Special Section (film)

  (Redirected from Section spéciale)

Special Section (French: Section spéciale) is a 1975 French film directed by Costa-Gavras and based on the novel L'affaire de la Section Spéciale by Hervé Villeré. It stars Louis Seigner, Roland Bertin, Michael Lonsdale, Ivo Garrani, François Maistre, Jacques Spiesser, Henri Serre, Heinz Bennent and Claude Piéplu. It is named after the Special Sections of Vichy France.

Special Section
Section spéciale.jpg
Directed byCosta-Gavras
Written byCosta-Gavras
Jorge Semprún
Hervé Villeré
Produced byGérard Crosnier
StarringLouis Seigner
CinematographyAndréas Winding
Edited byFrançoise Bonnot
Music byMichel Legrand
Release date
23 April 1975
Running time
118 minutes

The film shared the Best Director prize at the 1975 Cannes Film Festival,[1] and was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film by the U.S. National Board of Review.[2] It was also nominated for a Golden Globe award for best foreign film.


In France during the German occupation, a young German naval officer is killed in Paris by a group of leftist activists. The compliant Vichy government seeks to appease the Germans by locating the perpetrators and agreeing to the execution of six people, and a special section is set up for this purpose. The section consists of judges who are too ambitious, cowardly or inhuman to refuse such work. The flames of totalitarianism must be stoked, even with innocent blood, and it is especially convenient to the government if the accused are thoroughly expendable in their eyes.



Costa-Gavras' film stirred some controversy as it told a story of Vichy France, which made some critics feel that it was a one-sided piece about collaboration.[citation needed] Costa-Gavras stated that he was aiming for the truth and felt that he achieved it with the film.[citation needed] Despite the debate, it opened to positive reviews in France and the U.S.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Section spéciale". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
  2. ^ "1975 Award Winners". National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. 2019. Retrieved 16 May 2019.

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