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Lacombe, Lucien (1974)

Lacombe Lucien (original title)
A small town in the south-west of France, summer of 1944. Having failed to join the resistance, the 18 year old Lucien Lacombe, whose father is a prisoner in Germany and whose mother dates ... See full summary »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Pierre Blaise ...
Lucien Lacombe
...
France Horn
Holger Löwenadler ...
Albert Horn
Therese Giehse ...
Bella Horn
Stéphane Bouy ...
Jean-Bernard
Loumi Iacobesco ...
Betty Beaulieu
René Bouloc ...
Faure
Pierre Decazes ...
Aubert
Jean Rougerie ...
Tonin
Cécile Ricard ...
Marie
Jacqueline Staup ...
Lucienne Chauvelot
Ave Ninchi ...
Mme. Georges
Pierre Saintons ...
Hippolyte
Gilberte Rivet ...
mére de Lucien
Jacques Rispal ...
M. Laborit
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Storyline

A small town in the south-west of France, summer of 1944. Having failed to join the resistance, the 18 year old Lucien Lacombe, whose father is a prisoner in Germany and whose mother dates her employer, works for the German police. He then meets France Horn, the daughter of a rich jewish tailor. Written by Vincent Merlaud <merlaud@studi.mathematik.hu-berlin.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

29 September 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lacombe, Lucien  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was considered rather controversial at the time as it showed a more accurate depiction of the ratio of collaborators to resistance unlike many other French produced films that suggest there were very few collaborators due to the sense of betrayal felt. See more »

Quotes

Marie: Filthy Jew! They all have syphilis! You hear me? She'll give it to you! Let me go! I want to talk to the filthy bitch! She has no right! Let me go! Let me go! Let me go!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The 100 Greatest War Films (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

Brilliant and Complex Story of Innocence Lost
5 August 2002 | by (Vancouver, B.C.) – See all my reviews

Lacombe Lucien is an understated yet complex story of innocence corrupted by war. Though commercially successful, the film was judged harshly in France by critics on the Left because of its non-judgmental stance toward collaboration. Indeed, the film offers no psychological interpretations but is content to simply show what happened in almost Bressonian fashion (Malle worked as an assistant with Bresson in producing a documentary).

Based on the childhood memories of Louis Malle, Lacombe Lucien tells the story of Lucien (Pierre Blaise) a rural French teenager who, having been rejected by the French resistance in 1944, joins with the German occupiers and becomes an enforcer. It is brilliant in its understated portrait of how self-interest and pride can lead to regrettable choices.

Lucien lives with his mother together with another man while his father remains a prisoner of war. With limited education and lacking sophistication, Lucien is angered when his desire to join the underground is rejected because of his youth. Instead, he opportunistically becomes a member of the German police and soon takes on the persona of a surly thug. Malle makes clear that Lucien is neither fundamentally good nor bad, but only becomes involved with the Gestapo through a series of accidental circumstances. Though the film implies that Lucien is attracted to the Gestapo as a means for an individual without status or power to achieve a sense of self worth, ultimately Lucien must take responsibility for his choice.

He becomes involved with Albert Horn (Holger Lowenadler), a wealthy Jewish tailor from Paris, his mother Bella (Therese Giehse) who has lived in an Eastern European ghetto, and his young daughter France (Aurore Clement) who is totally Parisian and uncomfortable with her Jewish heritage. Their relationship becomes the turning point for Lucien's struggle to come to grips with who he is and retain his humanity. Though I felt repelled by Lucien's actions during the film, I also sympathized with his plight and understood the circumstances that led to his corruption. I felt he was moving toward self-awareness before the end of the film.

Lacombe Lucien poses moral questions about the point that innocence and immorality meet, and with its almost matter-of-fact style, the powerful conclusion almost takes us unaware. I found the film to be gripping and heartfelt and I would strongly recommend it. Pierre Blaise, in his first acting role as Lucien, turns in a performance of raw power. Unfortunately he was killed just one year later in an auto accident at the age of 24.


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