Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Movie of the Week – La Rafle

This week’s movie: La Rafle (2010)

In July 1942, French officials attempted to round up thousands Jews in Paris (and its surrounding region) to appease their Nazi occupiers and reduce France’s Jewish population, they captured around 13,000 (about 4,000 of which were children). The event is known as the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup. The French government did not apologize until 1995.

The film is written and directed by Rose Bosch who worked with composer Christian Henson and cinematographer David Ungaro.

The cast is very good. The film stars Melanie Laurent, and features an ensemble including: Jean Reno, Gad Elmaleh, Sylvie Testud, Anne Brochet, Denis Menochet, and Adele Exarchopoulos.

La Rafle is a powerful film telling one of the many truly sad Holocaust stories of WWII. When the war ended, President Charles De Gaulle promoted the idea of a France that did all it could to fight and sabotage the Nazis while they occupied the country – a France separate from the few who collaborated as part of the Vichy government, because he thought that the country needed to heal and put the truth (things like the extent of the Vichy government and the 1942 roundup) away for the moment. Instead, he hailed the French people as all being involved in the underground resistance movement, supporting the allied effort. Thus, France has grown up with this culture. Films like La Rafle remind us what horrors good people are capable of and that though it was Adolph Hitler and his Nazi party that wanted to eradicate the world of those it deemed undesirable good people too were compliant and apathetic. It reminds us that we must not simply allow evil to propagate because the alternative is difficult. The story also tells too of thousands of brave Parisians who hid around 5,000 Jews, also reminding us what good people are capable of when they dare to have courage. Other films well worth checking out in regards to France’s WWII occupation by the Nazis include Marcel Ophuls’s brilliant documentary The Sorrow and the Pity exposing many forgotten truths and the elaborate documentary series The World at War, specifically the chapters entitled: France Falls: May-June 1940 and Genocide:1941-1945.

Trailer: Here
Available on: DVD and Video On-Demand

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