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Farewell [Blu-ray]

4.3 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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(Apr 12, 2011)
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Editorial Reviews

In 1981, Colonel Grigoriev of the KGB (real name - Vladimir Vetrov), disenchanted with what the Communist ideal has become under Brezhnev, decides he is going to change the world. Discreetly, he makes contact with a French engineer working for Thomson in Moscow and little by little passes on documents to him - mainly concerning the United States - containing information which would constitute the most important Cold War espionage operation known to date.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Willem Dafoe, Guillaume Canet, Fred Ward, Emir Kusturica, Diane Kruger
  • Directors: Christian Carlon
  • Format: AC-3, Blu-ray, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Neoclassics Films
  • DVD Release Date: April 12, 2011
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004D7SB84
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #144,631 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
"Farewell" (L'affaire Farewell) is a Cold War espionage thriller inspired by the real-life case of Vladmir Vetrov, a KGB officer who, in the 1980s, gave the French domestic intelligence agency DST the names of KGB agents in the West who were involved in industrial and technological espionage. While there are obvious similarities in Vetrov's story and that of the characters in the film (e.g. Vetrov passed information through a French engineer of his acquaintance), Vetrov was a good deal more careless, and drunk, than his likeness in the film, which was a fatal flaw. Director Christian Carion adapted the screenplay from Serguei Kostine's nonfiction book "Bonjour Farewell: La verité de la taupe française du KGB."

In 1981, a French engineer working in Moscow, Pierre Froment (Guillaume Canet), gets deeper into the espionage business than he intended when a favor for the French security agency DST puts him in contact with a high-ranking KGB officer who wants to pass secrets. Col. Sergei Grigoriev (Emir Kusturica) thinks the Soviet Union needs a new revolution and that it will only have one if the supply of pilfered technology from the West is cut off. He intends to expose the network of Soviet spies called Line X. Pierre is uneasy in his role but can't bring himself to quit. French President Mitterand (Phillipe Magnan) receives regular reports on the project, as does US President Ronald Reagan (Fred Ward), who is surprised to learn that the US space and air defense programs were an open book.

Most of "Farewell" takes place in Moscow in the early to mid-1980s. The period detail is interesting in itself. It's a character drama with tension but without suspense until the final act. Pierre Froment is an anxious man, Grigoriev a disillusioned dreamer.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The French film -- L'affaire Farewell -- was made based on the Farewell dossier and released in 2009, the English version in 2010. It has received excellent reviews, featuring Guillaume Canet (playing Patrick Ferrant, as "Pierre Fremont") and Emir Kusturica (playing Vladimir Vetrov, as "Gregoriev").

The disintegration of the USSR is inextricably entwined with the life of the courageous Russian who is the subject of this film -- a man with tenacious clarity of purpose and the steely determination to carry on through and accomplish his goal at any price. We are speaking of KGB officer and Russian patriot, Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Ippolitovich Vetrov (1932-1985; code name Farewell).

Vetrov crossed over to the West as a defector-in-place and spied against the KGB and his former Soviet comrades. Why? Because he was sickened by the nepotism of the apparatchiks, the abuses, corruption, and injustice plaguing the KGB specifically, and the lack of individual freedom, hypocrisy of the nomenklatura, inequalities and abuses sustained by the citizens in the entire Soviet system where family connections were more important than merit and hard work. What was his goal? To break the machinery of repression of the corrupt KGB and bring down the Soviet system, even if this task would ultimately lead to his personal destruction and death.

During his active espionage career that lasted less than a year (from March 1981 to January 1982) but was longer than that of most agents operating in a communist police state, Vladimir (Volodia) Vetrov identified and neutralized 422 KGB officers and 54 Western agents (Soviet moles) working for the KGB and the USSR bloc.
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Format: DVD
Serguei Kostine's book 'Bonjour Farewell' serves as the source of the historical moments of one of the most important fractures in the Cold War in 1981 - the act of valor of Sergei Gregoriev - and the script for this very important and controversial film was written by Eric Reynaud and Christian Carion who also directed this stunning film (he is best remembered for his brilliant 'Joyeux Noël' which incidentally starred many of the actors in this film). It is a disturbing movie to watch, a film that was condemned by the Russian government, disallowing filming in Moscow - except for some undercover camera work for an apparent Coca-Cola commercial, and refusing to allow Russian actors to take part in the project. It reveals the brutality of the Communist regime of the time, a period Russia would prefer to remain occult

The story is somewhat convoluted, a fact that makes it even more revealing of the nature of espionage work at the time. Sergei Gregoriev (Emir Kusturica) passes secret documents to French spy Pierre Froment (Guillaume Canet) living in Moscow with his wife (Alexandra Maria Lara), documents so important that Froment must take extraordinary risks to pass them to the US Government. In the US President Reagan (Fred Ward) must balance the importance of these documents with the balance of relationships with the French government under François Mitterrand (Philippe Magnan) it is a tense struggle for power and at the crux of it is Froment and the ultimately captured Gregoriev who is tortured to reveal his French espionage contact. The rush to finish at the end of the film is breathtaking and heartbreaking. There is a conversation between Froment and the US Feeney (Willem Dafoe) that places the soul of the Cold War years in perspective.
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