Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Criterion Collection: Lacombe, Lucien

A French film. Never in my life did I think I would watch a French film.  However, for our next Criterion film Sam and I chose the 1974 French film, Lacombe, Lucien. It turned out to be a good choice.

The film was in French with English subtitles which I actually enjoyed. I prefer to watch foreign films with subtitles because I like to hear the language. This film deals with French collaboration with the Germans during World War II. The story follows a young man, Lucien, who first attempts to join the French resistance. When that doesn't work he informs on the resistance to the Gestapo and ends up as a new recruit. Lucien seems to have some sociopath tendencies. He relishes killing animals at the beginning of the movie and move easily onto killing men later. Sam pointed out that he doesn't even seem to care about the politics of the situation either. Neither the German cause nor the French cause seem to matter to him-- he just wants to be involved. However, he is a bit more complicated than I've explained. He does care about other people and even risks his life to save the lives of others from the Germans.

The film touches on the atrocities committed by the Germans and also the retaliations by the resistance. I was  struck by how familiar some of the tactics used by the resistance against the Germans. They reminded me of the news I see of insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. I saw the resistance fighters as heroes, but I'm sure the Germans saw them as terrorists. According to the Criterion page, this was the first French film to deal with the subject of collaboration. It must have been a difficult topic for the French to talk about let alone see a film about.

I enjoyed my introduction to French Film and will be looking forward to seeing some more.

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