7.0/10
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30 user 73 critic

L'affaire Farewell (2009)

Trailer
2:21 | Trailer
The French intelligence service alerts the U.S. about a Soviet spy operation during the height of the Cold War, which sets off an unfortunate chain of events.

Director:

Christian Carion

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Director: Jean-François Delassus
Stars: Tomasz Bialkowski, Mikhail Gorbachev, François Mitterrand
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Guillaume Canet ... Pierre
Emir Kusturica ... Grigoriev
Alexandra Maria Lara ... Jessica
Ingeborga Dapkunaite ... Natasha
Philippe Magnan Philippe Magnan ... Mitterrand
Aleksey Gorbunov ... Choukhov (as Oleksii Gorbunov)
Dina Korzun ... Alina
Niels Arestrup ... Vallier
David Soul ... Hutton
Fred Ward ... Reagan
Willem Dafoe ... Feeney
Marc Berman Marc Berman ... Jacques
Christian Carion Christian Carion ... Favier
Evgeniy Kharlanov Evgeniy Kharlanov ... Igor (as Yevgeni Kharlanov)
Lauriane Riquet Lauriane Riquet ... Ophelie
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Storyline

In 1985, Sergei Gregoriev, a Soviet colonel, wants to force his nation to reform, so he leaks secret information to the West. He picks an unlikely contact, a Pierre Froment, French nebbish in the diplomatic corps. Gregoriev keeps a lot of balls in the air - a marriage, a teen son he's trying to bond with, a mistress who's a colleague at work; his tradecraft is equally reckless. Meanwhile, Froment keeps his spy work secret from his German wife, and Mitterrand uses Gregoriev's information to make France indispensable to Reagan and his government. When Gregoriev leaks a list of key Soviet moles and spies, Gorbachev is left without secret intelligence. Will Gregoriev get what he wants? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

spy | french | cold war | france | aids | See All (14) »

Taglines:

Some secrets have the power to change the course of history. See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site | Production Notes

Country:

France

Language:

French | English | Russian

Release Date:

23 September 2009 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Farewell See more »

Filming Locations:

France See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

€17,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color | Black and White (archive footage)| Color (archive footage)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Actors Fred Ward and Willem Dafoe previously both had starred in the American cinema movie Off Limits (1988) around twenty-one years earlier. L'affaire Farewell (2009) is the actors' second theatrical feature film collaboration. See more »

Goofs

In a scene identified as taking place in April 1981, Grigoriev's son listens to the Queen/David Bowie song "Under Pressure." The song was not recorded until July 1981, released in October 1981. See more »

Connections

Features The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

Awakening
Written by Cyril Morin
Massive Music/Some Players
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not much suspense but authentic atmosphere
15 July 2010 | by Philby-3See all my reviews

In this film the adage "truth is stranger than fiction" is well demonstrated. The real story of Vladimir Vetrov, the KBG Colonel who leaked vital details of the Soviet spy network to the West in the early 1980's is even more bizarre that the story related here, where Colonel Sergei Gregoriev (Emir Kursturica) uses a French electronics engineer Pierre Froment (Guillaume Canet), resident in Moscow, to pass secrets to the French domestic intelligence agency, the DST, and on to the CIA. Sergei ruled out using the DSGT, the French external intelligence service because he was aware it had been penetrated by the KGB. As it is the story here is a little lacking in tension despite the larger than life Sergei becoming more and more reckless as the story progresses .Some of the minor parts are pure vaudeville, Fred Ward's Ronald Reagan for example. However the two principals Kursturica and Canet, both prominent film directors, completely contrasting personalities, are very convincing. The 80's cold war atmosphere is well re-created – even the credits are vaguely menacing.

As in several recent spy stories "based on real events" the viewer is left with the impression that the West and Soviets had so thoroughly penetrated each other's security defences that they might as well have monthly meetings to hand over each other's secrets. This story does suggest that the Soviet Union was not able to keep up with Western technology, particularly in computing, and in resorting to stealing software the Soviets sowed the seeds of their downfall. In one instance the West was able to feed the Soviets with enough crook software to cripple their gas pipelines and cause a truly big explosion (without injuring a single person, apparently).

We do get considerable insight into what motivated Sergei, if not Vetrov (who seems to have been a less admirable character). Sergei is s true believer in communism, but he also fiercely loves his son, whom he wants to inherit something worthwhile. In a way the movie is as much about a parent sacrificing themselves for the sake of their child than the old spy versus spy routine. Froment is a less interesting character, but something inside him keeps him involved with the egregious Sergei despite his own misgivings and that of his wife Jessica (a refugee from East Germany with good reason to be afraid). Perhaps it's the opportunity for an otherwise unremarkable person to do something important. Or maybe he just finds it hard to say "non" to a person as charismatic as Sergei.

This film is not an "edge of your seat" suspense thriller but it tells an absorbing story, and is a useful reminder of the spy paranoia that prospered during the cold war.


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