During World War II, a series of chance incidents lead an ill-educated young man, René Le Guen, to be recruited by the French Resistance. When he is instructed to execute a traitor in the organisation, Le Guen finds himself transformed into a callous murderer. After the war, he kills again – but this time justice is not on his side. He is arrested, tried and sentenced to death. As he languishes in jail, not knowing when he will be dragged away to the guillotine, he hopes that the President will give him a pardon. To that end, his lawyer – a young idealist – attempts to show that Le Guen’s actions were caused by the ills of society and that his execution will serve no useful function. Will he succeed…? —Frenchfilmguide.com
André Cayatte (3 February 1909, Carcassonne – 6 February 1989, Paris) was a French New Wave filmmaker and lawyer, who became known for his films centering on themes of crime, justice, and moral responsibility, themes which Cayatte persisted in affirming regardless of changing contemporary attitudes.
Some of Cayatte’s earlier films that covered these themes include Justice est faite (Justice is Done, 1950), Nous sommes tous des assassins (We Are All Murderers, 1952), and Le passage du Rhin (Tomorrow Is My Turn) (1960).
In 1963, André Cayatte undertook a bold experiment in film narrative with a set of two films entitled Jean-Marc ou La vie conjugale (Anatomy of a Marriage: My Days with Jean-Marc), and Françoise ou La vie conjugale (Anatomy of a Marriage: My Days with Françoise). Anatomy of a Marriage tells the same story from two different points of view, forming a cinematic pairing that anticipated later works like Alain Resnais’ Smoking/No Smoking (1993). His 1973 film… read more