One of the darkest moments in French history occurred in 1942 Paris when French officials rounded up over 10,000 Jews and placed them in local camps. Eventually over 8,000 were sent off to German concentration camps. As 10-year old Sarah and her family are being arrested, she hides her younger brother in a closet. After realizing she will not be allowed to go home, Sarah does whatever she can to get back to her brother. In 2009, a journalist named Julia is on assignment to write a story on the deported Jews in 1942. When she moves into her father-in-law's childhood apartment, she realizes it once belonged to the Strazynski family, and their daughter Sarah. Written by
Was the most successful French movie in the Netherlands, due to the popularity of the book on which the film is based, until The Intouchables (2011) took the record. See more »
Towards the end of the film, Kristin Scott-Thomas is talking to a woman of Italian origins. That lady is talking about 'Florence'. Italians always refer Florence as 'Firenze' , even in other languages. See more »
And so I write this for you, My Sarah. With the hope that one day, when you're old enough, this story that lives with me, will live with you as well. When a story is told, it is not forgotten. It becomes something else, a memory of who we were; the hope of what we can become.
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Gilles Paquet-Brenner's "Elle s'appelait Sarah" ("Sarah's Key" in English) focuses on an American journalist (Kristin Scott Thomas) trying to find a French-Jewish girl who got rounded up by the Vichy government but escaped the camps. So, the journalist travels from place to place to try and learn what became of Sarah, and the full story of Sarah's locking her brother in a closet so that he wouldn't get arrested. The main point that the movie makes is not only the links that we have to past incidents, like the apartment that the journalist buys, but that atrocities require complicity. In this case, France's Vichy government was perfectly happy to assist the Nazis in the genocide against anyone whom the Nazis considered inferior.
Does the movie have any downsides? Well, maybe jumping back and forth between the present and the past is a little confusing, but it doesn't really drag the movie down. To be certain, I had never heard of the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup before seeing "Sarah's Key". The main that is that this is part of history, it and needs to get told so that it never happens again. Really good movie.
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