Laissez-Passer review

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Bertrand Tavernier's loosely structured yet impressive World War Two epic focuses on the dilemmas experienced by workers in the French film industry during the occupation.

Jean Devaivre (Jacques Gamblin) is a family man who joins a German film studio in Paris - a tricky situation given his activities in the Resistance. Jean Aurenche (Denis Podalydès), meanwhile, is a screenwriter who attempts to criticize the authorities through coded scripts, all the while juggling a chaotic private life...

Dynamically shot and acted by the ensemble cast, Laissez-Passer captures the constant feeling of uncertainty that comes with life under enemy rule. Shortages of food and fuel, terrifying bombing raids and the brutal persecution of Jewish citizens combine to create rugged tension, and Tavernier's commendably unafraid to head off in unexpected directions. This is especially true of an sequence involving Devaivre being parachuted into England, where he's interrogated by tea-drinking British officers.

A moving tribute to the ingenuity and courage of those real-life film-makers to whom Laissez-Passer is dedicated.

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