Newest Review: ... brother behind. The story then jumps to the present, 2009, Julia Jarmond an American journalist living in Paris,goes to look at an ap... more
The untold story of WW2
Sarah's Key (DVD)
Member Name: sbw80
Sarah's Key (DVD)
Advantages: Heart breaking but you need to watch this film
Disadvantages: Yes, it's another WW2 film but don't let that put you off
This film was watched online, via LoveFilm, and therefore is a review of the film only. I plan on both the DVD and the book that this film is based on and so will add to this review later.
Having not much to do over the past few months, I've watched quite a few documentaries about behaviour towards the Jewish people during World War Two. Yesterday i watched a film that showed another side, that of the willing participation of the French bureaucracy, including the Paris police and French army, in handing over Jewish people to the Germans. Like The Boy in th Striped Pyjamas, this is one of those films where you won't quite be the same after watching it, a combination of both dread and hope in the face of humanity.
It's 1942. Sarah, a ten year old Jewish girl living in Paris, is playing with her little brother it their apartment when police officers bang on the door. Sarah, scared of the commotion, lies to the French police, stating that her brother is not in the flat. She quickly summons him into a secret closet and locks him in, taking the key with her. Unknown to her, she and her family are being arrested in what has become known as Vel' d'Hiv Roundup, leaving her little brother behind. The story then jumps to the present, 2009, Julia Jarmond an American journalist living in Paris,goes to look at an apartment inherited by her French husband, the same apartment that Sarah and her family lived in before being arrested. Julia, who is already writing a story about the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup, begins to unravel the history of the apartment and through alternating between the past and the present we begin to learn what happened to its inhabitants. As the two stories intertwine, we learn about the evil that one group of people can inflict on each other but also of bravery in the face of adversity and the kindness of strangers. The film is mostly in French but does have subtitles. The film is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Tatiana de Rosnay, presenting two fictional families against a very real backdrop of historic events.
The majority of the cast are French and it's a bit harder to judge acting ability whilst also reading subtitles, however the actors in this film make the material dealt with seem truthful and honest. The performances were captivating, especially Mélusine Mayance as the young Sarah who is heart breaking and believable. Kristin Scott Thomas is a bit annoying as Julia but the character is supposed to be slightly obsessed and irritating which does come across, she holds the film together, it's easy to see why she was nominated for an Oscar in a previous role (For The English Patient, which I still haven't seen).
Kristin Scott Thomas (Four Weddings and a Funeral, The English Patient) - Julia Jarmond
Natasha Mashkevich - Mrs Starzynski
Arben Bajraktaraj - Mr Starzynski
Mélusine Mayance - young Sarah Starzynski
Niels Arestrup - Jules Dufaure
Dominique Frot - Geneviève Dufaure
Frédéric Pierrot - Bertrand Tezac
Michel Duchaussoy - Édouard Tezac
Gisèle Casadesus - the grandmother
Aidan Quinn (Desperately Seeking Susan, Legends of the Fall) - William Rainsferd
I'm not the type of person who can just watch a film and that's that, I always have to find out how much of what I'm being told is real (That's why I love google). On 16 and 17 July 1942 code name Operation Spring Breeze, was placed into effect. 13,152 foreign Jewish people were arrested, 5,802 (44%) were women and 4,051 (31%) were children. They were first taken to the Vélodrome d'Hiver, and enclosed cycle track (It partly burnt down and was destroyed in 1959) where they were kept for five days with no toilets and one water tap. From the velodrome the victims were temporarily held at a internment camp at Drancy and then those who surived the crammed wagons without food or water ended up in Auschwitz. The roundup accounted for more than 25% of the 42,000 Jews sent from France to Auschwitz in 1942, what is most significant is the role that the French Republic played.
On 16 July 1995, the President, Jacques Chirac, issued the following statement:
"These black hours will stain our history for ever and are an injury to our past and our traditions. Yes, the criminal madness of the occupant was assisted('secondée') by the French, by the French state. Fifty-three years ago, on 16 July 1942, 450 policemen and gendarmes, French, under the authority of their leaders, obeyed the demands of the Nazis. That day, in the capital and the Paris region, nearly 10,000 Jewish men, women and children were arrested at home, in the early hours of the morning, and assembled at police stations... France, home of the Enlightenment and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, land of welcome and asylum, France committed that day the irreparable. Breaking its word, it delivered those it protected to their executioners."
This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo.
Summary: Brillinat thought provoking film