This Costa-Gavras thriller stars Yves Montand as an East European government functionary, inexplicably imprisoned by his Communist superiors. He is not told why he has been arrested, nor has his wife (Simone Signoret) been informed of his fate. Undergoing psychological torture, Montand is grilled about his wartime activities. At the end of his rope, Montand agrees to sign several papers that are thrust before him. He eventually discovers that he's to be a defendant in a "show trial" conducted by his government. He never knows the whys and wherefores of the whole affair -- nor does the audience. The Confession was based on the true story of loyal Communist Arthur London's unjustified purge trial of 1951. Despite the film's confusion, Costa-Gavras' Kafkaesque view of the world, in which the individual is overwhelmed by events that he can't possibly begin to understand, struck a responsive chord in the chaotic early '70s.
by Hal Erickson synopsis