Zero for Conduct (1933)

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Zero for Conduct is a 1933 French featurette directed by Jean Vigo. It was first shown on 7 April 1933 and was subsequently banned in France until 15 February 1946.

The film draws extensively on Vigo's boarding school experiences to depict a repressive and bureaucratised educational establishment in which surreal acts of rebellion occur, reflecting Vigo's anarchist view of childhood. The title refers to a mark the boys would get which prevented them from going out on Sundays.

Though the film was not immediately popular, it has proven to be enduringly influential. Francois Truffaut paid homage to Zero for Conduct in his 1959 film The 400 Blows. The anarchic classroom and recess scenes in Truffaut's film borrow from Vigo's film, as does a classic scene in which a mischievous group of schoolboys are led through the streets by one of their schoolmasters. Director Lindsay Anderson has acknowledged that his own film if.... was inspired by Zero for Conduct. Its influence can also be detected in Richard Lester's "A Hard Day's Night".