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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)

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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The titles (in the US) of the best French films, sorted by title

  Title Year
8 Women2001
Music, Comedy, Crime, Mystery
François Ozon
A Heart in Winter1992
Romance, Drama, Music
Claude Sautet
Beauty and The Beast1946
Fantasy Drama, Romance
Jean Cocteau
Belle de Jour1967
Erotic Drama
Luis Buñuel
Betty Blue1986
Romace, Drama
Jean-Jacques Beineix
Birds Of A Feather1978
Edouard Molinaro
Bitter Moon1992
Sado-masochistic Erotic Drama
Roman Polanski
Drama, Romance
Jean-Luc Godard
Children of Paradise1945
Drama, Romance
Marcel Carne
10 Cyrano de Bergerac1990
Romance, Drama
Jean-Paul Rappeneau
11 Delicatessen1991
Sci-Fi Comedy
Marc Caro & Jean-Pierre Jeunet
12 Diva1981
Action Thriller, Drama
Jean-Jacques Beineix
13 French Twist1995
Josiane Balasko
14 Hidden2005
Michael Haneke
15 Hiroshima, Mon Amour1959
Romance, Drama
Alain Resnais
16 Jean de Florette1986
Drama, Modernised Greek Tragedy
Claude Berri
17 Jesus of Montreal1989
Denys Arcand
18 Jules et Jim1961
Romance, Drama
François Truffaut
19 La Controverse de Valladolid1992
History (16thC), Drama
Jean-Daniel Verhaeghe
20 La Femme Nikita1990
Crime, Thriller, Romance, Drama
Luc Besson
21 Manon of the Spring1986
Drama, Romance, modernised Greek Tragedy
Claude Berri
22 Monsieur Hire1989
Crime Thriller, Romance, Drama
Patrice Leconte
23 My Life in Pink1997
Comedy Drama
Alain Berliner
24 One Swallow Brought Spring2001
Comedy, Romance, Drama
Christian Carion
25 Queen Margot1994
History (16thC) Drama, Biography, History, Romance
Patrice Chéreau
26 Ridicule1996
History (18thC) Drama
Patrice Leconte
27 Swimming Pool2003
Psychological Thriller, Mystery Drama
François Ozon
28 The 400 Blows1959
Crime Drama
François Truffaut
29 The Big Blue1988
Drama, Romance
Luc Besson
30 The City of Lost Children1995
Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro
31 The Closet2001
Comedy Drama
Francis Veber
32 The Discrete Charm of the Bougoisie1972
Surreal Black Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
Luis Buñuel
33 The Dominici Affair1973
Crime Drama Mystery
Claude Bernard-Aubert
34 The Double Life of Veronique1991
Music, Fantasy, Romance, Psychological Drama
Krzysztof Kieslowski
35 The Fabulous Destiny of Amelie Poulain2001
Comedy, Romance, Drama
Jean-Pierre Jeunet
36 The Girl On The Bridge1999
Comedy, Romance, Fantasy, Drama
Patrice Leconte
37 The Hate1995
Crime, Drama
Mathieu Kassovitz
38 The Last Metro1980
Romance, History (WW2) Drama
François Truffaut
39 The Piano Teacher2001
Drama, Music
Michael Haneke
40 The Reader1988
Mildly Erotic Comedy Fantasy
Michel Deville
41 The Return of Martin Guerre1982
History (16thC) Drama, Biography, Crime, Mystery,
Daniel Vigne
42 The Visitors1993
Fantasy, Comedy
Jean-Marie Poiré
43 Three Colors: Blue1993
Drama, Music, Mystery, Romance
Krzysztof Kieslowski
44 Three Colors: Red1994
Drama, Mystery, Romance
Krzysztof Kieslowski
45 Three Colors: White1994
Comedy, Drama, Mystery, Romance
Krzysztof Kieslowski

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