Film: 9739

Social History | 1950 | Sound | B/W


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France 1950s

A waterwheel (as in a mill) turning in a pool of water. Two girls in a small boat, floating along a man-made waterway in a park. Close-up of the girls as they pass through a wooded section of the park. View ahead from the boat moving along the waterway. A boy driving a small car around a track (the camera pans to follow him). A traffic signal changes; cut to a policeman, who blows his whistle, raises his arm, and bends down to speak with a child in a go-cart. The child smiles, and is waved on by the policeman. Children driving small cars in a special play area. The cars have the words 'La prevention routiere' written on their side. The camera follows a boy in a car who uses an outstretched arm to signal a turn. The boy steps out of his car, puts a hose into it as if to fill it with petrol, and then climbs back in and drives off. A child sliding down a playground slide, toward the camera, which is at the foot of the slide; cut to the child landing in water, in which other children are playing. Three children riding on top of a camel. A bear in a zoo, standing up. Two children throwing something (presumably food to animals). A man and a woman standing side by side; they look at each other and smile. A child looking at a model car in his hands. Children's toys. A model railway set with a train travelling around it. A model tank. A doll in a shop window. Two children and their mother looking at toys in a shop window. Six boys in the outdoors: playing football; a piggyback race. Girls playing hopscotch. Boys playing marbles. Ground-level shot up at a woman standing at an open window, looking out and smiling. A man and a woman pushing children on swings: cut to the man, who smiles as he pushes a child on a swing; cut to the woman, who does likewise. A boy wearing a paper pirate's hat and carrying a play sword chases another boy up an incline and in the direction of the camera.

Three newspaper headlines (in French), all of them announcing the death of adults but the survival of their children. A nun/nursing sister carrying a small baby wrapped in a blanket walks out of a building and toward the camera; dissolves to the front page of the newspaper, 'Le Parisien', with a headline 'Demain, commencera notre grand reportage sur l'abandon'. Dissolves to a close-up of a small baby wrapped in a blanket. A woman sitting at a desk in an office speaks, at length, though with some pauses to write, to a person sitting across from her. Closer shot of the woman sitting and writing at the desk, and speaking to someone (not visible); intercut with shots of the back of a woman's head, sometimes nodding ('Yes'), sometimes shaking ('No'). A nurse enters the room. Cut to the nurse's hands attaching a necklace around the neck of a baby. Cut to the nurse picking up the baby, wrapped in a blanket, from its mother's arms. A woman's hands as she signs a piece of paper. The nurse looks at the mother and then leaves the room with the baby in her arms. The nurse walking down a hospital corridor, towards the camera, with the baby in her arms; the nurse smiles at the baby. The nurse walking, a baby in her arms, through the neo-natal ward of a hospital (many cribs visible). A nurse changing a baby's nappy. A nurse's hands lift up a baby's legs and sprinkles powder on the baby's bottom. Another baby having its temperature taken (a thermometer in its behind). Close-up of a baby's leg as a small hammer is gently used on its knee to test its reflexes. A baby lying face-down, being weighed on a small scale. An infant, lying on its back in a crib, playing with a toy suspended above the crib. A baby in a crib, crying and moving its hands. Babies in cribs: one looking alert; another moving its feet; a third with its hand on a ball; a fourth drinking out of a bottle; a fifth fast asleep; a sixth also sleeping, its hands moving a bit. Looking through the spaces between the bars of a baby crib; the camera zooms out to show many cribs in a neo-natal ward of a hospital. Tracking shot showing cribs in the ward; the camera stops and pans to one crib with a baby inside. Several shots of babies lying in cribs (as seen through the bars of a crib). The camera focuses on the letters 'AP (probably short for 'Assistance Publique', or something along those lines) stitched into the pillow in a crib; close-up of 'AP'.

A checkerboard: a woman's hand and a man's hand move the pieces and jump their opponents pieces. Cut to a lighted cigarette burning in an ashtray. Cut to a man sitting on a couch alongside a German shepherd, and reading a newspaper. A woman in a kitchen, wearing an apron and drying dishes. Cut to the man, who lowers his newspaper, looks up and listens to the sound of a bell ringing and children's voices. Cut to the woman, smiling in the kitchen as she too looks upward; but then she lowers her eyes and her expression changes to one of unhappiness. Cut to the man, who is looking up and has a troubled expression on his face; he takes a drag of a cigarette and the camera follows his arm as he stubs out the cigarette in an ashtray already quite full with butts. A man's hands counting off French banknotes. Part of a dinner table with fine china and a decanter of wine. Shot of an old man's hand, shaking somewhat, holding onto a cane. A woman's hand opens a book. Cut to her finger on the page of a dictionary, under the word 'adoption'.

Panning shot, from top to bottom, of a wall of filing cabinets. We see a woman at a desk, turning through papers on the desk, and then speaking at length to a man and a woman sitting (backs to the camera) across the desk from her. On several occasions the man and the woman turn to each other and smile. Sign on a door: 'Consultation Medico Psychologique'. A physician, sitting at a desk, speaks to a couple (their backs to the camera) Cut to a front shot of the woman speaking; she leans forward to ask a question. Sot of the man speaking. Close-up of the doctor speaking. The man and woman look at each other, smiling. Close-up of the woman's hand on the man's hand (both with wedding bands); the hands caress and clasp each other. Dissolves to an infant in a crib. The child slowly sits up and looks up. Cut to a close-up of the woman's face; she appears to be moved. Cut to the baby smiling in the crib. Cut to the woman picking up the baby (both of them smiling) in her arms. The woman speaks to the baby and the baby puts first one hand, then the other, on the woman's mouth. Dissolves to a painting of a Madonna and Child. Dissolves back to the woman and the baby. She is speaking to it, smiling and gently rocking it in her arms. Dissolves to a detail of another Madonna and Child painting. Dissolves to the woman, smiling, holding the naked baby against her bare chest; the baby is playing with the woman's cheeks. Dissolves to another Madonna and Child painting. Dissolves to the woman's bare back and the back of her head; over her shoulder rests the baby's head, its face towards the camera and clearly visible.

A woman preparing a cloth nappy on a table. Cut to a baby's bottle, filled with milk, sitting in a pot of boiling water on a cooker. Baby's shoes on a piece of furniture; 3 other pairs of shoes appear, successively, alongside the original 2 pairs. A woman's hand holds a child's hand and they move along the lines of writing in a book. Cut to a young girl sitting in her mother's lap, holding a book; they are smiling. The little girl talking to her mother, in whose laps she sits. Cut to a man with a small film camera in his hands; he motions to someone with his finger, indicating that he wishes them to draw near. The little girl jumps down from her mother's lap. Cut to the little girl being lifted by her father onto a couch; he puts a teddy bear in her arms, sits down opposite her and begins to film her with the hand-held camera. Cut to the woman smiling. Cut to the man, the woman, a boy and the girl in a sitting room. The lights dim and the man turns on a film projector. Cut to film of the girl with a teddy bear in her arms; and the boy with an American Indian headdress on and a plastic revolver in his hand. Film of two infants, both wearing party hats and crying. Film of children sitting at school desks; and of children running out of a school. More film of children running out of a school. And film of Hawaiian children dancing in grass skirts.

A man and a woman pushing children on swings. A woman holding a baby against her bare chest; the baby puts its hand on the woman's mouth and the woman plays with the baby's hand.

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