Rebuffed when he attempts to join the French Resistance, adolescent farm kid Lucien (Blaise) elects to join ranks with the Gestapo, who supply him with alcohol and anything else he desires while he dutifully carries out orders for the Vichy regime. Circumstances change, however, when Lucien falls for France (Clement), a Jewish girl from a family of tailors, forcing him to face the consequences of his wartime allegiances.
A controversial and deeply ambivalent film about Vichy collaborators and the Resistance, Malle's troubling "Lucien" is based partly on the director's own youthful experiences during the German Occupation. Lucien's journey from peasant to enemy patron to persona non grata, played with an awkward, rugged innocence by Blaise, is a coming-of-age story that mirrors the choices of many during World War II. (For daring to illuminate this fact, Malle was chased to America.) "Lucien" remains an understated yet potent war drama, heightened by Django Reinhardt's peppy period jazz and Malle's symbolic imagery.