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Les femmes de l'ombre (2008)

TV-MA | | Drama, War | 5 March 2008 (France)
1:35 | Clip

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In 1944, in London, Lieutenant Pierre Desfontaines assigns his sister Louise Desfontaines to convince three other women to form a five-woman task force under his command to rescue a British... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Louise Desfontaines
Jeanne Faussier
Suzy Desprez
Gaëlle Lemenech
Karl Heindrich
Maria Luzzato
Pierre Desfontaines
Lieutenant Becker
Robin Renucci ...
Claude Granville
Colonel Maurice Buckmaster
Jurgen Mash ...
Gerd Von Rundstedt
Le géologue anglais
Alexandre Jazede ...
René Bourienne


In 1944, in London, Lieutenant Pierre Desfontaines assigns his sister Louise Desfontaines to convince three other women to form a five-woman task force under his command to rescue a British geologist from a German hospital in the countryside. The geologist was assigned by Colonel Maurice Buckmaster in a reconnaissance mission of the soil of the beaches at Normandy for the D-Day and had been captured by the Germans. Louise and Pierre force the prostitute Jeanne Faussier that is imprisoned for murdering her pimp; the explosives expert Gaëlle Lemenech that misses action; and the former dancer and fiancé of Colonel Karl Heindrich, Suzy Desprez, using blackmail and unethical methods to fly to France and join the Italian agent Maria Luzzato in the assignment. They are well-succeeded but when they deliver the geologist to the British aeroplane, Pierre betrays the group. He forces the women to travel to Paris to kill Colonel Heindrich who suspects that the landing of the allied forces will be... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | War


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Release Date:

5 March 2008 (France)  »

Also Known As:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The secret code word was PHOENIX. See more »


The basic premise of this film is that a Geologist has been sent to France to study the sand on the beach is incorrect. Frogmen landed at night on the beach to take samples and were then taken back immediately to England. There is no possibility of any access being gained to the beach by a civilian as they were heavily guarded. See more »

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User Reviews

An important and unique contribution to recent WWII films
27 May 2010 | by See all my reviews

Films abound regarding arguably the greatest tragedy of mankind--World War II--and so many focus on the heroic sacrifices of men. What makes "Les Femmes de L'ombre" shine is that it features the typically unsung contributors to the war effort--the heroines who shared the same audacity and love of country and liberty as the men.

Aside from its cast of four gorgeous French women (and an equally delightful Italian), it features a simple, but clever agenda--the actions of a cell of saboteurs and assassins working for the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) in occupied France. There are no fantastic stories here--no plots to kill Hitler or to sabotage atomic research. Instead, the story narrows its focus to the extraordinary efforts to keep secret the particulars of the inevitable invasion of the European continent by the Allies. This is no small order, and there is much suffering in keeping what must remain secret.

The emotions in the film are well played by the actors and actresses. During the few brutal, but necessary scenes, the cries of anguish and pain are real and powerfully emotive. Louise (Sophie Marceau) is convincing as a vengeful widow who works alongside her dedicated brother, Pierre (Julien Boisselier). Jeanne (Julie Depardieu, daughter of the famous French actor Gerard Depardieu) plays a callous whore motivated at first by remission of her prison sentence, then by money, then by revenge. Gaëlle (Déborah François) portrays the naïve, religious girl who is seemingly the only true French patriot of the group. Maria (Maya Sansa) is a driven, Italian Jew whose family met its fate in a concentration camp. The most reluctant member is the lovely Suzy (Marie Gillain), whose questionable past allied her with the most unlikely of characters, Colonel Heindrich (Moritz Bleibtreu) of the Wehrmacht and the film's major antagonist. Unexpected support comes from local profiteer, Eddy (Vincent Rottiers), whose connection to Colonel Heindrich enables the saboteurs to get close to him to fulfill their mission.

If there's a noticeable weakness to the film, it is Bleibtreu cast as a Nazi colonel. He's neither evil nor intimidating. He lacks the sinister persona of Colonel Landa (Christoph Waltz) of "Inglourious Basterds," a decidedly less serious film of the genre. Where Colonel Heindrich should have been clever and cruel, his performance instead is wooden and uninspiring. Bleibtreu may be a little out of his realm in a role so serious.

Les Femmes de L'ombre is a solid contribution to the WWII films of the last decade. I hope it inspires more stories of the Resistance to be told with attention to the incredible sacrifices and dedication of normal people confronted with the horrors of Nazism.

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