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Saturday, July 23, 2011
FILM REVIEW - 'Sarah’s Key,' :France’s Holocaust Shame!
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Marlow Stern, Jul 23, 2011 11:49 AM EDT / thedailybeast.com.
Julien Bonet / The Weinstein Company.
'Sarah’s Key,' based on the bestselling novel, dramatizes the Holocaust’s notorious Vel’ d’Hiv roundup, where French police sent 13,000 Jews to Auschwitz. Marlow Stern reports.
“I love Hitler,” slurred fashion designer John Galliano last October. “People like you would be dead today. Your mother, your forefathers would be fucking gassed and fucking dead.” The remarks were made at La Perle, a bar and bistro in Le Marais—a district in Paris that once played host to a thriving Jewish community—and prompted Israeli-born actress Natalie Portman to release a statementsaying, “I hope at the very least, these terrible comments remind us to reflect and act upon combating these still-existing prejudices that are the opposite of all that is beautiful.”
At 4:00 a.m. on July 16, 1942, French police scoured Le Marais and the surrounding neighborhoods as part of Opération Vent printanier (“Operation Spring Breeze), rounding up 13,152 Jews, including 5,802 women and 4,051 children. Some were then transferred to an internment camp in the northern suburb of Drancy, while most were held captive in the Vélodrome d’Hiver—an indoor velodrome (cycle track) within shouting distance of the Eiffel Tower. After five days with no lavatories, very little food, and only one water tap, all the prisoners were taken to transit camps in Drancy, Beaune-la-Rolande and Pithiviers, and then sent to Auschwitz for extermination.
The Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup is brought to tragic life in Sarah’s Key, a film adaptation of the bestselling novel by Tatiana de Rosnay, which has sold over five million copies in 38 countries worldwide. Directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner, it stars Kristin Scott Thomas as Julia Jarmond, an American journalist living in Paris who, frustrated by her younger colleague’s ignorance, lobbies her magazine to do a 10-page spread on the 60th anniversary of the roundup.
“For so long, nobody talked about this, and we French people weren’t taught about this in school,” said de Rosnay in an interview with The Daily Beast. “I chose to see this through the eyes of a modern woman today, and perhaps to convey more emotion in relation to the taboo that has lasted for so long with this terrible tragedy.”