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Farewell

Submitted by admin on August 19, 2010 – 12:47 pmNo Comment
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Farewell describes in detail the events that preceded the fall of the Cold War. This French film boasts an international cast, excellent pacing and a brilliantly realized story. Was the fall of the Berlin Wall and the eventual collapse of Russia foretold by rock music as envisioned by Queen?

On a side note, here are news reports that Boris Yeltsin, on a visit to Houston/NASA in 1989, went into a Randall’s supermarket and realized that even the poorest person in America can walk into a store 24/7 and buy whatever they need. Yeltsin knew that the end of the Cold War was nigh. In Farewell we view a performance shot of Freddy Mercury warbling “We Will Rock You.” When Farewell’s spies make their trade-offs the payoff is not monetary gain but merely a Queen cassette. Another scene has an excellent background Pink Floyd song playing during a crucial verbal exchange as if saying in the midst of world changing events the participants were just rocking out.
Farewell boasts an international cast beyond reproach. Emir Kusturica (an award winning internationally acclaimed director in his own right – this guy made a film, Arizona Dream, that starred Johnny Depp and Jerry Lewis) and Guillaume Canet, one of France’s current leading actors as well as the director of the totally awesome Tell No One, are pawns in the greater spy game. The Spy Who Came In From the Cold meets modern reality where nobody cares, in the bitter cold end, who lives or dies.
Farewell refers to the nom de plume of the spy who changed the political landscape of 20th-century. Rather than use codename “adieu” the spy calls himself by the way an American would say au revoir. Farewell. By only demanding Queen recordings and forbidden poetry The Spy set a high standard for his profession. In fact, the story is based on actual events and The Spy went undetected until nearly the last moment because he was the last person you would suspect. Make your moves in plain sight.
There are wives involved and they’re not happy, and actually historic figures manipulate; Fred Ward plays Ronald Reagan, and other actors play Mitterrand and Gorbachev. The timeline is the early to mid-80s and the Star Wars initiative plays a part. But this is a personal journey and the larger events are depicted subtly on the canvas of the film.
Farewell hold surprises. For instance the CIA chieftain played by Willem Dafoe seems a dispensable character at first. Only in Farewell’s penultimate scene Dafoe gives the definitive monologue to end all explanation as to what went down. It’s a powerful moment at the end of a powerful film.

- Michael Bergeron

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