“Farewell” — French Cinema`s Tribute To Ronald Reagan

From my review in Taki`s Magazine of Farewell:

We won the Cold War two decades ago. Do we yet know why?

As T.S. Eliot noted in Gerontion, “History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors…” In 1945, Winston Churchill banned all mention of the immense Ultra project that had broken the Nazi Enigma code. Ultra’s 1974 declassification rewrote the history of WWII. Hence, there’s time for new insights into the conflict with Communism to emerge.

The Cold War offers a trove of gripping and unfamiliar stories. Slowly, European filmmakers have begun turning their attention to the biggest story that happened on their continent from 1946-1991. For example, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s film about Stasi surveillance in East Germany, The Lives of Others, was, to my mind, the best movie of 2006.

Farewell, an engrossing French spy movie in which Ronald Reagan is one of the heroes, is perhaps the finest film of this year. Veteran character actor Fred Ward (astronaut Gus Grissom in The Right Stuff) plays Reagan in a supporting role, while Willem Dafoe (the Green Goblin in the first Spider-Man film) portrays his CIA director William Casey.

Farewell makes the audacious claim that our Cold War victory was substantially hastened by a lone KGB colonel codenamed “Farewell.” In 1981, Vladimir Vetrov, a fed-up Russian engineer, began copying KGB technology documents and delivering them to the French equivalent of the FBI. Socialist François Mitterrand, who had been elected president that year with the help of the Moscow-controlled French Communist Party, demonstrated his anti-Communist bona fides by personally passing along the “Farewell Dossier” to Reagan on July 19, 1981.

Read the whole thing there and comment upon it here.