One of the greatest films about Occupied France during the Second World War also proved to be the most controversial of Malle’s career. It was awarded the BAFTA for Best Film in 1975 and was nominated for an Oscar.
France. 1944. The allies are fighting their way into Normandy and 17-year-old Lucien Lacombe (Pierre Blaise) is keen to join the Resistance. Turned down by them because of his age and arrested by chance, he soon finds himself as an informant to the local Carlingue, the French auxiliaries of the Gestapo. The information he gives leads to the capture of a suspect and the authorities realise that Lucien may be able to help them further. To Lucien this is not so much a betrayal of his people than a way of doing something in the world.
On its release, Malle’s film was decried as an apologia for collaborators and for suggesting that not every French citizen was a member of the resistance.