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Lyon, March 1943: Raymond Samuel - underground pseudonym, Aubrac - (Auteuil) and his wife Lucie (Bouquet) are active in the Resistance against the Nazi occupying forces. On June 21, Raymond is arrested in Caluire, at the house of Dr Dugoujon (St Macary), along with Jean Moulin, a high ranking Resistance officer, taken to prison and tortured. Lucie's passionate love for her husband drives her to risk it all, to try everything, to snatch her husband from the grip of the Gestapo. Her efforts involve his comrades, and involve a mix of violence and romance, and seem to spring from the fertile imagination of a novelist. But the story is real.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Claude Berri makes the opening sequence of a steam train puffing through picturesque countryside seem menacing with sheer audio-visual suggestion, and in anamorphic format, the effect is powerful. It starts Lucie Aubrac's fact based, moving but hard edged romantic story that deals not with young lovers finding each other but of a married couple fighting for each other. Especially Lucie, and especially as played by Carole Bouquet.

She's absolutely right, with no sentimentality but an abyss of feeling; a great performance. (Most moving in a scene where a stranger tells her secrets to recognise from her imprisoned husband; don't we all relate?) Daniel Auteuil is solid if not remarkable next to her, and the support cast are first rate. Berri's unhurried pace should not be mistaken for 'slow' and he certainly maintains tension - not only do we sweat for Lucie and her husband, but we get involved with the bigger picture.

I like the sparing use of music, which Phillipe Sarde has composed with utmost care and affection for the film, and the production design is flawless, delivering us into France amidst the war.

Lucie, amidst the horrors of war and the drama of her shattered life, maintains a sense of elegance that is both symbolic and profoundly touching, while the difficult job of make up in the aftermath of harrowing brutality is an example to Hollywood.

Published September 15, 2005

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CAST: Carole Bouquet, Daniel Auteuil, Jean-Roger Milo, Eric Boucher, Patrice Chereau, Hubert St Macary, Heino Ferch, Hans Wyprachticher, Andrzej Seweryn, Bernard Verley

PRODUCER: Pierre Grunstein

DIRECTOR: Claude Berri

SCRIPT: Claude Berri, Arlette Longman (based on Outwitting the Gestapo, by Lucie Aubrac)


EDITOR: Herve de Luze

MUSIC: Phillip Sarde

RUNNING TIME: 115 minutes

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