Safe Conduct

Overview

During the Nazi occupation of France during World War II, the nation's movie studios continued to operate; some filmmakers and technicians simply went along with what their new leaders demanded in hopes keeping themselves and their families safe, while others sought to subvert the messages of their captors through their work. Safe Conduct, directed by Bertrand Tavernier, is a fact-based period drama which examines two men working for a Parisian film company during 1942 and 1943, as well as their friends, family, ...
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Overview

During the Nazi occupation of France during World War II, the nation's movie studios continued to operate; some filmmakers and technicians simply went along with what their new leaders demanded in hopes keeping themselves and their families safe, while others sought to subvert the messages of their captors through their work. Safe Conduct, directed by Bertrand Tavernier, is a fact-based period drama which examines two men working for a Parisian film company during 1942 and 1943, as well as their friends, family, and loved ones. Jean Devaivre played by Jacques Gamblin is an assistant director for Continental Pictures, a studio which has recently been taken over by the Germans and is headed by Dr. Greven Christian Berkel, a self-styled aficionado of French filmmaking. With a wife Marie Desgranges and a newborn son to support, Devaivre feels he has little choice but to continue with his work, though as he rises from assisting to becoming a full fledged director thanks to the efforts of Maurice Tourneur Philippe Morier-Genoud, he struggles to work his own views into his pictures as much as he can. Screenwriter Jean Aurenche Denis Podalydes, a man who lives for wine, women and song not necessarily in that order, refuses to work for Greven, and as he bounces between his many lovers - actress Suzanne Raymond Charlotte Kady, no-nonsense streetwalker Olga Marie Gillain, and soft-hearted Reine Maria Pitarresi, a struggles to find a way to make a living with his words. Both Devaivre and Aurenche were real-life figures in the French film industry during the occupation, as were many of Safe Conduct's supporting characters; the real life Aurenche went on to write the screenplay for Bertrand Travernier's first feature film.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Josh Ralske
Safe Conduct is an intense but sprawling look at French filmmaking during the Nazi occupation. Director and co-writer Bertrand Tavernier has infused the work with passion and unexpected humor, but he fills the frame with so much chaos and so many characters that it's hard to keep all the people and events straight, and watching the film can be an exhausting experience. There are literally hundreds of minor characters running around, some of them major figures in the French film industry at the time. For example, most viewers will probably not realize that the Swiss actor (shown only from the back), who refuses to act while the Nazi "watchdogs" are on the set is supposed to be Michel Simon. The film has also been criticized for soft-pedaling French collaboration during the war. "When the Germans go," says Jean-Paul Le Chanois (Ged Marlon), a Jewish screenwriter hiding his identity to work for a Nazi-controlled company, "we wont have aided German cinema, but saved French cinema." Tavernier clearly shares this sentiment, and while he explores the moral complexity of the situation, he does accentuate the positive. The film is well acted and expertly filmed. The climax of the film, wherein Jean Devaivre (Jacques Gamblin), suffering from a terrible cold, travels all the way to England to deliver some purloined Nazi documents, exemplifies the film's strengths, as it's both harrowing and bitterly funny. Safe Conduct is sometimes troubling, and imperfect, but its immediacy and the passion it displays for its subject make it worthwhile.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/25/2007
  • UPC: 824255000963
  • Original Release: 2001
  • Rating:

  • Source: Tva Films
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jacques Gamblin Jean Devaivre
Denis Podalydès Jean Aurenche
Christian Berkel Dr. Greven
Marie Gillain Olga
Charlotte Kady Suzanne Raymond
Marie Desgranges Simone Devaivre
Maria Pitarresi Reine Sorignal
Thierry Gibault Paul Maillebuau
Philippe Morier-Genoud Maurice Tourneur
Christophe Odent Pierre Bost
Ged Marlon Jean-Paul Le Chanois
Laurent Schilling Charles Spaak
Olivier Brun Jacques Dubuis
Olivier Gourmet
Richard Sammel
Liliane Rovere
Serge Riaboukine
Pierre Lacan
Jean-Yves Roan
Technical Credits
Bertrand Tavernier Director, Screenwriter
Valerie Pozzo di Borgo Costumes/Costume Designer
Frederic Bourboulon Producer
Sophie Brunet Editor
Alain Choquart Cinematographer
Jean Cosmos Screenwriter
Michel Desrois Sound/Sound Designer
Antoine Duhamel Score Composer
Emile Ghigo Production Designer
Christine Gozlan Associate Producer
Gerard Lamps Sound/Sound Designer
Valerie Othenin-Girard Asst. Director
Elisabeth Paquotte Sound/Sound Designer
Alain Sarde Producer
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