In the spirit of Louis Malle's "Au Revoir les Enfants" and Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List," the Emmy® Award-winning film "The Children of Chabannes" (93 minutes), has been praised as ...
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In the spirit of Louis Malle's "Au Revoir les Enfants" and Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List," the Emmy® Award-winning film "The Children of Chabannes" (93 minutes), has been praised as "splendid, informative and emotionally involving" (Los Angeles Times) and called "a seamless memoir of courage and a tribute to the human spirit." (New York Daily News). A magical World War II tale of resilience and love, "The Children of Chabannes" reveals the previously untold story of how the people in a tiny village in unoccupied France chose action over indifference to save the lives of 400 Jewish refugee children. Returning to the forgotten corner of France with her father and uncle (two of the saved children), filmmaker Lisa Gossels and co-director Dean Wetherell movingly recreated the joys and fears of daily life in Chabannes during the war. Through warm and wonderful accounts from the educators, townspeople and from the children themselves, we see how this oasis of hope is shattered in ... Written by
Some of the Holocaust's most remarkable heroes never fired a shot...
Though SCHINDLER'S LIST was a grim but grand recounting of a remarkable act of heroism in the face of unspeakable evil, we need to be reminded of how there were many stories just like it unfolding simultaneously, and that the smaller, unheralded tales of people responding to the better side of their nature to help others in peril, can engage the mind and touch the heart as profoundly as a thousand Hollywood reenactments.
Gossels and Wetherell have done an astonishing job of preserving the story of the children and their protectors for generations to come, but more importantly, to remind us that even the smallest act of kindness performed, has repercussions into the future that we can't even begin to realize. And what the people of Chabannes did for those children, who became the resilient and remarkable adults we see today in this film, was by no means insignificant, or any less heroic than the exploits of Oskar Schindler for not having been duly recognized, until now.
FOOTNOTE: You can try as you might to remain unaffected by this story, until Chabannes refugee Wolfgang "Wolfie" Blumenreich recounts his desperate ruse to stay alive at Auschwitz, and you realize with a dawning sense of awe and disbelief, that his story provided Spielberg with one of the most haunting images from SCHINDLER'S LIST: of a terrified, rail-thin young boy hiding in the unimaginable muck of a stool pit, to avoid being selected as fodder for the gas chambers.
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