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Calm at Sea More at IMDbPro »La mer à l'aube (original title)

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12 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

"Literary, biographical, illuminating and virtuous..."

8/10
Author: Sindre Kaspersen from Norway
1 May 2013

German screenwriter, producer and director Volker Schlöndorff's television 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.

Distinctly and engagingly directed by European filmmaker Volker Schlöndorff, this finely paced and somewhat fictional 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 its 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 its 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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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A WW2 tragedy

Author: fa404748 from (Gent, Belgium)
4 April 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

On 20th of October 1941, three young communists shoot the German commander Hotz in the French port of Nantes. As a reprisal and deterrent, a furious Hitler orders the execution of a hundred prisoners, mostly communists and resisters. Among them, the 17 year old Guy Môquet, the son of a communist member of Parliament. This real story, focusing on Môquet and his friends in the detainee camp, shows the conflicting interests between the German high commander Von Stülpnagel and his entourage in France (the famous writer Ernst Jünger), Berlin, and the puppet regime of Vichy (and the ambiguous role of the French police). A very moving and historical accurately told story.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Poignant, magnificently directed and acted

10/10
Author: purplesimbi
26 October 2013

But WHY the English mistranslation of the title? Anyone/everyone who took French in school or can open a French/English dictionary page knows "l'aube" means the sunrise, dawn. What on earth was gained by changing it to sea? Here I thought "Assassin in Love" was the worst English translation of Damian Lewis' fabulous comedic performance in "The Baker".. The horror and debasement of the Vichy government is mercilessly revealed and, for Americans especially, a kinder definition of the Communists (social idealists, workers, common people) at that time, before the inevitable(Power rules!) corruption set in, and the elite profited, as usual. "I am a working class man, but my overalls are better than your (fancy) uniform," grand spit. I hope this English sub-titled DVD becomes available to the proletariat(:-))at less than the current price soon.

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