Henri Fortin is poor and iliterate former boxer. Ziman is rich Jewish lawyer from Paris. During WWII they meet when Fortin agrees to drive Ziman's family to Switzerland. Intrigued by Victor Hugo's novel "Les Miserables", Fortin asks the Zimans to read that book to him during the travel. Before the end of movie every main character would see his character in situations similar to those in Hugo's novel.Written by
Dragan Antulov <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In the scene when Elise Ziman, André Ziman and the other escaping Jews are led to what they believe is the border of Switzerland and the Germans are waiting along the tree line for them. A close up of a German solder wearing a Wehrmacht (army) uniform is shown behind a machine gun. In reality the solders waiting for them would have been Waffen SS. During the war Wehrmacht Units did not have anything to do with rounding up and evacuation of the Jews. This was the job of the SS, SD, Polizei and Gestapo. See more »
Carried on the winds of fate, injustice often settles upon the poor and downtrodden, whose only link to salvation may lie in the truth they carry in their hearts and the manifested courage of their convictions. And sometimes that quest for justice and truth must be mounted against all odds, as in this 1995 version of `Les Miserables,' written for the screen and directed by Claude Lelouch. An imaginative retelling of the Hugo classic, Lelouch updates the story to the Twentieth Century, beginning with the stroke of midnight that ushers in the New Era. It's an inauspicious beginning of a new year for Henri Fortin (Jean-Paul Belmondo), however, as he becomes a victim of circumstance and is convicted of a crime he did not commit. As he goes off to prison, he leaves behind a wife and a young son (also named Henri), who must fend for themselves as best they can. It leads to a miserable existence for all concerned, but steels the young Henri for what is yet to come, and he quickly learns that when things seemingly cannot get any worse, they not only can, but do.
Ultimately, this becomes the story of the young Henri, whom we next encounter at the end of World War I. Now a boxer, he is soon to become a contender. By 1931, however (when we next meet him), that part of his life is behind him as well, and he has become a furniture mover; and with his own truck, he is able to at least make a passable living. But at this point, we are introduced to Andre Ziman (Michel Boujenah) who has just met the soon-to-be Mme Ziman (Alessandra Martines), who by the beginning of the Second World War are destined, along with their young daughter, Salome (Salome), to become an integral part of Henri's (also played by Jean-Paul Belmondo) life.
Henri, like his father, is illiterate; and when circumstances bring him together with the Ziman's, he is inadvertently introduced to Hugo's novel, and soon begins to realize how his own life parallels that of, initially, Cosette, and later-- and most significantly-- Jean Valjean. When they end up taking a journey together, Henri implores Ziman to read the story to him as they travel. And it's as if in the words of Hugo and the life of Jean Valjean, Henri discovers within himself all that is good and worthwhile.
Lelouch has crafted and delivered a poignant version of the familiar tale of injustice and perseverance that borders on the profound. By interspersing scenes of the Hugo story as they are being read to Henri (in which Belmondo is Jean Valjean), we see the parallels being drawn even as they become clear to Henri. The film is fraught with irony and succinctly captures the essence of Hugo's novel; it's as if Lelouch had been possessed of Hugo's spirit when he wrote the screenplay, as well as later when he brought his vision to fruition, the finished product of which has to rank among the best interpretations of the story ever.
The supporting cast includes Annie Girardot (Farmer's Wife), Philippe Leotard (Farmer), Clementine Celarie (Mme Fortin), Philippe Khorsand (Javert), Nicole Croisille (Thenardiere), Rufus (Thenardier), William Leymergie (Toureiffel) and Micheline Presle (Mother Superior). An emotionally engaging, riveting drama that will sweep you up and carry you away, `Les Miserables' is a tale of dignity and courage, and of what it takes to overcome betrayal and injustice. But even more than that, it's a study of morality; of right against wrong and of good that in the end must triumph over evil. A superior cinematic rendering of the classic story, this film-- especially for those to who love the novel-- is not to be missed. I rate this one 10/10.
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