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The Accompanist (1992)

L'accompagnatrice (original title)
In Nazi-occupied Paris, a young accompanist named Sophie Vasseur gets a job with famed singer Irene Brice. As Irene's husband Charles, a businessman collaborating with the Nazis, wrestles ... See full summary »

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Writers:

(scenario, adaptation and dialogue), (scenario, adaptation and dialogue) | 1 more credit »
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3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Sophie Vasseur
...
Charles Brice
Elena Safonova ...
Irène Brice
...
Jacques Fabert
Julien Rassam ...
Benoît Weizman
Bernard Verley ...
Jacques Ceniat
Nelly Borgeaud ...
Madame Vasseur
...
Ministre
Niels Dubost ...
Young Man on Train
Sacha Briquet ...
Dignitary
Nathalie Bach
Gilbert Bahon ...
Royal Coachman
Marcel Berbert
Valérie Bettencourt ...
Juliette
Gabriel Cattand ...
Parisian Impresario
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Storyline

In Nazi-occupied Paris, a young accompanist named Sophie Vasseur gets a job with famed singer Irene Brice. As Irene's husband Charles, a businessman collaborating with the Nazis, wrestles with his conscience, Sophie becomes obsessed with Irene, taking on the role of maid as well as accompanist, living life vicariously through Irene's triumphs and affairs. Written by Gary Dickerson <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements and language | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

23 December 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Accompanist  »

Box Office

Gross:

$725,519 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Irene Brice: You drink too much. Everyone does.
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Soundtracks

Trio: Le pâtre sur le rocher
Composed by Franz Schubert
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User Reviews

 
another winning film from france
7 December 2000 | by (Montreal, Quebec) – See all my reviews

A seemingly small but strongly rendered film. Sophie, 20, lives in the poor quarter of Paris but is a talented and completely understated pianist. She gains employment as the accompanist for wealthy and daringly honest woman, a professional singer who graces the film with lush performances from Massenet, Brahms, Mozart etc... Yet she is a woman beholden to her husband who is himself in 'import-export' during WWII, ie. playing off both sides as long as he can. He's outspoken, she's a songbird with emotional depth and secrets, and the accompanist is near mute--observing, spying, daring herself to act and to reveal secrets, yet always loyal to her master.

Over and over the film goes to Sophie's face, watching her reactions, gauging what she's thinking of and what she might do next. And always, Romane Bohringer is up to the task. This is a great performance by a young French lead, comparable to Elodie Bouchez in La Vie Revee des Anges, but here she is wholly deferring, only gaining enough courage to talk to herself in the mirror. Always on the precipice of action, her almost blank impassive face gives the film tremendous suspense and great feeling.

The metaphors of the film are simple and mercifully left unspoken: if accompianment subsumes the self to the master performer, collaboration is a marriage that cannot be tolerated. In this way, the film speaks to the French dilemma and guilt of WWII but does so through the lens of marriage and the distant observer who becomes wound closer around the marriage bond than even she realizes, with startling results. If the key moment is about misdirection, then the film as a whole is about whether we allow ourselves to be misdirected.

The focus is small, but the themes are large and subtlely drawn. Likewise, the production is top notch--clear and never showy. The direction is near flawless, and the music is bright and finely wrought. You'll watch it for the music, for Bohringer pere et fille, but the story is every bit as interesting and patiently rendered as it needs to be. This is neither avant-garde, nor epic as we tend to expect much French fare is; it is closer in spirit to Patrice Leconte's work, but even more muted, but no less honest and surprising.


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