Farewell (2009)
"L'affaire Farewell" (original title)

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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 5,371 users   Metascore: 74/100
Reviews: 30 user | 73 critic | 25 from Metacritic.com

The French intelligence service alerts the U.S. about a Soviet spy operation during the height of the Cold War, which sets off an unfortunate chain of events.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Philippe Magnan ...
Choukhov (as Oleksii Gorbunov)
Marc Berman ...
Christian Carion ...
Evgeniy Kharlanov ...
Igor (as Yevgeni Kharlanov)
Lauriane Riquet ...


In 1985, Sergei Gregoriev, a Soviet colonel, wants to force his nation to reform, so he leaks secret information to the West. He picks an unlikely contact, a Pierre Froment, French nebbish in the diplomatic corps. Gregoriev keeps a lot of balls in the air - a marriage, a teen son he's trying to bond with, a mistress who's a colleague at work; his tradecraft is equally reckless. Meanwhile, Froment keeps his spy work secret from his German wife, and Mitterrand uses Gregoriev's information to make France indispensable to Reagan and his government. When Gregoriev leaks a list of key Soviet moles and spies, Gorbachev is left without secret intelligence. Will Gregoriev get what he wants? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

spy | french | cold war | france | aids | See All (15) »


Secrets have the power to change the course of history.


Drama | Thriller


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Release Date:

23 September 2009 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Farewell  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


€17,500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Alexander Avdeev (Russian ambassador in France who became Russian Culture Minister and who had been expelled from France in 1983 because of Farewell) blocked most Russian actors to play in this movie, including Sergey Makovetskiy and Nikita Mikhalkov, because he did not want to back a movie about a Russian traitor. He also blocked authorizations to film in Moscow, while most of the plot takes place in Moscow. Christian Carion had to pretend to film a Coca Cola advertisement for the few images of the city. See more »


The helicopter in the end of the movie is marked US Army, but it clearly shows a Swedish aircraft registration. See more »


Featured in En bonne intelligence (2010) See more »


Performed by Alexandrov Red Army Ensemble
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User Reviews

28 September 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

FAREWELL is an elegant depiction of Cold War espionage based on true events that proved catalytic to the demise of the Soviet Union. Pierre Froment (Guillame Canet), a French businessman who is 'above suspicion' due to his amateur status, is compelled to deliver high level intelligence from reckless, disillusioned KGB veteran Sergei Grigoriev (Emir Kusturica) to Reagan's cabinet via François Mitterrand, thereby crippling Soviet intelligence.

Whilst Froment and Grigoriev convincingly resemble weary bureaucrats, scenes in the White House lack credibility - perhaps an attempt at satire by Carion, they are nevertheless rendered redundant by the sombre refinement of the film. Cultural boundaries between East and West deliver brief comic reprieve, and signal the imminent disintegration of an already stagnant regime.

Suffused with nostalgia, we observe Brezhnev-era Moscow cast in the lurid yellow light of street-lamps, or bleached white by lens flare, with an effortless attention to detail - Muscovites stand in endless queues on street corners as Soviet vehicles roam empty boulevards flanked by Socialist realist statues. Subterranean scenes add a noir aesthetic, reflecting the shades of deception throughout - in the words of Grigoriev; "I live in lies and solitude".

Kusturica gives a shatteringly affecting performance, conveying Grigoriev's wistful patriotism and hope for his son's future with a rare eloquence. Carion creates real suspense and accommodates subtle plot twists, but there are no cheap thrills here- the film defies the brash conventions of its genre. Understated, fluid camera-work and dedicated performances deliver a film of classic style and depth. 5 out of 5

Cambridge Film Festival Daily

20 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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