love story between a Frenchwoman
whose husband is missing, believed
captured by the enemy, and a talented
and gentle German officer billeted in her
home, Suite Française is a bitter-sweet
epic drama set against the terrifying
turmoil of Nazi-occupied
WAITING FOR NEWS OF HER HUSBAND GASTON, who has been fighting with the French
army during the Second World War, Lucile Angellier (Michelle Williams) is living
in Bussy, Central France, with her no-nonsense mother-in-law Madame Angellier
(Kristin Scott Thomas), who controls her life; leaving her feeling suffocated.
Lucile hates accompanying her mother-in-law when she turns up at the farms she
owns unannounced to insist on collecting rent, no matter how hard times are
for her tenants during the war with the young men away fighting for France.
is an emotive love story
woven around a
memorable piece of
1940 Hitler's forces had taken Paris, giving Nazi Germany total control of France.
As enemy bombs fall, refugees begin to leave Paris for the comparative safety
of the countryside. Madame Angellier stubbornly refuses to accept France's defeat
and is aghast when she is confronted by men, women and children arriving with
all the belongings they can carry, being strafed by fighter planes near Bussy.
befriends a Jewish woman who arrives with her daughter and, never one to miss
an opportunity, Mme Angellier forces her non-paying tenants into the barn and
places refugees in the farmhouse.
As the tanks roll into Bussy, the villagers are left in no doubt that France
now belongs to the Germans. A list of orders are read out, with strict curfews
and the announcement that a German officer will be billeted with certain families
who should prepare for their arrival.
The mayor, Viscount Montmort (Lambert Wilson), is asked to take in cocky Lieutenant
Kurt Bonnet (Tom Schilling), but he and his wife (Harriet Walter) refuse, insisting
that Bonnet goes to a farm on their estate leased by Benoit Labarie (Sam Riley)
and his wife Madeleine (Ruth Wilson). It is a decision that will have disastrous
and life-threatening consequences for both the Viscount and Benoit.
Lieutenant Bruno Von Falk (Mathias Schoenaerts), a charming, well mannered officer,
accompanied by an abandoned dog he has adopted, is placed with Madame Angellier.
A composer before the war, he plays the piano beautifully; a piece he has written
himself Suite Française.
As Lucile and Bruno become increasingly attracted to each other, Lucile learns
that her husband had been unfaithful to her with one of the villagers and that
he is now in a labour camp in Germany. Facing accusations of being a collaborator
and a German whore, she risks everything by having an affair with Bruno.
Having fallen in love in spite of the war between their countries, Lucile and
Bruno follow their hearts. But the continuing hostilities and Germany's fight
for domination threaten to tear them apart…
All the more poignant for being written by Irène Némirovsky in secret in occupied
France, the marvellously dramatic Suite Française is an emotive love
story woven around a memorable piece of history.
Lucile is both reviled and cultivated for favours; but in helping a friend she
also puts Bruno in danger. Having an early experience of the Germans dealing
swiftly and brutally with apparent crimes, the French villagers in the film
have their own ways of dealing with the enemy occupation, including collaboration,
betrayal or resistance.
With exceptional performances from Kristin Scott Thomas, Michele Williams and
Matthias Schoenaerts, Suite Française is filmed on location in Belgium. The
film also features: Margot Robbie as Celine Joseph; Eric Godon as Monsieur Joseph;
Deborah Findlay as Mme Joseph; Vincent Doms as Young Priest; Simon Dutton as
Maurice Michaud; Diana Kent as Jeanne Michaud; Themis Pauwels as Anna; Alexandra
Maria Lara as Leah; Nicholas Chagrin as Father Bracelet; Clare Holman as Housekeeper
Marthe; Berenice Stegers as Madame Perrin; Paul Ritter as Monsieur Dubois; Heino
Ferch as the Major; Niclas Rohrwacher as Bruno's Orderly Jerome; Luan Gummich
as Florian; Martin Swabey as Gustav; Tara Casey as Madame Goulot; and Moritz
Heidelbach as Junior Soldier.
Original Music by Rael Jones; Bruno's Theme by Alexandre Desplat; Director of
Photography is Eduard Grau; Produced by Xavier Marchand, Romain Brémond, Michael
Kuhn and Andrea Cornwell; Written by Saul Dibb and Matt Charman; Based on Irène
Némirovsky's novel first published by Éditions Denoël in France; Directed by
Saul Dibb (The Duchess).
highly anticipated and intoxicating love story Suite Française is available
in the UK, courtesy of eOne, on DVD and Blu-ray from 27 July 2015 (Download
from 13 July). Certificate: 15 | Running Time: 104 Minutes | Catalogue No: MP1266D/MP1266BR
| RRP: £17.99/£19.99.
Extras: The Cast | Production Design | The Story | The Look | The Book.
"…the marvellously dramatic Suite Française is an emotive love story
woven around a memorable piece of history" Maggie Woods, MotorBar
"Devastatingly stunning ****" Daily Express
"A must-see. Gloriously enjoyable ****" Glamour
"A love story that will make you swoon ****" Heat
"An intoxicating love story ****" Radio Times
AS A JEW, Irène Némirovsky was arrested in 1942 and died in Auschwitz without
completing her hand-written manuscript, which was found by her daughter in a
suitcase almost sixty years later. Suite Française was published in 2004 and
the film is dedicated to the memory of her daughter Denise Epstein Dauple (1929-2013).