Triple Agent review

Set in the Russian émigré community in Paris between 1936 and 1943, Triple Agent is ostensibly a spy drama. However, given that it's written and directed by veteran French auteur Eric Rohmer, don't be surprised by the absence of any nerve-jangling action sequences.

The two main characters are Fiodor (Serge Renko), an exiled Russian general, and Arsinoé (Katerina Didaskalou), his Greek-born artist wife. The couple seem devoted to one another, yet Fiodor is reluctant to tell Arsinoe about his political beliefs or his working trips abroad. Is he spying for the Bolsheviks, or might he even be in the pay of the Nazis?

Contrasting the urbane dialogue with the wider upheavals depicted in period newsreel footage, Rohmer manages to cleverly blend irony and tragedy in his portrayal of a man who fatally overestimates his own influence. It's an undeniably dialogue-heavy film, but the performances are assured and it's shot and directed with Rohmer's elegant simplicity.

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