it turned out to be on two CDs and I only got one of them, but will get the second one soon- then I will complete this review.

I have finished watching the movie and its ending made me sad sad and disgust. Disgust that there are such people who refuse to accept that a true, special friendship can exist and interfere to hurt everyone, but their pity selves. And do I know of such people because they are not only shown in the movies you know they lurk amongst us trying to make the rest believe and thing what they do such people really disgust me.

Les amitiés particulières is based on 1943 novel by French writer Roger Peyrefitte.The novel is largely autobiographical.While on the set of the film, Peyrefitte met the 12-year-old aristocrat Alain-Philippe Malagnac dArgens de Villèle, who had been cast as a choir boy and was a big fan of the book.