Zéro de conduite (0 in behavior)

Figure 1.--This poster for the movie shows one of the boys in a military-style cap and pea jacket smoking a cigar. 

This French black and white movie from Jean Vigo was released in 1933. It was a short film only 43 minutes. It depicts life in a French boys' college. There are boarders and day-pupils, I would say between 9 and 14 years old. It is not a religious college but I cannot say whether it is private or public, but the fact that it had boarders suggest that it was a private sdchool.. The movie finishes with the revolt of four boys throwing things to the guests from the roofs during the college fête. A precursor of the British public school movie If. Here is a description of the pupils' clothes as depicted in the film.

Start of the Academic Year

The boys at the start of the academic year are pictured coming to school. In the train, 2 boarders about 14 years old: both wear a dark greatcoat with a half belt in the back decorated with 4 gilded buttons, double breasted (2x5 gilded buttons) plus 2 more buttons apparently for the lapels. White shirts with dark ties. One wears short pants (fancy clear wool) and rather dark knee socks with 1 colored band at the top (British style), the other one wears a dark long pants. Dark shoes with strings and officer cap for both of them.

At the Station

The boys are pictured at the train statin. At the station another boy, about 12 years old, escorted by his mother. Dark pea jacket, double breasted, 2x2 gilded buttons, an officer cap, long hair, clear short pants rather short, clear mid socks, dark shoes with string.
3/ At the dormitory Nightshirts and pajamas. 4/ Break in the playground Casual clothes (no uniform), with or without smocks. Smocks are black and closed at the back. As apparently no one wants to button the other's smock only the top button is attached and as there is no belt of any kind (except for one with a military belt other the smock) smocks are flying when the pupils are walking or running. Mainly short pants, 1 knickers, some long pants, various knee socks including English style, various scarves, some jackets, some sweaters, one Jacquard-style sweater, some berets (all the berets are strongly deep-set, no hair going beyond).

Figure 2.--The boys are seen here away from home. They had to wear their full uniform when leaving school. 


Boys are pictured walking. They wear the uniform greatcoats (one with the peacoat) with the officer caps. Under the greatcoats usual clothes, mainly short pants, some various scarves, some various knee socks.

At School

Inside the college only one boy about 14 year old wear the uniform and completely (greatcoat, jacket and long pants)


The formal uniform is only worn outside the college, not inside where casual clothes are worn. Martial uniforms, not the glitzy British style. However some knee socks look like the English ones. About half of the pupils wear smocks; they are black, of the style closed at the back and worn without any belt (except for one). Officer cap is part of the uniform and only a few berets are worn casually. Mainly short pants. Short pants, sweaters, scarves even knee socks of any style.

Related Filns

A reader writes, A British reader tells us, "'Zero de Conduite' was later remade in the U.K. The title was 'If'. Also as a comedy film staring a British Actor called Jimmy Edwards entitled 'Wacko'."


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Created: January 28, 2000
Last updated: 7:37 PM 3/28/2010