Picks and Pans Review: The Last Metro
François Truffaut's best work in a decade, this film is set in France during the Nazi Occupation. It focuses on a small Paris theater run by Catherine Deneuve in the absence of her husband (Heinz Bennent), who as a Jew must hide from persecution in a cellar. Enter Gérard Depardieu as an actor who uses his rakish reputation to mask his role in the French Resistance. This is the ménage à trois situation of Truffaut's Jules and Jim, just as the director's affection for the actor's life also suggests Day for Night. But here both themes seem richer, more mature. In a time when free speech is forbidden, the work of the artist becomes a true commitment. The barrel-chested Depardieu is raffishly funny claiming to crave women like warm croissants. But the film belongs to Deneuve, who has never looked more heart-stoppingly beautiful. Nor has she ever acted with such luminous strength as she does here, playing a woman torn between loyalty to her husband and passion for the actor. There is no nudity, but one love scene under a table becomes an erotic cinema landmark revealing no more than Deneuve's long legs and black patent pumps. With so much sly wit, intelligence and heart—all under the sure hand of Truffaut—The Last Metro glides effortlessly into greatness. (Not rated)
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