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November 24, 1987|MICHAEL WILMINGTON | Terry Atkinson

"Forbidden Games." ("Jeux Interdits.") Embassy. $29.95. Rene Clement's 1952 classic--scripted by the ubiquitous Jean Aurenche and Pierre Bost--attacks war at its weakest point. Ignoring the warriors, it focuses entirely on a helpless civilian victim: a little French girl who loses both parents and her precious dog in an air assault. She later retreats into a world of fantasy and Christian symbolism, aided by the young son of the provincial family harboring her. There's no sentimentality in Clement's handling of this poignant subject. He shows the villagers with caustic satire, paints the children's world with strange, cold-eyed lyricism. As the girl, 5-year-old Brigitte Fossey--later a star as an adult--gives one of the most memorable performances by a child in any film. Her frail blond beauty shines like a tiny match in the gathering darkness. Information: (213) 553-3600. ****

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