From the Louis Hemon novel "M. Ripois and His Nemesis" about Andre Ripois, a philanderer in pursuit of love and riches from Paris to London. Andre is breaking up with his wife, Catherine, ... See full summary »
Gervaise Macquart, a young lame laundress, is left by her lover Auguste Lantier with two boys... She manages to make it, and a few years later she marries Coupeau, a roofer. After working ... See full summary »
Oslo, April 19th 1945, as the Third Reich is living its last days, a group of Nazis and sympathizers (a Wehrmacht general; an SS commander and his "assistant"; an Italian industrialist and ... See full summary »
French filmmaker Rene Clement presents Alain Delon as a petty criminal on the run from the underground. On the Rivera, he seeks refuge in a flophouse whose soup line is served by Jane Fonda... See full summary »
Stanislas Hassler blazes the development of modern art in his gallery, packed with works of surprising shapes, colours and textures, and where exhibitions turn into media events. Gilbert ... See full summary »
A tribute to resistance saboteurs that is neither too didactic or sentimental
Based on real life events that occurred between the Normandy Landings and the liberation, La Bataille du Rail was commissioned by the Associations of the Resistance soon after the end of the Second World War. That a war film would be put into production so soon after the end of the war and that it would prove so successful with a public that lived through it suggests a desire to show the extent of the resistance's achievements and the pride of the French.
However, Clément carefully avoids making the film too didactic or sentimental. We can see how the ruthlessness of the occupying forces in rooting out the saboteurs and their anti-Semitism is not overplayed as their portrayal seems appropriate to a modern audience not directly scarred by the events shown. Another way in which he achieves this is through the way the camera stays relatively detached from the action, showing the events almost like a documentary rather than forcing us to identify with any of the characters. It has been said that the cast was made up of unprofessional actors and in some cases real railwaymen. This adds to the realism and creates an effect where no one film star stands out as an obvious "hero", enforcing a message of "ordinary men doing what they had to".
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