The Last Metro (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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François Truffaut again tackles the elusive nature of creativity and the elusive creation in this thoughtful, sumptuous, 1980 film. Nominated for the Best Foreign Language film Oscar, and a winner of various Césars, The Last Metro is a tale of the theater in occupied France during World War II. Marion Steiner (Catherine Deneuve) manages the Theatre Montmarte in the stead of her Jewish husband, director Lucas Steiner (Heinz Bennent). He has purportedly fled France but is really hiding out in the basement of the theater. The one hope to save the Montmarte is a new play starring the dashing Bernard Granger (Gérard Depardieu). The attraction between Marion and Bernard is palpable, and as usual Truffaut creates tension and drama from even the most casual of occurrences. The theme of the director locked away while his lover and his creation are appropriated by others makes for interesting Truffaut study, but first and foremost this is a well-spun romance. --Keith Simanton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
the video layer and cannot be turned off. I suppose this
might save the production cost of redoing subtitles for
DVD, but it would be nice if this fact were mentioned in
the technical info. Completely unacceptable, hence the
automatic one-star rating.
This wonderful romantic comedy plays like a mature update of 'Casablanca', richly stylised, bravely open-ended, with Truffaut's moving camera wrenching spirit from claustrophobic confines.
Marion Steiner leads two lives, separated only by a stairway. Below the theatre, in the cellar, she shares a love with her husband Lucas (Heinz Bennet), a Jewish theatrical director who must live in hiding, coming to life only when Marion's footsteps bring her into his claustrophobic world.
Their love is real, but is slowly threatened by the distance and contrast of the living going on up above and the stagnation and frustration below. The internal strain becomes greater when Marion falls under the spell of her leading man, Gerard Depardieu, Truffaut's camera capturing the fleeting glances and icy demeanor that is our window into Marion's heart. Depardieu's passion for French resistance, however, may prove greater than his passion for the theatre, and Marion must also contend with a pro-Nazi theatre critic who could sink the production before it begins.
Only after Truffaut has used his camera to show us this elegantly detailed world of the French theatre during wartime does his screenplay suprise us, and remind us in an uplifting way that life itself is but a play, and we are all part of the cast.
This is definitely a masterpiece, but if you have not ventured into foreign films yet, I would not suggest this be your maiden voyage. One must ride the 747 first to appreciate the grace of Truffaut's glider, turning ever so quietly, without a sound, into the winds of the human heart.
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