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Farewell (2009)

L'affaire Farewell (original title)
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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 (14) »


Moscow 1981. An act of treason that changed the world. See more »


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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:



| (archive footage)| (archive footage)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The poem referred to in the film was "The Death of the Wolf" (1843) (French: "La Mort du loup") by Alfred de Vigny. See more »


The Kiev's subway station "The Golden Gate" is shown as a Moscow's subway station. Actually the station "The Golden Gate" was built 8 years later - in 1989. See more »


Features The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) See more »


Performed by Léo Ferré
See more »

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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

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