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Lacombe Lucien: The Screenplay

Lacombe Lucien: The Screenplay

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by Louis Malle, Patrick Modiano, Sabine Destree (Translator)

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Patrick Modiano and Louis Malle’s screenplay for the Oscar-nominated film tells a powerful story set in World War II France of a seventeen-year-old boy who allies himself with collaborators, only to fall in love with a Jewish girl


Patrick Modiano and Louis Malle’s screenplay for the Oscar-nominated film tells a powerful story set in World War II France of a seventeen-year-old boy who allies himself with collaborators, only to fall in love with a Jewish girl
This early work by the Nobel Prize winner Patrick Modiano relates the story of Lucien Lacombe: a poor boy in Nazi-occupied France who, rebuffed in his efforts to enter the Resistance for a taste of war, becomes a member of a sordid, pathetic group of Fascist collaborators who join the Gestapo in preying upon their countrymen. Lucien encounters the Horns, a Jewish family from Paris hiding in his provincial town. Inevitably, he must choose between the coarse appeal of violence and his emerging feelings of tenderness for the family’s daughter, France. Amid the excesses brought on by the impending collapse of the Nazi occupation, Lucien and France come to live out an improbable idyll. This classic is an essential read for students and film lovers alike.

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Other Press, LLC
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5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.40(d)

Meet the Author

Louis Malle was a film director, screenwriter, and producer who worked both in French cinema and Hollywood. His most famous films include the crime film Elevator to the Gallows (1958), the World War II drama Lacombe Lucien (1974), the romantic crime film Atlantic City (1980), the comedy-drama My Dinner with Andre (1981), and the autobiographical film Au revoir, les enfants (1987). The Silent World won the Palme d’Or and Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1956. He died in 1995.

Patrick Modiano is a French novelist and recipient of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature. He previously won the 2012 Austrian State Prize for European Literature, the 2010 Prix mondial Cino Del Duca from the Institut de France for lifetime achievement, the 1978 Prix Goncourt for Rue des boutiques obscures, and the 1972 Grand Prix du roman de l’Académie française for Les Boulevards de ceinture. His works have been translated into more than forty languages.

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Lacombe Lucien: The Screenplay 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
wordsandpeace More than 1 year ago
Modiano’s screenplay of a movie nominated for the Oscars in 1975. In typical Modiano’s style, it evokes the complex situation of France during the German occupation, through the life of a French teenager. Yesterday, I presented a novel by Modiano originally published in French in 1975. Today, it’s about another of his works, published even a year earlier. Exceptionally, it is not a novel, but a screenplay, co-written with Louis Malle. Lacombe Lucien was nominated for the 1975 Oscar for Best Foreign Language film. Indeed, Modiano not only wrote novels, but also another play. a few books for children, and some essays. Yesterday, I mentioned it is not unusual to find common characters between his books. You will find one both in Villa Triste presented here yesterday, and in Lacombe Lucien: a dog actually, a great dane! The story of this screenplay is set in June 1944 in a small city in Southwestern France, during the German occupation of France. The plot focuses on Lucien, 17. He is eager to join the Resistance, but deemed too young. As a reaction, or just maybe because he is bored and can’t figure out how to give meaning to his life, he ends up joining a group of French police, allied with the German police, after being caught spying through a window. Innocently at first maybe, he ends up into less than honorable situations, that do not bring luck to people who know him. He seems to have nothing to lose, or he is indifferent, and gets even more tough and insensitive, until he falls in love with a young Jewish girl, and his life becomes much more complicated. There are great dialogs and precise descriptions of the scenes, with many details, certainly very helpful for a screenplay, but also totally characteristic of Modiano’s usual style. I enjoyed the way the ambiance and complexity of life in France at the time was evoked, especially for Jews, but also how some managed to survive for a while through heavy bribes; and the conflicts between German occupants and the French Resistance network are well presented, not in black and white, but in a kind of grey zone, conveying things are never that easy to discern in that type of situations.