The Confession (1970 film)

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The Confession
Directed by Costa-Gavras
Produced by Robert Dorfmann
Bertrand Javal
Written by Jorge Semprún
Artur London (the book L'aveu)
Starring Yves Montand
Simone Signoret
Gabriele Ferzetti
Cinematography Raoul Coutard
Edited by Françoise Bonnot
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date
  • 29 April 1970 (1970-04-29)
Running time
139 min
Language French

The Confession (French: L'aveu) is a 1970 French-Italian film directed by Costa-Gavras and stars Yves Montand and Simone Signoret.

It is based on the true story of the Czechoslovak communist Artur London, a defendant in the Slánský trial. Gavras did not intend the film as an anti-communist film but a plea against totalitarianism and particularly Stalinism.[citation needed]


The film is about Artur Ludvik, alias Gerard, vice-minister of Foreign Affairs of Czechoslovakia. He realizes he is being watched and followed. One day, he is arrested and put into jail by an organisation that declares itself "above the ruling party" and put in solitary confinement for months without being told the reason why. Through brainwashing techniques, including sleep deprivation and being forced to walk back and forth all the time, he is slowly pressured into confessing imaginary crimes, including treason, and to repeat this confession in a public court. Years later, he meets his now demoted tormentor, who tries to downplay his role at that time.

Yves Montand lost more than 15 kilograms to play his role. Montand had been shaken by the 1956 events in Hungary and later said of the film: "There was in what I inflicted upon myself [for this role] something of an act of expiation."[1]



The film was nominated for the Golden Globes and BAFTA Awards as Best Foreign Language Film.


  1. ^ Paris Match, p.63, 21 November 1991 No.2217

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