Le Colonel Chabert

Film, Action and adventure

Time Out says

Resurfacing in the wake of the Depardieu rendering, this turns out to be a prime example of how the same story can be construed differently, according to time and circumstance. In 1994, Balzac's tale seemed ideologically unexceptionable, with a faded representative of France's military glory denouncing the violence exercised in the name of la patrie, and finally withdrawing from a world that has defeated him, to live out a life of quiet resignation. Fifty years before, however, this must have seemed tailor-made for the occupying Nazis; even the flashbacks to the battle of Eylau would have found favour, since that showed a victory over the Russians. Only the film's status as a faithful adaptation of a literary classic mitigates the collaborationist charge. Less urgently, it's fascinating to compare the two Chaberts - Depardieu crashing around like a baffled bull, Raimu all icy disdain and calculated glimpses of pathos.


Release details

102 mins

Cast and crew

René Le Hénaff
Pierre Benoit, Maurice Griffe
Marie Bell
Aimé Clairond
Jacques Baumer