Based on a true story from 16th century France, Martin Guerre (Gérard Depardieu) who, after a pre-arranged marriage, abandons his family to fight in the war. Then, following an 8-year absence, suddenly returns to his native village. Martin's personality however, has mysteriously changed; where once he neglected and abused his wife, Bertrande (Nathalie Baye), he now acts lovingly and gently toward her. This startling transformation leads some of Martin's relatives to suspect the man of being an impostor. Bertrand insists otherwise, despite mounting evidence against her "husband". Soon the villagers have dragged Martin and Bertrande to court in order to uncover the truth.
- The Return of Martin Guerre review by JD
A true story of great sadness from the 1550s. It is of such drama, poignancy and dilemma that it has been used as the basis for scores of books, films etc. The accuracy of portrayal of rural village life from the 16 centuary is fascinating. There is a great sense of the superstitions and religiousness of this period. The acting is amazing. The end devastating.
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A classic tale
- The Return of Martin Guerre review by NP
I first saw this film when it came out in the early 80s and on this recent viewing it has shown it's age for sure. But it's still a great piece of story telling and a great example of not needing a lot of budget to make a good film, well worth a look if you've not seen it before.
The story, is of an arranged peasant marriage in C16th France. The indifferent husband deserts his wife for the army but returns some years later, a changed man. So changed in fact, that doubts soon begin to emerge.
The film does keep you guessing and that's part of the story but more than that, it's a lesson in humanity and its injustices.