Le Petit Lieutenant

( 1 )


A young, inexperienced detective is inducted into an elite Paris plainclothes unit in Le Petit Lieutenant, directed by Xavier Beauvois Don't Forget You're Going to Die. Antoine Jalil Lespert or Human Resources is as gung-ho as they come, and eager to learn everything he needs to know to be a good cop, although he misses his wife Bérangère Allaux, a schoolteacher who stayed behind in the country when Antoine took his new job. Antoine socializes with his new comrades, who seem to drink an awful lot, with the ...
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A young, inexperienced detective is inducted into an elite Paris plainclothes unit in Le Petit Lieutenant, directed by Xavier Beauvois Don't Forget You're Going to Die. Antoine Jalil Lespert or Human Resources is as gung-ho as they come, and eager to learn everything he needs to know to be a good cop, although he misses his wife Bérangère Allaux, a schoolteacher who stayed behind in the country when Antoine took his new job. Antoine socializes with his new comrades, who seem to drink an awful lot, with the exception of the unit commander, Caroline Nathalie Baye, an alcoholic who has just returned from a long stint on desk duty. The other experienced detectives that Antoine looks up to are the cynical Louis Antoine Chappey, and the stalwart Solo Roschdy Zem, who in addition to the rigors of the job faces bigotry due to his Moroccan origin. When a Polish immigrant is found murdered in a canal near the station, the unit begins a methodical investigation, eventually learning that the victim was last seen with a couple of Russians. When a second victim is rescued from the waters of the canal a few days later, the case takes on a new urgency. As Antoine tries to fit in and learn on the job, Caroline struggles with her addiction and forms an almost maternal bond with the rookie. Le Petit Lieutenant also features Jacques Perrin, and was shown by the Film Society of Lincoln Center as part of their 2006 Rendez-Vous with French Cinema.
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Special Features

Original theatrical trailer; Photo gallery
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Josh Ralske
Reminiscent of Bertrand Tavernier's L.627, Le Petit Lieutenant is a suitably gritty and engaging look at police work in present-day Paris. With strong performances, a grimy, muted palette, and an absorbingly detailed mise-en-scène, director Xavier Beauvois has come up with a memorable policier, ranging from the seemingly mundane details of stakeouts and canvassing witnesses to the dangerous thrill of being face-to-face with a killer. Beauvois never lets us forget that these people have lives that go beyond their work, and his numerous characters perform vibrantly enough that we believe their lives extend beyond the screen as well. Jalil Lespert is an immensely likable presence as the eponymous rookie detective, and both Roschdy Zem, as a veteran Moroccan detective who still faces some bigotry from his co-workers, and Nathalie Baye, as the female detective in charge of the unit, convey the sense that they are particularly proud of what they do because they've had to fight harder than most to achieve what they have. Through beautifully realized scenes of the cops hanging out in various groupings, we get a very genuine sense of their camaraderie and their character. Certainly, they are not all heroic in their everyday interactions. Baye's performance as an alcoholic who has never gotten over the death of her young son is subtly tinged with pain and regret, and a longing for a relief that she cannot allow herself. Le Petit Lieutenant is an exemplary genre piece, melding a down-and-dirty 1970s vibe with a very modern perspective on the globalized nature of contemporary Paris.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/10/2007
  • UPC: 741952310297
  • Original Release: 2005
  • Source: Koch Lorber Films
  • Time: 1:50:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Nathalie Baye Caroline Vaudieu
Jalil Lespert Antoine Derouère
Roschdy Zem Solo
Antoine Chappey Mallet
Jacques Perrin Clermont
Xavier Beauvois Nicolas Morbé
Bérangère Allaux
Technical Credits
Xavier Beauvois Director, Screenwriter
Guillaume Breaud Screenwriter
Pascal Caucheteux Producer
Caroline Champetier Cinematographer
Alain Tchillinguirian Production Designer
Jean-Eric Troubat Screenwriter
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Le Petit Lieutenant
2. Chapter 1 [8:05]
3. Chapter 2 [12:41]
4. Chapter 3 [10:14]
5. Chapter 4 [1:59]
6. Chapter 5 [8:14]
7. Chapter 6 [6:59]
8. Chapter 7 [14:36]
9. Chapter 8 [7:23]
10. Chapter 9 [6:00]
11. Chapter 10 [4:43]
12. Chapter 11 [7:59]
13. Chapter 12 [6:22]
14. Chapter 13 [4:09]
15. Chapter 14 [5:32]
16. Chapter 15 [2:23]
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Disc #1 -- Le Petit Lieutenant
   Play Movie
   Scene Index
      Audio Set-Up
         French Dolby Surround 5.1
         French Dolby Stereo 2.0
   Special Features
      Theatrical Trailer
      Stills Gallery
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Deeply Touching View of Policemen

    Director Xavier Beauvois, with the intelligent and sensitive script he co-wrote with Cédric Anger, Guillaume Bréaud and Jean-Eric Troubat, allows us, the viewers, to look inside the minds and lives of those people who commit to police work in a manner that pays homage to a maligned group and reinstates our visceral support to the spectrum of on the edge terror mixed with spaces of ennui that these people endure. LA PETIT LIEUTENANT is not a crime film: it is a deeply touching inside view of the men and women who protect us. Opening with well-staged Le Havre Police Academy graduation images Beauvois focuses on newly graduated Antoine Derouère (Jalil Lespert) as he says goodbye to his family and his wife Julie (Bérangère Allaux), a school teacher who pleads with Antoine not to leave Le Havre for Paris, the destination Antoine seeks to prove his desire for an active detective career. The kind but inexperienced Antoine takes up residence in Paris and is assigned to a homicide unit with equally inexperienced young men who learn the ropes of owning a gun, the embarrassment of performance problems at the shooting range, the awkward first 'arrests' and interrogations, and the endless hours of sitting at a desk waiting for activity. Newly assigned as the head of Antoine's unit is Commandant Caroline Vaudieu (the extraordinary actress Nathalie Baye) who has just come off a two year sabbatical to recover from alcoholism and the associated death of her son from meningitis. The manner in which these people bond is quiet and sensitive and when finally a case comes to their attention - a man found dead in the canal - the force joins begins what they all need to do: the killer must be found. Clues are explored, people are traced, and Antoine and Vandieu form a particularly close bond, Antoine reminding Vandieu of the son she has lost and Vandieu providing the model for his career. Tension mounts as the criminals are pursued, coincidences occur and a tragedy cracks the bond of the group, affecting each member of the small force immeasurably. It is this very human happening and its effects that wind the movie down to moments of painful acceptance of the life of police people. The entire cast is first rate and provides ensemble acting that is among the finest on screen. But the portrayal by Nathalie Baye is so multifaceted, embracing the inner trauma of personal losses not only of those she loves but also of her own sense of dignity as she faithfully attends AA meetings, that her performance is triumphant. Jalil Lespert also captures the fine line between innocence and experience that makes his portrait of a new detective not only completely credible but also one that leaves a mark on the heart. The direction and the cinematography by Caroline Champetier keep the film nearly monochromatic, the only color that is left to shock us for a brief moment is the red blood at moments of tension. And the lack of a musical score keeps the tone of the humanity of the film intact, never reducing it to a bombastic Hollywood chase and kill film. This is a little jewel of a film that deserves a very wide audience. Highly Recommended. In French, Polish, and Russian with English subtitles. Grady Harp

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