6.8/10
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1 user 1 critic

Ne me libérez pas, je m'en charge (2009)

Michel Vaujour, former thief and mobster, always chose making a break for freedom over a life behind bars, adventure over a life of submission. He has spent 27 years in prison, 17 of those ... See full summary »

Director:

Fabienne Godet
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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Michel Vaujour Michel Vaujour ... Himself
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Storyline

Michel Vaujour, former thief and mobster, always chose making a break for freedom over a life behind bars, adventure over a life of submission. He has spent 27 years in prison, 17 of those in solitary confinement. He succeeded in carrying out amazing escapes with toy guns, worthy of a Hollywood script, including a daring helicopter breakout from the roof of a jail. He was finally released on parole in 2003. This documentary is an uplifting and universal story of a remarkable transformation. Michel Vaujour's greatest escape was not from jail but from himself. The liberation of the mind and ultimately, the soul. His isolation forced him to continuously confront himself. The reward has been self-enlightenment. Written by Warsaw Film Festival

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Genres:

Documentary

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Details

Official Sites:

Haut et Court [France]

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

8 April 2009 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Moja najlepsza ucieczka See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Le Bureau See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

Mysteries
Beth Gibbons/Paul Webb
(C) Chrysalis Music Ltd/Universal Music Publishing Ltd
Avec les autorisations de Chrysalis Music France et Universal Music Publishing
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User Reviews

 
Uncritical look at one of France's celebrity crooks - Godet all but hands the camera over

This is a documentary film about a man called Michel Vaujour who may be well known to French audiences. He went from petty crime to pretty major crime and ended up spending about 27 years behind bars in various French prisons, 17 of those in solitary confinement. He had a knack of escaping prisons that made him famous. One of the escapes involved being lifted off the roof of the prison by hanging on to the landing struts of a helicopter flown by his wife Nadine. The helicopter escape, of which this was the first in France, has inspired a whole series of similar escapes, and has made France the world centre of excellence for the practise.

Most of the film involved the very loquacious Vaujour talking without much prompting, the filmmakers mix the locations up by having him visit friends and convict acquaintances, but we don't hear much of interest from these people.

Michel is what a working class acquaintance of mine would call a "gypsy talker". In my time I've met a few of these people who have generally had unusual and highly uncivilised experiences. I remember when I was supervising the evening shift at my local shop, briefing a new security guard about the local feral children, who were operating a campaign of harassment against us. He then launched into "gypsy talk", trying to mesmerise me with his experiences and how they made him aptly qualified for the situation at hand and uniquely clairvoyant about life. These experiences involved killing children in one of these interminable, innumerable African wars. Well the local children ran rings around this individual all evening.

Vaujour professes enlightenment throughout the movie, about the inner journey taken whilst in solitary confinement. He even quotes a Zen master at one point. And yet he's clearly not infused with Zen, he's annoyed at one point about a revelation on camera that he had a sibling who was stillborn. He's also filled with grief about the death of his friend, who was the first one to help him organise his criminal activities (taking him under the wing so-to-speak) and died in a bank robbery that was arranged to finance Michel's next escape. He's also tearful regarding his second wife. This does not really square with such a Zen mantra as: "Just think of the trees: they let the birds perch and fly, with no intention to call them when they come and no longing for their return when they fly away. If people's hearts can be like the trees, they will not be off the Way." There's an annoying superiority about the man, who shakes his head at the complacency of his friends, and a few minutes later in the film speaks of an aborted attempt to kill one of his ex-colleagues who had refused to be involved in an escape attempt. As if he thinks he has the god-like right to give and take lives.

So how did Michel start off down this path? As a youngster he would steal cars with his friends, because they were bored, which somehow he seems to think is an adequate excuse. The later more organised crimes, including housebreaking and armed robberies he did because he was afraid of ending up, in his words, "on the factory floor". If anyone is interested in this sentiment, you could do worse than checkout RW Fassbinder's movie Gods of the Plague. It's clear that he sees these crimes as political, or at least he did at the time, believing himself to be an anarchist. There's not much cross-examining on that point, indeed I think filmmaker Fabienne Godet has fallen into the modern day trap of the deification of criminals. This malaise was amply demonstrated last year in Nicholas Refn's movie Bronson, where Refn, it's clear, had decided that Bronson is a "performance artist". It's a measure of the uncritical anomie of our times that people seek to lionise crooks.

One thing that his disillusionment has allowed him to see, which is a very interesting phenomenon amongst the French bourgeoisie, is the focus on individual reputation rather than individual honour. I remember a French expatriate lady who used to shoplift from the shop I worked at, she used to lecture me on how she had the best of names, no-one could say anything against her. We were embarrassed to stop her stealing, she was 80 years old and had been in a Nazi labour camp, had survived cancer etc. One of the staff took her aside to have a word with her about it, her main concern was that no-one would tell me about what she had done.


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