French Selection 2020

My Dear Spies

Mes chers Espions

Vladimir léon

2020France134 min


Were my grandparents Soviet spies in the 30s in Paris ? I bring to my brother Pierre a suitcase full of memories. Our investigation starts between France and Russia, yesterday and today.


An old suitcase of documents, a journey on a night train heading for Russia, searches for documents under a watchful eye, words full of heavy undertones: Vladimir Leon’s new film is clearly eying the espionage movie to elucidate whether or not his grandparents’ expulsion in 1948 by the French secret services or his grandmother’s appointments with the mysterious Dorian were all signs that these former tsarists curiously worked for the Soviet intelligence service. An espionage comedy, in fact: it is by metro from Chatelet station and with no specific precautions that Vladimir brings his brother Pierre the suitcase containing his mother’s archives, no real threat hangs over the impeccably dressed duo in Russia, their findings anyway remain ambiguous, and the investigation is more often than not interrupted to raise a toast to everything and nothing. The two brothers’ delight in bringing the steps of their investigation to everyone’s attention – be it friends, chance encounters, spectators – is manifest and communicative. But the comic side does not undermine the seriousness of an inquiry that is perfectly aware that history and the family story share the same obscure course: “in every place, lies can be told”, says Pierre. In every place, except that of the bond: as in a shell game or in the rules of a Mac-Guffin, the documents may count for less that the suitcase itself.

Antoine Thirion

PRINT SOURCE: SaNoSi Productions,, +33 (0)6 29 69 09 30

  • Vladimir Léon

    Vladimir Léon directed several documentary films (Nissim aka Max, 2003 ; The Comintern Brahmin, 2007 ; Farewell Radiator Street, 2008 ; The Polyhedron and the Elephant, 2015) as well as fiction films (Far from the Front, 1998 ; The Angels of Portbou, 2011). He is also an actor with Pierre Léon, Louis Skorecki, Serge Bozon, Jean Paul Civeyrac, Eric Rohmer, Christine Laurent, Pascal Bonitzer, Axelle Ropert…

  • PRODUCTION : Jean-Marie Gigon (SaNoSi Productions)
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