La Dernière Lettre

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Movie Info

In 1941, a Russian Jewish woman doctor lives in a small city in the Ukraine just seized by the Germans. She writes a last letter to her son, a famous Russian physicist who lives and works far from the front lines at a Soviet science research institute. She writes the letter a few days before she knows she and the other Jews in the city will be killed by the Germans. She speaks of her life, her relationship to her son, her love for him, her student life in Paris, her failed marriage. She recounts the reaction of her Russian and Ukrainian neighbors to the arrival of the Germans, the various responses of the Jewish community, the cruelty and horrors of the occupation, the help of some Russian neighbors, the greed and indifference of others, and her slow recognition that her Jewish heritage is more important to her than her Russian nationality or Communist ideology. The letter, with its detailed observations of daily life in the ghetto, reveals the fear, courage, frailty, compassion and dignity of this woman as she reviews her life and faces her death. -- © Zipporah Films


Critic Reviews for La Dernière Lettre

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (5)

  • Samie, a leading light in the highly respected French theatrical academy, the Comedie Francaise, speaks with a broad range of subtlety and outbursts of emotion. And those words are powerful.

    Dec 12, 2003
  • Mr. Wiseman's stubbornness is manifest in his work, and you will fall for the same quality in The Last Letter if you have any affection for his past work.

    Jan 29, 2003 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • In a tour-de-force performance, Samie conveys volumes with her powerful voice.

    Jan 29, 2003 | Rating: 3/4
  • Primal in its effect, The Last Letter demonstrates the power of language, performance, and narrative to hold an audience spellbound.

    Jan 28, 2003
  • Preserves for posterity a superb performance by Catherine Samie.

    Sep 17, 2002
  • First staged by Wiseman with France's acclaimed Comedie-Francaise, it has now been brought to the screen with all its devastating power intact.

    Apr 27, 2003 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

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