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A Self-Made Hero (1996)
"Un héros très discret" (original title)

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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 2,010 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 15 critic

Set in France at the end of World War II Albert Dehousse finds out his father wasn't a war hero and his mother is a collaborator. He leaves his wife and goes to Paris. Gradually he ... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Anouk Grinberg ...
Nadia Barentin ...
The General's Wife
Bernard Bloch ...
François Chattot ...
Philippe Duclos ...
Danièle Lebrun ...
Madame Dehousse
Armand de Baudry d'Asson ...
Wilfred Benaïche ...
Henry Nervoix
Monsieur Jo
Philippe Berodot ...
Gilles Del Frate ...
The Partisan


Set in France at the end of World War II Albert Dehousse finds out his father wasn't a war hero and his mother is a collaborator. He leaves his wife and goes to Paris. Gradually he inveigles himself with the resistance movement. They trust him and he helps them trace collaborators. Written by David Morgans <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Les vies les plus belles sont celles qu'on invente.


Drama | Comedy


See all certifications »


Official Sites:



Release Date:

12 September 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Self-Made Hero  »

Box Office


FRF 29,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$10,345 (USA) (12 September 1997)


$69,977 (USA) (5 December 1997)

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

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User Reviews

Near perfect cinematic satire
19 August 2001 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Set in the period before, during and just after WWII, Jacques Audiard's brilliant and witty satire is about a compulsive impostor, Albert Dehousse, who so successfully convinces the French authorities that he fought in the resistance that he is made an officer in the army occupying Germany. It is not the easiest of viewing for non-French speakers who have to follow the sub-titles, but is well worth the trouble.

The movie's timeframe flashes back and forward; and director Jacques Audiard tells the story via a number of different devices, including normally acted sequences, voice-over, mock documentary interviews, newsreel footage, and even shots of the orchestra playing the background music. Mathieu Kassowitz portrays adult Albert as someone who is superficially engaging, but is empty inside, and has to consciously learn and then act out almost every gesture or emotional response. Like the film, Albert consists of disparate fragments, skillfully edited together into a convincing whole.

There is probably a pointed message here for the movie's home audience, about the way France as a whole has exaggerated WWII resistance, and swept collaboration under the carpet. But the film raises general questions about how we play roles and falsify our past histories in everyday life; it also reminds us that impostors, including some so-called celebrities, depend on our gulliblity for their success.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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