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When he gets out of the Police Academy, Antoine heads for Paris to join the Second Division of the detective branch. Caroline Vaudieu, back on the beat after overcoming alcoholism, chooses the young lieutenant for her vice squad. Full of enthusiasm, Antoine learns the tricks of the trade alongside Vaudieu’s men. She quickly becomes attached to the young man, who is the same age as her son – were he alive…
Little Lieutenant by Xavier Beauvois (France, 2005, 110 min.). Director Xavier Beauvois’ César-nominated drama is not your standard policier. New police lieutenant Antoine Derouère (Jalil Lespert, The Last Mitterrand) is so keen to tackle crime head-on, that he joins a plainclothes crime unit in Paris, even though it means leaving his wife behind in Normandy. Most of his new colleagues look at work as just a daily grind, but he impresses Commandant Caroline Vaudieu (Nathalie Baye, who won the César for Best Actress for the role), a recovering alcoholic who takes a motherly interest in the rookie lieutenant. His work takes a dark turn when the unit investigates a murder, and Antoine’s passion for the case and his partner’s disinterest in it lead to a tragedy that rocks the department. Beauvois is not that interested in crime, per se, instead preferring to chart the personalities inside the station house and the cyclical nature of a job.
Description adapted from the San Francisco Film Festival.
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