"Literary, biographical, illuminating and virtuous..."
German screenwriter, producer and director Volker Schlöndorff's nineteenth feature film which he co-wrote with French journalist and author Pierre-Louis Basse is based on a memorandum called "On The Hostage Question" written by a German army officer and poet named Ernst Jünger, police reports, letters from hostages, a novel by German 20th century writer Heinrich Böll and a book by Pierre-Louis Basse. It premiered in Germany, was screened in the Panorama section at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival in 2012, was shot on location in France and is a Germany-France co-production which was produced by producer Bruno Petit. It tells the story about a 17-year-old member of a French youth communist movement named Guy Môquet and his relationship with a girl named Odette, his friend named Claude and his relationship to the woman he just married and how their lives are affected after a German officer is assassinated by members of the French resistance and they learn that the leader of Germany has commanded the execution of 150 Frenchmen.
Astutely and engagingly directed by European filmmaker Volker Schlöndorff, this finely paced and somewhat fictional though probably as truthful as possible tale which is narrated by several characters and from multiple viewpoints, draws a lingering portrayal of the destiny of numerous French civilians during World War II in the early 1940s and their honourable way of standing by their cause, coming to terms with and objecting an irrefutable and absurd verdict. While notable for it's naturalistic and atmospheric milieu depictions, sterling production design by production designer Stéphane Makedonsky, cinematography by cinematographer Lubomir Bakcev and costume design by costume designer Agnès Noden, this dialog-driven and narrative-driven story envisages a heartrending reconstruction of substantial miscarriage of justice and a detailed depiction of its period which contains a good score by French composer Bruno Coulais.
This historic, conversational, charmingly romantic and political drama about German war crimes which is set in a summer in the city of Nantes during the Vichy Regime (1940-1944) and the German occupation of France in 1941 where one crime instigates irrevocable crimes against humanity, is impelled and reinforced by it's cogent narrative structure, efficient continuity, variegated characters and the commendable acting performances by actor Sébastien Accart, French actors Marc Barbé and Léo Paul Salmain and German actors Ulrich Matthes and Jacob Matschenz. A literary, biographical, illuminating and virtuous homage.
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