In a small town in occupied France in 1941, the German officer, Werner Von Ebrennac is billeted in the house of the uncle and his niece. The uncle and niece refuse to speak to him, but each... See full summary »
In a small town in occupied France in 1941, the German officer, Werner Von Ebrennac is billeted in the house of the uncle and his niece. The uncle and niece refuse to speak to him, but each evening the officer warms himself by the fire and talks of his country, his music, and his idealistic views of the relationship between France and Germany. That is, until he visits Paris and discovers what is really going on ... Written by
Melville began filming without the rights to Vercors' novel; when Vercors heard of this, he met with Melville, who told him that if he did not like the film, he would burn the negative. Melville was also not in the screenwriters' or directors' unions and had difficulty in employing people and getting distribution. However, the film was an immense success, both critically and commercially and Vercors loved it. See more »
I am surprised that this movie is so little known (I must confess I did not know much about it either when I first went to see it). I think it is one of the best movies made in Europe in the first years after the WW2. It is quiet and simple, but very powerful at the same time. Without any killing or death in it, this film shows the absurdness and tragedy of war better than any other I have seen. At the same time, for me this was a very good insight in the spirit of French resistance. But above all, it is about a collapse of dreams, a conflict between one's conscience and ideology, and a realisation of how senseless human feelings, aspirations and the whole existence is made by the war. Very deep and impressive. I felt like crying at the end.
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