Le dernier métro (1980)
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Le dernier métro (The Last Metro) is one of the reddest movies I've ever seen. François Truffaut is either decorating his Occupied France with Nazi colors, or means to evoke passion, or tragedy. With Catherine Deneuve in the lead role - an actress hiding her Jewish playwright husband in the basement of their theater - makes us believe in a possible affair with the new actor on her stage, played by Gérard Depardieu, but none of the relationships are so cut and dried. There's a complexity there that definitely dips into ambiguity, and Truffaut uses the content of the plays presented to make us believe in emotional content that may not be true. Beyond the relationship drama, the film is also quite truthful about life in the theater, and goes further by showing us theater under Nazi control - censorship, power outages, Gestapo searches, and a time when theater was incredibly popular as a refuge from the anxieties of occupation and war. And of course, it is a literal refuge for one man.
The underlying plot is good. The acting is great. But the long, drawn out drama is almost disheartening given the stellar cast. I really expected more when I discovered what the movie was about. Unfortunately, the otherwise endearing ending falls on yawning ears. Still, if you have a few hours to kill, the acting is worth watching.
For more than an hour this is dreary stuff, and even though it picks up towards the end, it feels too stiff, too unimaginative and too long. The cast, though very talented, is given little to do except talk, and since their conversions for the most part lack dramatic content, it becomes difficult to feel any real connections to any of the characters. It might be subtle, but I don't care.
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In 8 official lists
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This movie ranks #6 in César Award - Best French Film
This movie ranks #132 in Academy Award - Best International Feature Film Nominees
This movie ranks #185 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
This movie ranks #233 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die
This movie ranks #457 in The New York Times's Book of Movies
This movie ranks #486 in The Criterion Collection
This movie ranks #660 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #802 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films: 1001-2000