Lacombe Lucien (1974)
With a superb music score by Django Reinhardt, this is a Louis Malle film about the German occupation of France. Based on his own experiences in France during the occupation, Malle's film does not paint a pretty picture of the French Resistance and eventually he emigrated to America because of the critical reaction to this film. Essentially the tale of a young boy who wants to join the Resistance but is shunned by them because of his youth, he joins the Gestapo. Unfortunately, he then falls in love with a young Jewish girl. Push comes to shove and he suddenly has the unsympathetic Resistance and the Gestapo hot on his trail. Not a pretty picture of either side. … More
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Critic Reviews for Lacombe Lucien
This coolly detached WWII chronicle, which is critical of the French Resistance, is one of Louis Malles' strongest and most personal films.
Malle's absolute faith in his skills as a storyteller and in the inherent power of this true story puts Lacombe, Lucien in the company of the best humanist portraits ever filmed.
Superbly evocative of the period in both imagery and mood, Lacombe Lucien is a character study of a young man during a dark chapter in French history
A controversial WWII drama about the German occupation of France that has a young French Gestapo policeman romance a young Jewess.
The collaborationist anti-hero finds Malle instantly broaching a cultural taboo, compounded when the traitorous young man forces himself into a sexual relationship with a not-entirely unyielding girl named France.
Audience Reviews for Lacombe Lucien
Lacombe Lucien at first glance seems to be a bit of a contradiction. Who would join the Gestapo after being shunned by the Resistance and then go on to enter a relationship with a Jewish Girl? It has been said that the character "must remain forever mysterious, forever beyond our sympathy" which I couldn't have said better myself. People have, do and will always make decisions that make no sense and this is Malle's exploration of the idea. The idea was so unpopular with the French that he actually left France for America soon after. You can see why it was controversial, people do remember the Resistance before those that didn't abide and for very good reason, although most people didn't have a choice. Facing the fact that some people did join the Nazi ideal because they either agreed with it or used it as an opportunity is a hard thing to do and even harder to understand. In 1974 many French people would have still remembered this but lest it be forgotten. The last scene is made even more poignant by the fact that the young actor Pierre Blaise died just months after at the age of 23.
[font=Century Gothic]In "Lacombe Lucien," it is 1944 in Southwest France where Lucien(Pierre Blaise) works in a nursing home. Given five days off, he returns home to his mother(Gilberte Rivet) and finds things radically changed with his father in a German prison camp. Bored, he tries to sign up with the French resistance but is denied by Robert Peyssac(Jean Bousquet) as being too young. Having no other options, he returns to the nursing home but his bike gets a flat causing him to arrive after dark when he is drawn to a party at a hotel which turns out to be Gestapo headquarters. The German police take a liking to the youth after he turns in Peyssac and is taken to get his first suit.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Directed by Louis Malle, "Lacombe Lucien" is a chilling look at occupied France where there is a compulsion for the populace to inform on each other. While there may be some easy answers as to why some people would collaborate with the Nazis such as anti-Semitism and anti-Communism(There is a Gestapo member who is black and I would have loved to have heard his story.), Lucien is another matter entirely as his alliance with the Nazis is a matter of circumstance. Apparently, he lacks a conscience and gets a little drunk on whatever power he has. However, as one character puts it, Lucien is somehow not entirely despicable. On the other hand, he is not likable, either.[/font]
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