Farewell (L'Affaire Farewell) - a romantic thriller set in the midst of the Cold War
Starring Emir Kusterica and Guilliame Canet
Adapted from Serguei Kostine’s 1997 book Bonjour Farewell: La vérité sur la taupe française du KGB, Christian Carion’s true-life espionage thriller is a cut above most.
Based loosely on the actions of high ranking KGB official and spy Vladimir Vetrov, Farewell is a complex but tender portrait of the Cold War in free fall, a place where a passionate eccentric like Vetrov (here renamed Grigoriev) can cause havoc on the information exchange highway.
It’s the early 1980s and Grigoriev (Emir Kusterica, excellent) is disillusioned with the communist system and decides to start passing Soviet secrets to the French government. Grigoriev uses naïve Moscow based French engineer Pierre (Guillaume Canet) as his intermediary. As their friendship slowly grows, the diplomatic hole they are in deepens, dramatically and ultimately tragically.
Intelligent, funny and mildly nostalgic for the Boy's Own stupidity of the era, Farewell works because Christian Carion (as both screenwriter and director) allows the master of this kind of thing – John Le Carre – to guide him. Thus the motives here are more personal than political, the home lives of the protagonists are given as much screen time as the political implications of East West moral equivalence. Farewell is worth saying hello to.
Selected release from Fri 29 Apr.