FarewellSeptember 23, 2009
The French intelligence service alerts the U.S. about a Soviet spy operation during the height of the Cold War, which sets off an unfortunate chain of events.
Release Year: 2009
Rating: 6.9/10 (2,388 voted)
Critic's Score: 74/100
Stars: Diane Kruger, Willem Dafoe, Guillaume Canet
In 1985, Sergei Gregoriev, a Soviet colonel, wants to force his nation to reform, so he leaks secret information to the West. He picks an unlikely contact, a Pierre Froment, French nebbish in the diplomatic corps. Gregoriev keeps a lot of balls in the air – a marriage, a teen son he's trying to bond with, a mistress who's a colleague at work; his tradecraft is equally reckless. Meanwhile, Froment keeps his spy work secret from his Russian wife, and Mitterrand uses Gregoriev's information to make France indispensable to Reagan and his government. When Gregoriev leaks a list of key Soviet moles and spies, Gorbachev is left without secret intelligence. Will Gregoriev get what he wants?
Writers: Christian Carion, Eric Raynaud
Alexandra Maria Lara
Agent écossais 1
(as Oleksii Gorbunov)
Secrets have the power to change the course of history.
Release Date: 23 September 2009
Filming Locations: France
Box Office Details
Did You Know?
Alexander Avdeev (Russian ambassador in France who became Russian Culture Minister and who had been expelled from France in 1983 because of Farewell) blocked most Russian actors to play in this movie, including Sergey Makovetskiy and Nikita Mikhalkov, because he did not want to back a movie about a Russian traitor. He also blocked authorizations to film in Moscow, while most of the plot takes place in Moscow. Christian Carion had to pretend to film a Coca Cola advertisement for the few images of the city.
In a scene identified as taking place in April 1981, Grigoriev's son listens to the Queen/David Bowie song "Under Pressure." The song was not recorded until July 1981, released in October 1981.
A Frenchman helped start this game, another the reviews (Screen)
A few months ago, I was reading a biography about the French President,
François Mitterand and it discussed this Farewell case. As Mitterand
had known about this, you can be sure this was a highly top secret
file. But I can't remember what really happens so I was very eager to
see this movie.
In addition, the cold war time was my childhood and teen years, and as
"Watchmen" did earlier, those movies bring now, nostalgia.
Actually, it was an old colleague of mine who thinks to this movie and
we left the theater totally pleased. I really like French cinema when
it doesn't forget what cinema is, that is to say: pictures moving with
sound to tell a story! Usually, French movies are only speeches with no
camera moves and silence, always telling about "old" France or failed
Here, since the beautiful credits, you understand that it will be a
great movie and what it's about: CCCP vs. USA. Communism vs.
Capitalism. As it's involved spies and moles, this conflict draws on
the blood on common, "little" people, not the delusion of "James Bond".
It all starts with the courage and bravery of individual people for
whom beliefs, truth, justice, liberty are as essential as everything
else (familial values, job fame, material life,…). Thus, becoming spy
is per se dangerous for one's own life but it threatens all that you
can have built in your life, especially family. This danger is depicted
with great talent in the movie. Choices are hard and nothing comes
Another aspect of spy life is shown with intelligence: as Mulder would
say, "Trust no one": if you are a spy, others can be spy-hunters, thus
you get paranoid, suspicious with everyone: the "babushka"
(grandmother), the maid, colleagues, the big head of administration.
Worst: the golden rule in espionage is that a spy is always alone, thus
spies can killed each other without even knowing it. That's the
terrible tragedy in this movie
In addition to spy life, this movie offers also deep thoughts about
married life, and parenthood. The big adversary there isn't ideology
but time. Kids grown up, love flame can be extinguished. You got to be
cautious, even more than for your spy business. The infidelity,
cheating times in the movie are funny, because they seem so far away
for all this political war and yet, they act the same!
But, to be good, a movie needs, beyond ideas, people and here, every
one delivers: I didn't know so far the director, Caron as a director
but he deserves to be recognized: He has been able to change scope
every time (From White House to bench talking about poetry) and he is
imaginative: I really liked the sequences of driving, between "Duel"
and De Palma, and the end credits.
I don't know if the locations are indeed Russian but you really got the
feel of a socialist republic and the 80's: Walkman, Pink-Floyd, Queen
and 8mm movies! My father had the same hobby than Farewell and as his
son, my brother and I can be seen running on the wall! A very moving
moment for me.
The cast is greatly rich with exceptional guest-stars: I remember
Ingeborha Dapkounaite from my Russian period. Willem Dafoe is always a
(machiavelic) presence in whatever he does. It's funny to see "Hutch"
and the participation from Gorby and Mitterand, because they look very
much like the real ones. From my point of view, Reagan is too young and
energetic but I agree with his pictorial as a cowboy, past actor
because the above-mentioned book about Mitterand says the same. And he
was also a funny movie critic: just read the poster of this movie!
Now, for our pair of spies, Canet is a good choice because the part
needed a low profile, not big mouth actor, which he is. And Kusturica
is truly an "Emir", AMAZING! He shows so much humanity within his gruff
I really hope that this movie will be attended by big crowds and wins a
lot of awards (especially for Emir) because their success would be the
long-awaited homage to the real people in this story!
Definitively, a reference in spy movie!