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Drancy Avenir (1997)

7.1
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Title: Drancy Avenir (1997)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Aude Amiot ...
L'étudiante / The student
Thierry Bosc ...
L'historien / The teacher
Anna-Lisa Nathan ...
La chanteuse / The singer
Hanns Zischler ...
La voix du vieil homme (voice)
Jean-Paul Roussillon ...
La voix de l'explorateur (voice)
Emma Soubrier ...
Adrien Faucheux ...
L'étudiant qui lit
Rainer Degenhardt ...
La voix de l'allemand (voice)
Celestina Casapietra ...
Le professeur de chant
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12 November 1997 (France)  »

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Historically good although one sided
5 November 2011 | by (Belgium) – See all my reviews

Drancy Avenir is a tale of the fate of European Jews during the second World War. The director found that all except one of Hitler's concentration camps had either been demolished or was a war museum with its character essentially changed. That remaining camp was the in the Drancy district outside Paris and was still in use as a low cost housing project. The cinematography was beautifully done with the harsh reality of the war time, set against the essentially unchanged housing project as it now stands. This was juxtaposition's with dream like voice over memories of earlier times whilst floating down a small river just after daybreak. The cruelty of the camps was told; starvation rations; roll calls at three in the morning outside in the freezing cold after which the inmates were hosed down in cold water before being sent back to sleep on bare concrete floors. Man's inhumanity to man was adequately expressed. There was a fairly long sequence explaining the criteria by which individuals were selected for the death camps and the necessary impartiality of the administrators. All of this was well done and as a document it deserves its place in history.

I however found the film dissatisfying on two levels. The first had nothing to do with the film makers and regarded the cruelty of the National Socialist regime that existed at the time. If they had decided on this course of action as a mater of policy then the result could have been achieved more effectively by giving the subjects a quick acting anesthetic under the pretext of diarrhea control or some such excuse followed by some other form of lethal injection, without all the lingering deprivation. The other more serious point regards this film makers playing the Jews as victims card. Sure they were but the why was never even mentioned let alone thought about. Early in the film a college lecturer bemoans to his class that it was always so and certain Jews were expelled from Asian lands in the 7th, 8th and 9th centuries without a response from his pupils. This was stated as a given without telling why the people of those lands were so dissatisfied with them that they only solution they could come up with was to put them outside their borders. Nor was it mentioned why Hitler was so, fairly or unfairly, frustrated that he wanted the problem they caused finally eradicated.

As a document which no one else has tackled, this film deserves its place in history. It was very well done from a one sided point of view.


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