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3. Le Retour de Martin Guerre (The Return of Martin Guerre)

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Set in the 16th century, the film relates a true story about a young man from Southern France who leaves his village to fight in the Wars of Religion. He comes back to his village and family eight years after he left - now a different man.

Nobody questions the changes in him after so many years until one day a vagrant claims to recognise him and says that he is not the real Martin Guerre. His family are forced to consider the possibility that he may not be who he claims to be. Eventually the question goes to court.

Nathalie Baye as Martin's wife is exceptional, and so is Roger Planchon, (Jean de Coras) whose wisdom and humanity come across so well. (At the end of the film we are reminded of the historical foundation of the story, and its setting during the Wars of Religion, when we learn that Jean de Coras was later burned as a heretic for his Huguenot beliefs.)

The action takes place in the countryside of the County of Foix in southern France, and at the Parliament at Toulouse, the regional capital. Both are superbly portrayed - and the historical detail is impeccable.

The film was remade for parochial US audiences as "Somersby" - as always, a very poor imitation of the original.

 

Genre: Historical Drama
Year: 1982
Runtime: 122 min
Country: France
Colour: Color (Fujicolor)
Sound Mix: Mono
Directed by Daniel Vigne
Writing credits
Jean-Claude Carrière
Janet Lewis (novel)


Cast
Gérard Depardieu, Arnaud de Tihl
Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu, Martin Guerre
Nathalie Baye, Bertrande de Rols
Roger Planchon, Jean de Coras
Maurice Jacquemont, Judge Rieux
Isabelle Sadoyan, Catherine Boere
Rose Thiéry, Raimonde de Rols
Maurice Barrier, Uncle Pierre Guerre
Stéphane Peau, Young Martin
Sylvie Méda, Young Bertrande
Chantal Deruaz, Jeanne
Valérie Chassigneux, Guillemette
Tchéky Karyo, Augustin
Dominique Pinon, Antoine
Adrien Duquesne, Sanxi Guerre



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