Saturday, September 19, 2009

L'Affaire Farewell

In the midst of the Cold War, Sergei Grigoriev (Emir Kusturica) is a KGB colonel that is disenchanted with what the Soviet state has become; a shadow of its once great former self. Pierre Froment (Guillaume Canet) is an engineer stationed in Moscow who is asked by his boss, who has ties to the arm of French intelligence known as the Direction de la surveillance du territoire, to meet with Grigoriev. Grigoriev passes Froment the first of what proves to be significant information about how deeply the KGB has penetrated the west. Soon the French are sharing this windfall with the CIA, but the more people that are drawn in, the greater the risk to Grigoriev and Froment and their families as they become pawns in a larger geopolitical game between Reagan and Gorbachev.

L'Affaire Farewell is reminiscent of the classic Cold War tales spun by John le Carré, with more focus on the characters, their motivations, and the personal toll, than any action. But the movie does not lack for suspense, including a tense border crossing scene and the ever-present paranoia and deception that are hallmarks of the trade. Emir Kursturica portrays well the aging spy who's dedication to an ideal extends all the way to destroying its corrupted form to have it born anew. And Guillaume Canet is good as an ordinary man embroiled in extraordinary circumstances, never quite comfortable balancing the political and the personal stakes.


My experiences at the Toronto International Film Festival. Note this blog is not affiliated with the Toronto International Film Festival Group or the festival itself.
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