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The Confession (1970)
"L'aveu" (original title)

GP  -  Drama | Thriller  -  9 December 1970 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 1,264 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 6 critic

Anton Ludvik, aka Gerard, is vice-minister of Foreign Affairs of Czechoslovakia. He realizes he is watched and followed. One day, he is arrested and put into jail, in solitary confinement. ... See full summary »

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Title: The Confession (1970)

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
A.L. / Artur London
...
Mme L. / Lise London
...
Kohoutek
Michel Vitold ...
Smola
Jean Bouise ...
Boss of factory
László Szabó ...
Secret policeman
Monique Chaumette
Guy Mairesse ...
Le médecin
Marc Eyraud ...
Un politique
Gérard Darrieu ...
Un policier
Gilles Ségal
Charles Moulin
Nicole Vervil
Georges Aubert ...
Tonda
André Cellier
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Storyline

Anton Ludvik, aka Gerard, is vice-minister of Foreign Affairs of Czechoslovakia. He realizes he is watched and followed. One day, he is arrested and put into jail, in solitary confinement. Will be shown the mental tortures during the investigations and how a faithful top-ranking civil servant is made to confess to treason. Based on the true story of Czechoslovakian communist Artur London, this is not an anticommunist film but a plea against totalitaism. Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »
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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

9 December 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Confession  »

Filming Locations:


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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Color:

(Eastmancolor)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Italian censorship visa #56884 dated 21 September 1970. See more »

Quotes

A.L.: They're going to hang me. They'll make me disappear, like Wagner is Moscow. They will say I commited suicide for having too many regrets.
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User Reviews

 
Exposing the wounds of a frailty regime which pretended to be error proof. Brutal, suffocating and realistic film.
22 March 2013 | by (São Paulo, Brazil) – See all my reviews

In "L'Aveau" Costa-Gavras breaks at once and for all in defending one political ideology and attacking the other, like he did in "Z". This time he goes to show that both sides have their problematic aspects, they all make severe mistakes, we can't know which was good and which was bad. The bottom of line is that both with capitalism and communism someone decent always had to pay the prize for trying to do the right thing.

Yves Montand plays the victim once again (murdered in "Z" and arrested by militants in "Etat de Siege" closing the combative Gavras political trilogy, "Missing" goes as an addendum, made years later after those films), a Czech and Communist vice-minister who'll be arrested and suffer on the hands of other members of the party who consider him a traitor of their cause. They believe he was a spy who had connections with American officials and all they want is a full confession of his crimes, which never existed, never happened (and they know that!), using of mental and physical methods to achieve results with the prisoner. The confession extraction is the real purpose to be visualized in here, exploited in painful and realistic details, methods used by the Communist - I recalled some of the descriptions made by Soljenitsin in "Gulag Archipelag", released on the same year as "L'Aveau" - like privation of sleep, keep marching at all times inside of the cell, and many other horrible techniques they used on prisoners during months and years if possible in order to break their resistance and confess everything, real or not.

We have to give plenty of credit to Montand during those scenes, which are not few. Definitely not an easy shooting to make, you feel his exhaustion, weakening each frame goes by, the visible weight-loss, he went to extremes very few actors can reach and no, this isn't much method acting, one does not go in training method for those scenes, he just put himself there at each sequence. It doesn't go well for the character and it sure does not go well with the audience. It's hard to watch since the brutality and the frequency everything happens is so repetitive as if Gavras was trying to make the people in the audience to break out from the movie when in fact he's just being real with the events, causing some stir in us to the point where we ask ourselves how come this guy is not guilty of treason.

In this manifest against the totalitarianism, the writer and director seemed to not making of the Socialists the almost heroes they were in "Z", while investigating the assassination of the popular leader. Their destructive paranoia, the unsubstantial suspicion they had with their own members, it's all a smoke curtain to hide the flaws of bigger people working on the Party and to hide the failures of a deeply flawed and inconsistent regime.

Authentic, honorable and well-acted in all possible ways, just not much easy to endure. But truthful, powerful, haunting and rewarding nonetheless. 9/10


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