Farewell/L’affaire Farewell Greenwich Picture House 30 April

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In general

It is the beginning of the 1980s; in Moscow, an intelligence officer called Grigoriev and played by Emir Kusturics has lost all patience with the system and is passing material to a French engineer (called Froment and played by Guillaume Canet).   Since Grigoriev is working in a central bureau concerned with overall assessment he has a lot of good stuff, in particular showing that the entirety of Western intelligence has been compromised; since Froment is an complete outsider and off the spy radar he thinks he might get away with it.

I certainly enjoyed it, especially perhaps the shots of Soviet-era Moscow, which was all a bit too clean and orderly for my liking perhaps.  I was glad to see that the French characters spoke French and the Russian characters Russian.  Kusturica (a Serb) clearly wasn’t a native Russian speaker–the explanation given was that he was from Moldavia–but he portrayed a very Russian character.  The American characters  spoke English!–I don’t think that the home audience would have stood for a French-speaking Reagan somehow. We also enjoyed a reappearance from the very lovely Ingeborga Dapkunaite as Grigoriev’s wife.

Things that worried me and *SPOILERS*

This is supposed to be a top-secret intelligence establishment and people can just wander into the filestore when they feel like it (or feel like extramarital sex)?  Certainly when I worked in an entity that ran agents in hostile organisations, the very idea that there might be a complete uncoded list of all of those agents would have been unthinkable.  Also anywhere dealing with any kind of sensitive information you just don’t leave files hanging around on your desk.  And you need to stop the operatives screwing each other, or rather having relationships with each other–you never know who has access to what .

I wouldn’t have called that wolf thing by Alfred de Vigny a poema–surely it’s a stikhotvorenie–and it’s rather reminiscent of Vladimir Vysotsky anyway.  Surely wolf, as opposed to poodle say, is Russian more than French?

La mort du loup  with translation here.

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