Verano, 1944. Nos situamos en una localidad al suroeste de Francia. Lucien Lacombe, de 18 años, no logra unirse a la Resistencia y acaba ingresando en la policía alemana. Su padre está prisionero en Alemania y su madre sale con su jefe. Entonces conocerá a France Horn, la hija de un sastre judío…
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Malle's look at occupied France through a young, disillusioned and nihilistic young man who winds up working with the German police is indeed as Kael stated a film that looks at 'the banality of evil'. The film's strength is its scripting by the director and Patrick Modiano as well as a strong supporting turn by Holger Lowennadler.
Continuing the unsurpassed French tradition of countryside (im)moral tales, Malle conjures a naturalistic milieu invaded by external and internal evil, the latter conspicuous in its banality. Blaise is astonishing as the brutal, yet reticent, poacher whose choice between resistance and Gestapo is coincidental. Mischeviously, yet admirably, it adumbrates in absurd indifference the portrait of self-hating Jews in fear.
More than an ideology which preaches hatred, LL depicts how fascist causes are spurred by those who are susceptible to power. Malle is a very clean film-maker, above all his films seem a precise calculation between classical storytelling and the camera's psychologising. It helps it has the devoid performance of Blaise. I was unnerved by its relevance.
Une oeuvre qui défraya la critique de l'époque (il ne faut pas toucher en France à la période Résistance/ Collaboration, sans éveiller des blessures / meurtrissures inavouables) qui analyse avec réalisme l'ambiguïté de l'engagement de certains Français dans un camp ou l'autre, quelquefois tardif...
A complicated look at how a young man becomes a collaborator. There are no easy answers, only Lucien's blank eyes and amoral character. Spurned by the resistance, he joins the Nazis. He doesn't really believe in anything. He simply grasps for power and control wherever he can find it.
The story's details suggest a whole underlying architecture of faultlines in society, none exclusive to the 40s or France. Bureaucracy, hierarchy & privilege family shame & norms re masculinity, our relationship w non-human animals... What structural cracks in our 'civility' put exploitable distances between us? Deprioritize mutuality? Malle's insistent foregounding of amorality/ambiguity, however, overshadows that.
Louis Malle explores the eroding effect collective oppression can have on individual morality. In contrasting disaffected Lucien's amorality with granny's principled resistance to oppression - she plays solitaire as a defiant, radical act of self-assertion and refusal to be intimidated - Malle reminds us that we have agency to choose our responses to political adversity. A visually & conceptually rich masterpiece.