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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
During the dance scene with Sarah and her future husband, the music playing is a trumpet muted. The band shown have their trumpets un-muted, which would sound like a normal trumpet. 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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When the humble home of a poor Jewish family is raided by a vile strand of the French authorities hoping to get in Hitler's good books, their well-meaning daughter Sarah (a heartwrenching Mélusine Mayance) instinctively hides and locks her little brother in the closet to keep him safe from the unspeakable horrors of the Vel d'Hiv detention centre for Jews. It is only after she and the rest of the family seems well beyond escape that she realises the long-term consequences of her decision and is determined to get back to free him, holding onto that precious key relentlessly as she, like thousands of others, tries her hardest to endure the atrocities of the Holocaust. We as the audience follow this earlier part her captivating story another of those outstanding tales that are of of a personal nature yet have a grand historical context mostly on our own, with regular cuts to American-born Parisian-resident journalist Julia Jarmond (the masterful Kristin Scott Thomas) who is writing about the events concerned and soon develops a keen interest in Sarah's life. Her segments are much less harrowing, being set in the present day and involving much more trivial complications than those relating to Sarah, and are actually a welcome relief when they come.
Julia's irritating struggle to dissuade her husband (Frédéric Pierrot) from having her get an abortion after she has endured two miscarriages is as poignant a subplot as any in a drama, allowing us to become familiar with her character before we discover the final fate of the girl along with her. Her inquiries lead her to many different people who are linked to these affairs, from her own father-in-law (Michel Duchaussoy) to Sarah's only son (Aidan Quinn), a simple western entrepreneur clueless about his own mother's past. The fact that a handful of these scenes are in English brings another refreshing touch of variety to the film, helping to make it the must-see beautiful cinematic triumph that it is.
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