7.8/10
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Special Section (1975)

Section spéciale (original title)
In occupied France during the WWII, a German officer is murdered. The collaborationist Vichy government decides to pin the murder on six petty criminals. Loyal judges are called in to convict them as quickly as possible.

Director:

Costa-Gavras
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Louis Seigner ... Joseph Barthélemy - le garde des Sceaux
Roland Bertin Roland Bertin ... Georges Dayras, le secrétaire général du ministère de la Justice
Michael Lonsdale ... Pierre Pucheu, le ministre de l'Intérieur (as Michel Lonsdale)
Ivo Garrani Ivo Garrani ... L'amiral François Darlan, vice-président du Conseil
François Maistre François Maistre ... Marquis Fernand de Brinon, - le délégué général de Vichy
Jacques Spiesser ... Pierre Georges, dit Frédo
Henri Serre ... Le préfet Ingrand, délégué du ministère de l'Intérieur en zone occupée
Heinz Bennent ... Le major Beumelburg
Hans Richter ... Le général Otto von Stülpnagel, le gouverneur militaire de Paris
Pierre Dux ... Raoul Cavarroc, le procureur général
Jacques François ... Maurice Gabolde, le procureur de l'État français
Claudio Gora ... Francis Villette, le premier président de la cour d'appel
Michel Galabru ... Le président Cournet
Claude Piéplu ... Michel Benon, le président de la Section spéciale
Hubert Gignoux Hubert Gignoux ... Maurice Cottin, le juge en 'noir'
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Storyline

In occupied France during the WWII, a German officer is murdered. The collaborationist Vichy government decides to pin the murder on six petty criminals. Loyal judges are called in to convict them as quickly as possible.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Court of Reason or a Court of Treason! See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | Thriller | War

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France | Italy | West Germany

Language:

French | English | German

Release Date:

23 April 1975 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Special Section See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Trivia

Based on a true story. See more »

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User Reviews

Ex post facto law
10 January 2010 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

Unlike "Z" and "L'Aveu" ,"Section Speciale" was not a big success when it was theatrically released ."Z" took place in Greece and "L"Aveu" behind the iron curtain."Section Spéciale" takes place in France and it is no easy to clean your own backyard .Coming after "Le Chagrin Et La Pitié" and "Lacombe Lucien" which both showed the other side of the French attitude towards their occupying forces (till the seventies,most of the movies dealt with the French resistance from "Le Père Tranquille" to "L'Armée Des Ombres" ),Costa-Gavras showed how the French used the law to commit injustice .And these French who sentenced their compatriots to death were not troubled after the Liberation (whereas others who did not kill anybody were).Main objection:"if we had not sacrificed these ones,a hundred of French people would have been shot..."

Although Costa-Gavras made his movie accessible to everyone (story telling has always been his forte,even in his American career),he did not try to sweeten the screenplay with love affairs or melodrama (the past of one of the victims,played by Yves Robert ,is almost treated with nonchalance and casualness).Although there is no superstar here (nobody like Yves Montand) most of the actors,even in small parts,were widely known by the French audience of the seventies: his producer,Jacques Perrin,had been the rebellious journalist in "Z" and he portrays the only lawyer who really "plays".

But Costa-Gavras's best idea for the casting is the choice of Claude Pieplu as the presiding judge: his high-pitched voice -it's necessary to see the movie in French with subtitles- works wonders,so to speak,and I can't see no other French actor in this part.This man was so talented he would convince you that all he did was for the sake of his homeland.


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