In World War II, the Jewish French musician and cabaret singer Fania Fenelon Goldstein is sent by the Nazis from Paris to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. The guards take her clothing and luggage and they cut her hair very short. One day, when she is very weak, she hears someone asking whether any prisoner could sing Giacomo Puccini's Madama Butterfly and she joins the group of musicians that have been spared from the gas chambers to entertain the Nazis performing music for them. She convinces the conductor Alma Rose to invite her friend Marianne, telling that she would be a talented singer. Along the years of abusive treatment, they survive but losing their dignity.
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Did You Know?
The real Fania Fenelon wanted Liza Minnelli
to play her. Fenelon is quoted as saying "I wanted Liza Minnelli. She's small, she's full of life, she sings and dances." Julie Andrews
was also briefly considered for the role of Fenelon. See more
Dr. Josef Mengele is seen seen wearing the famous 1930s-era black SS uniform with the Red swastika arm band. This is very common mistake in many WW2 films. The Black SS uniforms were discontinued at the start of the war in 1939 and replaced by the Green Grey uniforms seen on the other officers throughout the film. See more
We must constantly raise the level of our playing, or I really don't know how long they will tolerate us.
Music by Dino Olivieri
Italian lyrics by Nino Rastelli
French lyrics by Louis Poterat
Performed by Vanessa Redgrave See more