Though prominent film figures such as Maurice Tourneur and Henri-Georges Clouzot figure prominently in Bertrand Tavernier’s homage to the not-so-insignificant men and women working for the German-controlled Continental Films studio during the Nazi occupation of France, the action here revolves primarily around the lives of screenwriter Jean Aurenche (Denis Podalydès) and assistant director Jean Devaivre (a remarkable Jacques Gamblin). Tavernier’s explores love and intrigue at the Continental studio with engaging workmanlike precision. Devaivre’s resistance to the German occupation (symbolized by his well-used bicycle) is the heart and soul of the otherwise chatty film, whose wackiest sequence follows Devaivre from France to tea-loving England and back again; whether aboard train, plane or automobile, Devaivre remains loyal to his bicycle and trusty pump. The playful nature of the scene brings to mind Kusturica’s Underground, though Tarvernier fails to keep the mood going for long. At nearly three hours, the whole of Safe Conduct is less than the sum of its parts.
- Empire Pictures
- 170 min
- Bertrand Tavernier
- Jean Cosmos, Bertrand Tavernier
- Jacques Gamblin, Denis Podalydès, Charlotte Kady, Marie Desgranges, Ged Marlon, Philippe Morier-Genoud, Laurent Schilling, maria Pitarresi, Christian Berkel, Richard Sammel, Marie Gillain, Olivier Gourmet
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