Thursday, December 17, 2009

L'oncle de Russie (2006)

This is certainly one of the moving films I have seen. The story seems so real that I wonder if this is based on true story. Francis Girod, director & writer, cast Claude Brasseur to play Gaston.

After 50 years declared missing, 70-year-old Gaston Boissac returns to the small town of Soulières. In the 2nd World War, he was captured by the Germans and sent to Stalag. When the war ended, the Russians liberated him. However, instead of sending him home, he was sent to a labour camp to help building the country of Russia. He was declared missing and refused contact to Western countries. Illiterate he was, Gaston had his Russian wife's friend to help him write letters and send them to France. After 10 years without reply, Gaston gave up.

In 1989, when Gorbachev came to power, President François Mitterrand went to Russia, along with French TV journalists. It was then they heard that case of Gaston Boissac. Gaston returns to his hometown, along with a TV journalist and a Russian interpreter because he cannot speak French anymore. The café owner tells the journalist the rumour about the undelivered letters, that the letters from Gaston did arrive, but his brother and the mayor profited from Gaston's "death", so they pretended never to receive the letters.

I find it so sad that because of greed Gaston must suffer so long. Those suffering years can never be reimbursed. Claude Brasseur plays Gaston to perfection. In the beginning, he looks happy to be home. As time passes, he learns the betrayal that made him lost his inheritance and the woman he loves. He plans to sue his brother. His brother, however, has a shocking news to him. The movie ends with the news of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

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