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Female Agents (2008)
"Les femmes de l'ombre" (original title)

 -  Drama | War  -  5 March 2008 (France)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 4,928 users  
Reviews: 25 user | 31 critic

In May 1944, a group of French servicewomen and resistance fighters are enlisted into the British Special Operations Executive commando group under the command of Louise Desfontaines and ... See full summary »

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Cast

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

In May 1944, a group of French servicewomen and resistance fighters are enlisted into the British Special Operations Executive commando group under the command of Louise Desfontaines and her brother Pierre. Their mission, to rescue a British army geologist caught reconnoitering the beaches at Normandy, and to kill a German SS colonel who is close to figuring out the imminent secret of D-Day, proves to be emotional and brutal. The story is inspired by the accomplishments of decorated SOE agent Lisé de Baissac. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

5 March 2008 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Female Agents  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£68,412 (UK) (27 June 2008)

Gross:

£157,077 (UK) (4 July 2008)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the Cinema Intelligence Agency website, "The French title ["Les femmes de l'ombre"] translates as "Women of the Shadows" which could be mistaken for "Shady Ladies" hence the pragmatic English title of "Female Agents"." See more »

Goofs

The scene in Holloway prison where the murderess is recruited to the mission, shows her looking out onto a courtyard were a scaffold is erected. Hangings in Britain by this time were conducted indoors in a room adjacent to the condemned cell. Prisoners were not aware of where the gallows was in order to spare them anxiety. See more »

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User Reviews

 
An important and unique contribution to recent WWII films
27 May 2010 | by (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) – 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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