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Lacome Lucien a Film by Louis Malle Essay

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There is no doubt that Louis Malle while making the movie Lacombe Lucien wanted the eyewitness to feel uncomfortable when watching it. In the film we have to judge for ourselves but at the same time try to understand what leads people to do things that they choose to do. Louis Malle attempted to tell a 'real' story of 'real' people, rather than the good vs evil caricature. Possibly Malle wanted us to feel discomfort while watching the movie so that we identify with the individuals more and in some way, very minor, experience the feelings they experienced which due to the times they lived were very complex and uneasy. He wanted to manipulate the medium of film in order to make the audience reconsider their preconceptions and because the film acts upon the conscious mind far more than any other form of art he managed to achieve his goal effectively. In the movie there are many scenes in which the audience can feel uncomfortable. Whilst it begins we see Lucien cleaning the floors in a hospital. As he walks towards the window, he sees a singing bird. Making sure that nobody is looking he takes out his slingshot and shoots the bird dead. When we see a close up shot of his face, Lucien seems rather proud of himself. << We don’t know whether to laugh at boy’s mischief or to be horrified by a cold blooded killing. >> Despite the fact that the bird is dead, Django Reinhardt’s joyful music is starting to play in the background. This is one of the first times when the audience gets a feeling of discomfort as we wonder why this music was chosen for the particular scene. At the same time we are aware it definitely was not a coincidence. Despite Lucien’s previous reaction, few scenes later he is shown as moved by stroking a dead horse whic...


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...is can cause people to feel uncomfortable as they can come up with a few different conclusions with regards to themselves.



Works Cited

 Altman, Charles F. “ Lacombe Lucien: Laughter as Collaboration,” The French Review, Vol. 49, No. 4, American Association of Teachers of French, (March1976), pp. 549-558.

 Baker, Charles A. “Review: Two Views of Vichy France, ” The French Review, Vol.51, No. 5, American Association of Teachers of French, (April 1978), pp. 763-764

 Hewitt, Leah D. “Salubrious Scandals/Effective Provocations: Identity Politics Surrounding Lacombe Lucien,” South Central Review, Vol. 17, No. 3, Cinema Engage: Activist Filmmaking in French and Francophone Contexts, John Hopkins University Press, (Autumn 2000), pp. 71-85

 Lacombe, Lucien (The Criterion Collection), 2006. Video recording. Directed by Louis Malle, France : Optimum World Releasing



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