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Inspiring story beautifully filmed but erratically told.
My sentiments about this film closely parallel those of the previous reviewer. The selfless efforts of l'Abbe Pierre to save many Frenchmen from certain death during the brutal winter of 1954, make for quite an inspiring story. Unfortunately, in this instance, it was poorly told. Neither the generally excellent cast nor the hauntingly beautiful cinematography fully overcome the distraction of a sometimes choppy script coupled with poor editing.
Even so there are more than enough great "moments" and superb performances in this film to make it well worth watching. With little previous support from the script, Lambert Wilson manages to bring the piety, dedication and charisma of l'Abbe Pierre to life, not just in words but with his whole being. He is particularly effective in the delivery of l'Abbe Pierre's radio speech. You don't need to know a word of French to be moved by this reading.
Other performances, especially those in the roles of l'Abbe's corp of homeless entrepreneurs and the tin-eared politicos are also excellent. The consistent visual style of the movie is amazing considering that the virtual street life of l'Abbe and his cohorts continually stands in stark juxtaposition to the elegant, well-fed existence of those with the money and power to resolve a life threatening situation.
I would love to see this movie re-cut and issued on DVD with extras that provide audiences outside France with its historical context and an overview of the life and admiration accorded l'Abbe Pierre. Until then, scare up a SECAM video, even without subtitles, and enjoy a beautiful movie about the kind of people our whole world needs now!
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