Paulette is four or five years old — too young to know about death. She and her parents are evacuating their village, running away from a German air raid during World War II. Paulette gets diverted by the body of a dead dog, which, ironically saves her life. While she is diverted, both parents are killed by the German plane.
After the confusion, she is found and “adopted” by a farm family. Her new brother Michel (who is about 8 or 9) tries to explain death to her, but Paulette can only understand it through the ritual and ornamentation of burial. Her naivete is almost charming in light of her pitiable situation. Meanwhile, the film’s plot threatens to separate her from her new family.
Forbidden Games is a remarkable and honest film in capturing Paulette’s curiosity, naivete, and reverence of death.