Marboeuf's meticulous history lesson on Vichy France is unlikely to win fans anywhere. The French won't thrill to his re-creation of their shameful period of collaboration with the Nazis, while foreigners will prate about moral fibre. Having lost the war, most Frenchmen wanted to keep in with the victors to limit the damage, and this meant obeying orders and rounding up the Jews. The aged WWI hero Marshal Pétain (Dufilho) was wheeled on-stage as the fig leaf of Third Reich absolutism, but the political running was made by Laval (Yanne) who managed to trick the octogenarian into a public handshake with Hitler. Most of the action occurs in the Hôtel du Parc in Vichy where the French puppet government trim and twist their principles. It's an extraordinarily hermetic work. None of the stuff going on outside the hotel room is involving. Dufilho is wonderfully cast, while Yanne chiefly picks on Laval's cartoon characteristic and smokes incessantly as he signs away his nation. A plod.
Cast and crew
Alain Riou, Jean Marboeuf, Jean-Pierre Marchand