22 October 2021

Robert Enrico's Le Vieux Fusil | The Old Gun (1975)

This film won the 1976 Cannes film festival best film award, plus best actor for Philippe Noiret and best score. It is set in late 1944 towards the end of the war, and the massacre is based on the massacre at Oradour-sur-Glane. The major events take place in the Châteaux de Bruniquel (Tarn-et-Garonne). Julien (Noiret) is a surgeon in Montauban happily married to Clara (Romy Schneider) with a daughter. He thinks it best, under the circumstances of the Nazi presence in Montauban, for his wife and daughter to escape to his old castle. However, when Julien goes to the village he finds that the population has been slaughtered in the church and that the Nazis are spending their final days in France in the castle. When Julien sneaks up there he finds that his daughter has been murdered and his wife incinerated to a castle wall with a flamethrower. Understandably enraged, he at first takes his anger out on religion by knocking down the statues of Christ and Mary, but he is resolved to kill off all remaining Nazis at the castle with an old rifle. Apparently this was at the time seen as a very violent film.

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