"La ligne de demarcation" is arguably the most successful Chabrol movie of his transitional period -roughly from "l'oeil du malin" (1963) to "la route de Corinthe (1967).
Although there are many characters ,this is a well-constructed script ,adapted from the Colonel Remy's book.The film is dedicated to French men and women who became smugglers and helped soldiers and Jews to cross the demarcation line which divided France into two parts:occupied and unoccupied zone during WW2.
Among many characters the couple Maurice Ronet/Jean Seberg stands out:he is a defeated officer,his war is over ,and he cannot get over the 1940 debacle.On the contrary her war has only begun .she's involved in resistance and he thinks at the beginning of the movie that finally what happened was fair cause the Germans are the strongest.Seberg's beauty illuminates the movie:her face when she hears the coded message "It's a long way to Gibraltar" is one of the rare moments of happiness in a somber movie.French are not all depicted as heroes.Some are hateful cowards ,who pretend they help the Jews and gives them away to the gestapo.
In its way,"la ligne de démarcation" foreshadows several aspects of Chabrol future heyday.Two of his favorite actors ,Stephane Audran and Jean Yanne are already here ("le boucher").The entomological depiction of the villages like in the aforementioned movie is here too.And in some scenes (the attic,the burial, the forest where the patrol is on the prowl) Chabrol displays his skills of master of suspense .Good cast.
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