Screened as part of NZIFF 2010

Farewell 2009

L’Affaire Farewell

Directed by Christian Carion

This tense, atmospheric, true Cold War spy movie centres on a disillusioned KGB colonel who risked everything in the early 80s to let the West know just how thoroughly Soviet spies had infiltrated American security.

France In English, French and Russian with English subtitles
113 minutes



Bertrand Faivre
Philip Boëffard


Éric Raynaud
Christian Carion
Sergei Kostine


Walther Vanden Ende


Andréa Sedlackova

Production designer

Stéphane Riga

Costume designer

Corinne Jorry


Clint Mansell


Emir Kusturica (Grigoriev)
Guillaume Canet (Pierre)
Alexandra Maria Lara (Jessica)
Ingeborga Dapkunaite (Natasha)
Oleksii Gorbunov (Choukov)
Dina Korzun (Alina)
Philippe Magnan (Mitterrand)
Niels Arestrup (Vallier)
Fred Ward (Reagan)
David Soul (Hutton)
Willem Dafoe (Feeney)
Evgenie Kharlanov (Igor)
Valentin Varetsky (Anatoly)


Toronto 2009


Christian Carion’s tensely atmospheric Cold War spy movie reveals an amazing true story. In the early 80s a disillusioned KGB colonel (Emir Kusturica) decides that the world would be a safer place if the US knew just how thoroughly the Soviets had infiltrated their security. To ferry information into the West the Francophile Russian selects a meek French engineer (Guillaume Canet) whose mounting panic is rendered scarily understandable. — BG

“An extraordinary but little-known episode in international espionage, one that greatly greased the rails for the Soviet Union’s downfall, is fluently recounted in Farewell. If this were an amped-up American production, it would, given its subject matter, be one of the most heavily promoted films of the year… It’s puzzling that the story is not better known of how the Soviets’ extensive network of spies in the United States, some in place for decades, became almost entirely compromised in the early 80s. But it is to the advantage of Farewell (the French code name of the KGB source) that it has remained unfamiliar and therefore all the more astonishing as it plays out in the clear, methodical script by Éric Raynaud, working from a book by Sergei Kostine… It’s juicy, fascinating stuff, well orchestrated by Carion (Merry Christmas) and finely acted – especially by Kusturica,… who moves through the plot’s maze like a big, agile bear.” — Todd McCarthy, Variety

“A harrowing, richly human and well-acted espionage tale… The Big Brother atmosphere in a period Moscow… is stifling and the tense script is riddled with little paranoid touches which ratchet up the suspense.” — Lisa Nesselson, Screendaily