UNCOVER THE MYSTERY.
When the American journalist Julia Jarmond (Kristin Scott Thomas) learns that the Paris apartment that her French husband has inherited once was occupied by a Jewish family that fell victim to the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup in 1942, she begins to investigate. The past has a strong influence on the present in this drama that initially moves between two eras, the present, and the tragic events of 1942. Gets off to a very engaging start, but turns mournful and not equally satisfying after the horrifying denouement of the first hour. Still, a gripping story about family and roots as well as an interesting account of a dark chapter in France’s history.
2010-France. 111 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Stéphane Marsil, Clément Sentilhes. Directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner. Screenplay: Serge Joncour, Gilles Paquet-Brenner. Novel: Tatiana de Rosnay. Cast: Kristin Scott Thomas (Julia Jarmond), Aidan Quinn (William Rainsferd), Niels Arestrup (Jules Dufaure), Mélusine Mayance, Dominique Frot, Frédéric Pierrot.
Trivia: Original title: Elle s’appelait Sarah.
Last word: “There haven’t been films about the Vel d’Hiv before. After the war, the big urgency was to realign French society so we could live together again. Looking back came later in the 1960/70s, but first the collaboration had to be dealt with. It’s the big French shame – for 30 or 40 years after the war, the question that can’t be asked is ‘What did you do?’ It certainly would have been very different 20 or 30 years ago, because some of the people involved would have still been in senior roles.” (Paquet-Brenner, Huffington Post)