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Christopher Webster [Celluloid 06.01.11] movie news book gallery

Yeah, I know War of the Buttons (La guerre des boutons) is technically a family film, but any story that dives into the murky waters of kids left to their own delinquent behaviors is always of interest to me. An this French remake seems interesting.

Word is that when Yann Samuell's treatment for a new War of the Buttons was pitched at Cannes in May 2010, it generated an enormous amount of enthusiasm. Why exactly we're not sure, but producer Marc du Pontavice said this of the new film: "We were looking for a powerful idea within "War of the Buttons", an ideal that would draw an invisible link between the school of society and what Yann aptly calls a Society of Children. To make a film that talks about integration, independence and innocence - in that joyful spirit that comes with the delight of disobedience. In that respect, the story we are telling is very faithful to Louis Pergaud's work, both in tone and in dramatic structure. With an original touch, however: the role of the girls (Lanterne in particular) has been given a boost."

There have been a few films based on an internationally bestselling French novel, "War of the Button" by Louis Pergaud. The first was the 1962 French film by Yves Robert, but perhaps the most famous is John Roberts' 1994 version which transplanted the events to English speaking Ireland.

A band of country boys aged 7-14, led by fearless young Lebrac, wages an uncompromising battle against their sworn rivals, the kids from the neighboring village. A war of honor and allegiance that's been kept alive for generations, in which humiliation is the most fearsome defeat and no tactic is too extreme, including attacking the enemy stark naked! With their newest recruit, the brave and ingenious tomboy called Lanterne, victory is a skipping stone's throw away. But it's not easy to be an army of half-pints and not get into trouble with Mom and Dad after coming home from battle with torn clothes and missing buttons!

War of the Buttons stars Eric Elmosnino (Gainsbourg)Mathilde Seigner (Venus Beauty Institute, The Girl from Paris) and Fred Testot.

It is expected to hit French cinemas November 2011.

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