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Les Miserables
France - 1995
Directed by Claude Lelouch


We consider this film to be a masterpiece.  Based on the Victor Hugo novel, the frequent re-telling of this story is a tribute to the classic status that the novel has attained, and the fresh new perspective brought to the film by director, Claude Lelouch, is a tribute to the filmmakers vision.  For this time, the story is set during the days of WWII.

Jean-Paul Belmondo plays three roles, one as Valjean, from the original story, one as Henri Fortin, a chauffeur at the turn of the 20th Century, who is wrongly accused of murder, and Roger Fortin, Henri's son, a former champion boxer who is now a truck driver.   Poor but honest, Fortin agrees to drive a Jewish family to Switzerland to escape the Nazi occupation of France.  As they drive, Fortin asks one of the refugees to read aloud to him.  The Jewish attorney, Andre Ziman begins reading from Les Miserables.  This is how Lelouch introduces the Hugo story, he then carefully blends the old story into the 20th Century setting.  There are some interesting revelations in this new version as characters attempt to break the cycle and change the ultimate outcome.

Costumes and sets are excellent.  The cinematography is outstanding and we were especially impressed by the editing (Helene de Luze), which was seamless and critical to the flow of the film.  Les Miserables won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film (1996).

Runtime:  174 Minutes


Guest Comments

From:  "Julian"

"I also loved this movie but have been astonished by how it has been criticized.   Lelouch is one of world's best directors and he handles this bizarre medley wonderfully."


From:  "fred"

"les miserable = le plus beau film","je suis francaise, et j' aime Lelouch et ses films car cela reflete bien notre societe, ses preoccupation:l'amour et toujours l'amour au milieu des vents et des marrees."


From:  "la Prof"

"I am a French teacher and I show this film to my class at the end of each school year. The students spontaneously applauded at the end of this beautiful, compelling drama. Opening at the dawn of the 20th century, it is a journey through history, as well as a personal journey. It is a tribute to a great work of literature whose characters belong to all cultures and all times. Lelouch's treatment of this classic is inspiring and entertaining; personal and universal; a masterpiece itself."


From:  "?"

"I recently rented this film to watch for French class. I've read the book, and have observed that films based on books generally aren't very good, but I was very pleasantly surprised. As an artistic whole it was beautiful, and the wonderful music throughout bound it all together. I highly recommend this film!"

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