Friday, November 25th, 2011


In just two days in July 1942 the French Authorities
arrested some 38000 Jews in Paris and dumped some 13000 on them, including
women and children, in Velodrome d’Hiver a Cycling Stadium close to the Eiffel
Tower.  The inhumane conditions there were unimaginable
but within days they were all shipped off on trucks and trains to Concentration
Camps and their certain death. A mere 400 people survived this infamous
incident known as ‘The Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup’ in which the French Police claimed
they were only following Orders from the German Occupying Forces!
This movie is the story about one of the families that was included in the round-up, but when the Police called at their Apartment,
quick witted 10-year-old Sarah locked her younger brother into a secret closet
and he escaped detection.  When her family
is later split up at the Camp, Sarah still clutching the closet key, determinedly
enlists another 10-year-old girl and together they escape so that they can go back
to Paris to rescue the brother.  The
journey is not easy, and after her traveling companion dies of diphtheria, a
farmer and his wife befriends Sarah  and  they manage to get her back to her home and the closet.
Sixty years later, and Julia a journalist is researching
an article about the Roundup at the same time she and her husband are preparing
to move into an apartment in the Marais, which his family have rented for decades.  It turns out to be the very same apartment
that Sarah and her family had lived into to that fatal day when the Police took
them away.  Julie gets hooked on the
story, and as her own comfortable life starts to crumble away, she becomes obsessed
with finding out whatever happened to Sarah as there is no record of her ever
been re-captured back then.
The Holocaust part of story is highly emotional and
extremely gripping and we are soon invested with the hope that there is a least
one small happy ending out of the devastating genocide.  It is so powerful that it makes Julie’s
struggle with her own present day life seem rather inane and even a tad
What redeems the movie is the excellent performance of
Kirstin Scott Thomas as Julia who despite the weakness of the contemporary
storyline is convincingly sincere about her desire and determination to uncover the whole
truth.  She makes the movie worth watching
until the end.
Be warned that the disturbing facts and reality of
Sarah’s story are tough to witness, but as Julie the journalist insists to her younger
ignorant colleagues at her Magazine, it is part of our history that we should
never forget. 


Posted by queerguru  at  15:55




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