Foreign Film Review -For a Woman (2013)

SUMMARY

For a Woman is a recent French film which explores the dynamics of marriage, family and even politics. It begins as two sisters, Tania and Anne, go through their mother’s effects after her passing. This leads Anne into a further search into her parent’s history. The film then moves into the past and the main story line surrounding their parents Michel and Léna.

Michel and Léna are Russian Jews. They have managed to survive WWII and escape from the horrors of the concentration camp. Michel falls in love with Léna at first sight. But their decision to marry is more one of gratitude and necessity for her. They migrate to the French city of Lyon where they apply for citizenship, start a family and open a men’s clothing shop.

Their life is a contented one with Léna absorbed in raising their daughter and Michel joining a small group of Communists. Everything changes with the arrival of Jean, the man who claims to be Michel’s younger brother. Because Jean is Michel’s only remaining family, he is welcomed into their home. Though Jean and Michel reminisce about their childhood, Jean is less forthcoming with his role in the war and his current secretive activities.

As Jean’s stay with them drags on tensions mount and rise to the surface. Michel begins to question his brother’s political beliefs and purpose in France. Léna wrestles with her growing attraction to her brother-in-law and her increasing discontent with her life. When Jean’s undercover life finally catches up with him, it puts the whole family in danger.

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