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Lacombe Lucien
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Lacombe, Lucien (1974) More at IMDbPro »Lacombe Lucien (original title)

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Lacombe, Lucien -- One of the first French films to address the issue of collaboration during the German occupation, Louis Malle's brave and controversial Lacombe, Lucien traces a young peasant's journey from potential Resistance member to Gestapo recruit.

Overview

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Down 26% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
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View company contact information for Lacombe, Lucien on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
29 September 1974 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
A small town in the south-west of France, summer of 1944. Having failed to join the resistance, the 18 year old Lucien Lacombe... See more » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 6 wins & 3 nominations See more »
NewsDesk:
(4 articles)
User Reviews:
Masterpiece See more (35 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)
Pierre Blaise ... Lucien Lacombe

Aurore Clément ... 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
Jean Bousquet ... Peyssac
Franz Rudnick
Jean-Louis Blum
Claude Marcan
Jean Maurat
Gabriel Cabessut
Mimi Juskiewenski
Albert Tillet
René Thauran
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mimi Juskienwenski
Jean Mourat
Roger Riffard
Walter Seldmayer
René Thouron
Philippe Henriot ... Himself (voice) (archive sound) (uncredited)

Directed by
Louis Malle 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Louis Malle 
Patrick Modiano 

Produced by
Louis Malle .... producer
Claude Nedjar .... producer
 
Cinematography by
Tonino Delli Colli 
 
Film Editing by
Suzanne Baron 
 
Casting by
Catherine Vernoux 
 
Production Design by
Ghislain Uhry 
 
Set Decoration by
Henri Vergnes 
 
Costume Design by
Corinne Jorry 
 
Makeup Department
Thi-Loan Nguyen .... makeup artist (as Nguyen Thi Loan)
Janou Pottier .... hair stylist
 
Production Management
Paul Maigret .... production manager
Jean-Pierre Pessoz .... unit manager trainee
Roland Thénot .... unit manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jean-Pierre Dion .... assistant director
Marc Grunebaum .... assistant director
 
Sound Department
Nara Kollery .... sound mixer
Jean-Claude Laureux .... sound engineer
Michel Vionnet .... boom operator
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Daniel Barrau .... assistant camera
François Catonné .... assistant camera
Louis Gasperina .... chief electrician
André Thiéry .... key grip
Patrice Wyers .... camera operator
Pierre Zucca .... still photographer
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Jeanine Fauvel .... wardrobe
Geneviève Tonnelier .... wardrobe
 
Editorial Department
Reine Wekstein .... assistant editor
 
Music Department
Stéphane Grappelli .... musician
 
Other crew
Sylvette Baudrot .... script supervisor
Simone Clément .... production secretary
Christian Ferry .... development
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Lacombe Lucien" - France (original title)
See more »
Runtime:
138 min
Language:
Color:
Color (Eastmancolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Quotes:
Albert Horn, the tailor:[to Lucien] It's funny... I can't manage to hate you completely.See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in The 100 Greatest War Films (2005) (TV)See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
38 out of 39 people found the following review useful.
Masterpiece, 15 August 2006
Author: Chris Knipp from Berkeley, California

Lucien, the provincial teenager who tries to join the resistance and when rejected becomes a Gestapo killer, may be more innocent and ignorant as well as more brutish than the average Frenchman of the occupation; but many French people must have fallen into collaboration like this. The period was rife with troubling complicity. Released at last in a fine US DVD version by Criterion Collection available with Murmur of the Heart (1971) and Goodbye, Children (1987), this rich, powerful work is not one for US film buffs to miss. This trio from Malle reveals him to be the New Wave's premier chronicler of the moral complexities and tragedies of the coming-of-age process.

For the lead role Malle found the remarkable Pierre Blaise, tragically killed in a car accident a year after release. A youth without previous acting experienced but with the provincial accent Malle couldn't find among professionals, Blaise combines the cherubic and the dangerous, the brutish and the sweetly innocent. Sullen yet ineluctably present, Blaise has great presence and essentially makes the film. In a French TV interview with Malle at the time still available online Malle says Blaise was compared with Delon. Blaise turned out to be "very, very gifted," Malle adds.

The atmosphere of this interview, incidentally, suggests that in some circles not everyone in France was as violently upset by or opposed to the film as we are now told. After all, Le Monde did hail Lacombe as a masterpiece initially, even if they recanted and called it "dangerous" later. "Dangerous" is a strange criticism for a film, a sort of backhanded flattery.

When considering the moral ambiguity of the piece, it's worth considering Allociné's commentary, which points out the following: "Malle adopted a Marxist approach in looking at the collaboration. He stated that his Lucien was inspired by Marx's concept of the lumpenproletariat as a social class with no choice other than to collaborate with the forces of repression because its members have no political culture available to them. Thus in the filmmaker's mind Lucien Labombe's enlistment in the militia was a choice determined not by ideology but by a need to gain material comfort and better his social position." This is in fact a classic "collabo" situation: while some supporters of the German occupation did so because of fascist, anti-Semitic beliefs, many more did it for expediency. It was the armée des ombres (to use Jean-Pierre Melville's title), the résistence "shadow army," whose members acted out of idealism. The determinism and sheer stupidity of Lucien's enlistment is underlined by the fact that it's late in the war: the Americans are coming, the Germans are losing, and the French resistance is inflicting daily casualties on the closest collaborators, as we see when Lucien's French Gestapo bosses get wounded and killed.

Lucien's lumpenproletariat helplessness couldn't be made clearer. Lucien begins with a job emptying bedpans. His father is prisoner of the Germans. His mother is living with another man and tells him not to come around any more. His prospects are grim. He has no status -- not even the comfort of parents. Though he's an ignorant boy, he has the solid (lumpen) physique of a man, and he also has a certain brutality: we see him kill first a small bird with a sling shot, then rabbits and chickens, and each time this is a gesture in response to being put down or rejected. Yet he has confidence. He asks his schoolteacher to take him into the maquis, but the man rejects him out of hand as too young, useless ("we have many like you"). By chance -- a tire blowout on his rickety bike -- he falls into a den of Gestapo collaborators. He's not daunted; he recognizes a bike champion among them and drinks with the men and with his tongue thus loosened, in an act of childish revenge whose dire consequences he probably doesn't know (and which are initially hidden from him), he informs on the teacher. He's soon taken to meet Albert Horn, an elegant Jewish tailor from Paris in hiding with his mother and daughter (Aurore Clément, intense in her first screen role). Horn makes a suit for Lucien, later another: they become his new uniform, an escape from his peasant identity and stepping stone to the power, status, and money that are why he's playing this deadly game.

On the way to the tailor in a collaborator's posh, sporty convertible, Malle brilliantly has Lucien try on a pair of big sunglasses -- which instantly transform him. By dint of this little gesture, the country bumpkin -- with his clear skin, rich wavy dark hair, and strong bone structure -- instantly becomes a blasé movie star. Coming of age in this film means sexiness, transformation, danger. Malle's teenagers all live in adult worlds of moral transgression but retain the prettiness and innocence of youth. What comes next clinches the moral ambiguity of Lucien's role: he falls in love with the very Parisian but still Jewish daughter of Monsieur Horn.

Lucien wields his new power crudely -- he has no finesse, only self-confidence and a well-tailored suit -- but he is drawn to Horn as a substitute father and to the daughter because she -- who herself rejects her Jewishness -- represents urban sophistication as well as femininity. Why does the tellingly named France (Horn takes no political or moral stand himself, but does love the country) sleep with Lucien? There are half a dozen very good reasons. The trajectory of Lacombe Lucien troubles us and makes us weep.

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