I'll start this review by saying that although I do consider Gavras to be a very good and skillful director, at the same moment I consider him overrated by many, at least according to the films I have seen of him (Z, Mad City and Amen). However, in this film he really left me at some moments breathless! The film is set in an unnamed communist state of Eastern Europe, a satellite of the USSR. The main character had recently reached the Supreme Council of the Party by being appointed Minister. He has a rich history behind him as a communist fighter and politician. However, one morning, some guys from the secret police arrest him (and others as we later find out), throw him in a cell, try to break his will and make him confess of his unloyalty to the Party, something that he never committed though. Of course it is the Soviets who demanded his imprisonment and confession and the puppet government has to oblige. We had this film shown at the university here two weeks ago and I really couldn't understand why some guys found it "boring". It showed things that seem really barbarous to us now but they DID happen to MANY people back then. And many of them did not have the influence the character of this film had. I suppose the people who made this criticism judge a movie by how many explosions and cold jokes it has in it but that's not the point here. This movie HAD to have a slow pacing in order to show how hard it is for the days to pass in this madhouse-prison. The acting is great, especially from Yves Montand and all those actors who play the crazy communist officials :p It's thrilling to see the character's facial expressions change throughout the film showing suspicion at first before he gets arrested... then shock... then despair... and then plain stubbornness and exhaustion. It's obvious that everyone took this film very seriously and thus the great performances! Another thing that surprised me and was also mentioned by the (unfortunately only) other reviewer of this film is that it was shot in 1971. This is noticeable on its own, because it was a time that not only the Soviet Union was still strong (with Brezniev trying to show a "nicer" but also stronger face to the world) but the Communist Party in France had also great support and numbers of voters. I would like to know more about how the French audience reacted when the film was screened for the first time back then... Overall, it is a movie that I would recommend anyone watching. It is a good and graphic display of how far the demands of power can reach and the paranoid mentality of the Cold War (and it would be wise to remember that this mentality and these incidents did not only take place in the East side but in the West as well). If you find it on VHS (since I doubt that it is released on DVD) just grab it!
Drama / History / Thriller
Drama / History / Thriller
Anton Ludvik, aka Gerard, is vice-minister of Foreign Affairs of Czechoslovakia. He realizes he is watched and followed. One day, he is arrested and put into jail, in solitary confinement. ...
May 11, 2020