Lengthy but masterful study of life within France during the Second World War, Laissez-Passer primarily follows the fortunes of the French workers at a Paris-based German production company, who are faced with a moral crisis when the German army occupy their country in 1941. Some feel that to continue working for the German firm is betraying their countrymen, but for others, like assistant director Jean Devaivre (Gamblin), his association with the company hides his work with the French resistance. Others, like Jean Aurenche (Podalydandeacute;s) are far more flexible when it comes to their political leanings. Although heavily populated by characters and subplots, Laissez-Passer is an intensely intricate and personal piece of work. Director Tavernier has the sure hand and assurance of a filmmaker at the height of his powers and his ability to convey universal human themes from these individual stories is something to be marvelled at. The only problem (and it's a slight one, to be honest) is Tavernier occasionally loses focus and is prone to bouts of meandering. But when the final product is as affecting and satisfying as this, minor faults are to be excused.
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