Wartime French collaboration
- Lacombe, Lucien review by Pete W
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.
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful.
Very Good Review from Pete W
- Lacombe, Lucien review by Cato
Right from the beginning of the film we know just what Lucien is like, a nasty piece of work who takes great enjoyment in killing animals, albeit for eating in the case of one of the rabbits he takes to his mother. He seems to like nobody, including the Jewish girl who he seduces and her father, the tailor whom he tips off to the Germans, thus showing the malicious hatred he feels for the "enemy", although he does gain some redemption in escorting the girl and his mother to Spain, or this may have been because the Germans have been beaten and he's thinking of his own skin. But for all this nastiness the film itself is a masterpiece and Pierre Blaise is brilliant.
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.
Subtle investigation of human cruelty
- Lacombe, Lucien review by TE
An outstanding film which was controversial when released: it addresses the subject of French collaborators in WW2, an issue which had been surrounded by denial up to that point.
Malle is unsparing in his damning portrait of the leading collaborators. In the character of Lucien, he examines the motivation of one of their foot soldiers, an angry, callous young man from a rural background.
The film is notable for the way in which Malle uses the camera to probe and to reveal, rather than relying on dialogue. To this end he directs excellent performances all round, especially from the amateur playing the lead (Pierre Blaise) and from the hypnotically good Holger Lowenadler (playing the father of the young woman who Lucien falls in love with).
A startlingly good film that has more than stood the test of time.
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