An Irrepressible Woman
- 1h 43min
Teenage Jeanne Reichenbach fell in love with Socialist premier Leon Blum, who had led a French Popular Front government in the 1930s. Now that he is in the Buchenwald camp after the German i... Read allTeenage Jeanne Reichenbach fell in love with Socialist premier Leon Blum, who had led a French Popular Front government in the 1930s. Now that he is in the Buchenwald camp after the German invasion, she risks her life to find him.Teenage Jeanne Reichenbach fell in love with Socialist premier Leon Blum, who had led a French Popular Front government in the 1930s. Now that he is in the Buchenwald camp after the German invasion, she risks her life to find him.
'Je ne reve que de vous' is a love story between a famous man approaching the age of 70 and a woman 27 years younger than him. He is Leon Blum, the first socialist prime minister of France, the head of the Popular Front government that came to power in 1936, a government which in a short time legislated in France social and labor rights that were a first for those times: the right to strike, paid annual leave, working week not exceeding 40 hours. Jeanne Reichenbach is a wealthy Jew who fell in love with him as a teenager. In 1940, when the story in the film begins, they had both been married twice before, had children, Leon Blum is even a grandfather. After the defeat of France, Leon Blum was one of the few French politicians who opposed the Vichy collaborationist government. As a left-wing politician and a Jew, he was in double danger. He is arrested, a trial is being staged, he is being deported. Jeanne refuses to leave France and abandon Leon, even though she was already in danger here simply because she was Jewish. He will accompany and support the imprisoned politician, even in the deportation (on preferential conditions, however, because he was considered a hostage and not an ordinary detainee) to Buchenwald. The film accompanies the two and the way the relationship between them evolves in these years of hardship.
Laurent Heynemann chooses a romanticized docu-drama approach, with the romance part taking precedence over the political and historical aspects. He still manages to keep quite close to the historical truth reflected by the documents of the time, by Jeanne's personal notes and by the correspondence between the two. The rendition of the political and bourgeois circles during the defeat of France and the Vichy regime is accurate and interesting, sketching credible portraits of some of the personalities of the time (including Pierre Laval, the regime's number two, played by Philippe Torreton). The emotional power of the film is mainly due to the acting performance of Elsa Zylberstein, an actress known especially for comedy roles, who manages here to create the image of a passionate and enterprising woman, loving and dignified, ready to make any sacrifice to help the man of her life. Hippolyte Girardot in the role of Leon Blum and Emilie Dequenne in the role of his daughter-in-law also do well in the roles entrusted to them. The characters sometimes evolve too predictably, and the drama is missing, maybe because many of us are familiar with the historical characters and their fate, but still, 'Je ne reve que de vous' is a more than decent production, which deserves a better fate than being buried in the heap of movies whose path to viewers has been seriously disrupted by the years of the pandemic.
- Oct 15, 2021