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A French village and its inhabitants go through the ups and (mainly) downs of the occupation by the German army from 1940 to 1945. The village doctor is assigned as mayor, and confronted with the challenges, dilemmas, and contradictory demands and situations. At the same time, therre is a lot of peronal interaction with a number of interesting characters Written by
"Un village français" is one of these rare TV series which suck you in through realistic plots mixing suspense, love, betrayal without being sensationalist, and staying simple (although the numerous love triangles are a little too much at times). French TV being filled with painfully mediocre, if not absolutely bad series, "Un village français" stands out as the best one out there, by far.
The realism of it is one of the factors which make it great. The actors are superb, their characters genuine, the women beautiful in a classy way (not tasteless bombshells), and the plots explore simple people's decisions during the hard circumstances of the Occupation, without ever openly judging their acts.
The series starts kind of slow. I'd say the first season is the weakest yet, even though it has the ultimate spectacular scenes when the German army takes control of the village. The series only gets better as the viewer is more familiar with each character, and follows their individual paths, their interactions, their fears and decisions. It takes its time. It doesn't rush into the events of the Occupation, and rather presents the slow evolution of French Collaboration as things get harsher and more fixed, and the characters ultimately need to find themselves and chose their definite side, or remain torn.
As said before, "Un village français" doesn't judge, staying remarkably neutral when possible, not opting for an easy manichean presentation of the Occupation. Many characters turned collaborators are not bad people and even try to do good, like the mayor of the village, or one young woman who has an affair with a German soldier. Even the young chief of police (Jean Marchetti) is likable. As I'm writing this, the series is only in its fourth season, so I can't wait to see how these characters will be treated in the last season which will presumably depict the Liberation. Hopefully, it will continue to show the harsh reality (I'm expecting head shavings, trials, public dishonor, executions, escapes and pardons... the characters are so diverse that each fates are possible).
A great TV series, which I highly recommend to those who have a chance to see it.
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