June 1946: Stalin invites Russian emigres to return to the motherland. It’s a trap: when a ship-load from France arrives in Odessa, only a physician and his family are spared execution or prison. He and his French wife (her passport ripped up) are sent to Kiev. She wants to return to France immediately; he knows that they are captives and must watch every step. By chance, she meets a touring French actress and pleads for help. She also takes a young swimmer under her wing, and several years later, he makes a bold attempt to escape. Meanwhile, the KGB is suspicious, and hope for freedom is dim. Patience, her husband’s self control, and her good looks may be their only assets. —IMDb
After graduating with a degree in classical letters, Régis Wargnier started out as a freelance photographer before working with Claude Chabrol, as assistant director and assistant operator. During the 70s and 80s, he worked as an assistant director and first unit director on films by Volker Schlöndorff, Valerio Zurlini, Margarethe Von Trotta, Elie Chouraqui, Francis Girod, Patrice Leconte, among others. He got his break thanks to Yannick Bernard, who produced his first two feature films, La Femme de ma vie (Woman of My Life) (1986), which won him the César for Best New Director of a Feature Film, and Je suis le seigneur du château (I’m the King of the Castle) (1989). In 1991, Régis Wargnier directed Indochine, which earned him the Oscar, the Golden Globe and the Goya for Best Foreign Film, as well as five Césars. He went on to make Une femme française (A French Woman) in 1995, a three-time award-winning film at the Moscow International Film Festival, and Est-Ouest (East-West) in 1999… read more
A hugely likable film, which is not a bad thing in this case, since this material could easily have been shrill and disastrous. It helps to have Bonnaire, Deneuve, Bodrov Jr., and the rest of the fine cast steering the melo-er moments toward credibility. So this is what life in Soviet Russia was like? The problem wasn't so much communism per se as grudge-bearing. And the KGB of course.