There's a certain documentary feel about this film which given the subject matter is not necessarily a bad thing. One would have thought that by now there was little new to add to the thousands of miles of footage devoted to the second World War but this take is new to me at least. Apparently - though I have, of course, no reason to doubt it - towards the end of the war the French government established several large houses to house initially those Jewish children who had hidden and/or had been hidden successfully during the Occupation who were later supplemented by those who survived the camps once the camps began to be liberated: They were in effect Halfway Houses because the ultimate aim was to secure adoption for what were in effect orphans. Agnes Jaoui has never, to my knowledge, played period until now and she is more than adequate which is to be expected from an actress of her calibre. One of the most interesting aspects is the fact that there isn't what we might call a meaty supporting role; Lola Naymark, who co-starred wonderfully with Ariane Ascaride in Brodeuses has to make do with about half a dozen lines and hands up all those who caught a glimpse of Claire Bouanich, Michel Serrault's co-star in Le Papillon. Gaspar Ulliel has been here before, notably in Les Egares but mercifully he too is confined to minimum screen time. It's had a mixed press in France but I hope it finds an audience given the fact that those who would get most out of it are least likely to see it. Those who came through Math:101 without flunking will be able to figure out that anyone who was say, ten in 1945 will now be seventy or dead, hardly a target audience but as I said there are plenty of younger viewers out there who should enjoy a film like this. Let's hope they give it a chance.
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