Set in occupied France, the film opens in the summer of 1944 as Lucien, our troubled teen hero, expresses an interest in assisting the local resistance movement. He is turned down and, after a chance encounter, signs up as a collaborator for the Gestapo. Easily seduced by the power and apparent glamour of the position, he soon forgets his old life. The Gestapo also allows Lucien to give in to his most nihilistic urges. When he develops a strained relationship with a Jewish tailor - and falls for his beautiful daughter - he becomes increasingly compromised and is forced into examining his real identity.
Wartime French collaboration
- Lacombe Lucien review by Pete W
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Malle tackles the difficult subject of collaboration in the second world war in France without taking a judgemental approach. He illustrates how fate can lead an uneducated and weak French peasant boy to back the wrong horse and collaborate rather than join the resistance. Good performance by the amateur Pierre Blaise (sadly killed soon after this film)as the title character. Warning to animal lovers - several scenes of animals being killed, showing the unsentimental way in which the peasant boy treats death.