Gérard has been a loyal supporter of communism for all his adult life, serving in the French Resistance during the Second World War and supporting the civil war in Spain. Now, in 1951, he is the deputy minister for foreign affairs in Czechoslovakia. One day, he discovers that he is being followed, and, shortly after he is arrested and taken away to a makeshift prison. Without knowing why he has been arrested or who his captors are, Gérard is ordered to confess to his crimes against the State…
Yves Montand … A.L. / Artur London
Simone Signoret … Mme L. / Lise London
Gabriele Ferzetti … Kohoutek
Michel Vitold … Smola
Jean Bouise … Boss of factory
László Szabó … Secret policeman
Guy Mairesse … Le médecin
Marc Eyraud … Un politique
Gérard Darrieu … Un policier
Costa-Gavras followed his hugely successful film Z with L’Aveu, the second of what was to become a series of critically acclaimed political thrillers. L’Aveu was based on the novel by Arthur London which recounted his own experiences of detention by the USSR state police. The film, like the novel, offers a shocking and vivid portrayal of the brutal methods used by the police during the Stalinist regime, and also evokes the insane paranoia which marked this period of political turmoil in Eastern Europe.
Although it is a compelling and disturbing work, L’Aveu is far less accessible than Z. Much of the political dialogue will go way over the heads of most audiences, and the repetitive nature of the torture scenes is almost a torture to watch. Despite this, the audience is rewarded with one of Yves Montand’s best screen performances. Montand’s wife in this film is in fact played by his real-life wife, Simone Signoret.