August 1941. Following the murder of a German soldier by the communist resistance, the collaborationist Vichy government institutes special courts to placate the Nazis with retributive executions. Weaving in dozens of characters from the highest echelons of the French regime to the victims of the courts’ retroactive sentences, great political director Costa-Gavras reveals how quickly the rule of law gives way to the rule of might, exposing the mechanisms of collaboration and repression with piercing concision. This scrupulously factual account of a dark pass in France’s institutional history is a timely reminder of what happens when state policy trumps justice.
Enjoy conversation, wine, and beer after both screenings