After a wildly successful festival journey with his last short film, the feel good romantic/sci-fi Far, Brian James Crewe comes back at us united with Marion Kerr once again for Une Libération, a darker film than we're used to getting from Crewe yet a film that continues Crewe's history of celebrating the human spirit in the most extraordinary of circumstances.
Une Libération is a historical dramatic thriller set on the eve of the liberation of Paris from Nazi occupation during World War II. Frequent Crewe collaborator Marion Kerr (Dark Skies, Criminal Minds), who also wrote the screenplay for the film, plays Juliet, an American Resistance member risking her life by descending into the city's underground tunnels to deliver a message to fellow fighter Jean (Ross Marquand, The Walking Dead, Mad Men). However, when Juliet encounters a pair of German deserters the very thing she's been fighting for is threatened.
The most successful war-time films, at least in my estimation, are those films that can personalize the experience. Une Libération does this very thing largely on the strength of Kerr's insightful, intelligent, and emotionally resonant script that captures both the universal and personal aspects of this story and this time period.
As seems to always be the case for Crewe's films, Une Libération is a perfectly cast film with Marion Kerr once again proving that she's one of indie cinema's most diverse and talented actresses. I must confess that I worried quite a bit when I saw the subject matter for Une Libération, not because I didn't think a film could handle the subject matter but because doing so well and with compelling characters within the short span of a sixteen-minute film is an incredibly daunting task.
In addition to Kerr's intelligent yet sensitive performance, recent The Walking Dead addition Ross Marquand proves to be the perfect complement for Kerr as Jean. Those familiar with Marquand's work already know that he has a gift for vocal work, a gift that manifests nicely in this passionate and satisfying performance. As the two deserters, Mark Jaeger and Matthew Temple serve up memorable performances in what could have just as easily been one-note caricatures.
Une Libération's soon to be announced world premiere may be noteworthy for the fact that the film's D.P., George Feucht (V/H/S Viral, Dance of the Dead) has already picked up an award for his work on the film by being the recipient of the 2014 Emerging Cinematographers Award from the International Cinematographers Guild. Composer Darren Fung's closing credits piece is a cinematic wonder unto itself, while longtime editor Crewe handed off that task into the capable hands of award-winning editor Jamie Cobb. Kudos must be given to the entire production team for crafting a convincing portrait of 1940's Paris utilizing only a couple underground locales in Los Angeles.
As always seems to happen when Crewe and Kerr work together, Une Libération is both an intellectually satisfying and emotionally honest film that takes a universal story and makes it a powerfully intimate one.
For more information on the film, visit the Une Libération and watch for Crewe's upcoming announcements about the film's world premiere and early fest appearances.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic