Lacombe, Lucien

The setting is southwest France, the year 1944. Thirty years on, Louis Malle could create a portrait of venality and psychopathology in Vichy France that a film like Le Corbeau could only hint at. Lacombe, Lucien examines the true meaning of collaboration-a two-way proposition. At the center is Lucien, a peasant boy whose affectless mien bespeaks his moment in life, both rootless and directionless. Rebuffed by the Resistance (they have him pegged as a coward), he drifts into the service of the Nazi-friendly locals. Soon Lucien is tormenting humans as carelessly as he does rabbits and birds. Drawn to the daughter of a Jewish tailor in hiding, he ensconces himself uninvited in their flat, as regular as Le Monde. Holger Löwenadler, as the tailor, is the quiet embodiment of rage; Aurore Clément is his daughter, the sweet flow of her passions stopped by the war. As Lucien, Pierre Blaise is a tabula rasa worthy of Bresson.

This page may by only partially complete. For additional information about this film, view the original entry on our archived site.