“Let sleeping dog lie” and no one will remember or know. In fact, one of the young staff, Mike Bambers (James Gerard), at a boutique French magazine tells Julia Jarmond (Kristin Scott Thomas) just that. Seemingly ignorant, I do not know about the July 16 – 17, 1942, Vel’d’Hiv (Vélodrome d’hiver) that happened right in 15th arrondisment of Paris. This year marks its 70th Anniversary, and then French President Jacques Chirac publicly apologized in 1995 for the role the French Police and civil servants served in the raid – “Rafle” – La Rafle (2010) is another film that is based on the same tragedy.
I irk at watching films that deal with wars, cause they are all atrocity of humanity. Wars are destruction, period.
I heard good things about this film, and one of the best actors, Kristin Scott Thomas, playing the lead role, it was hard to not to pick it. The portion depicting the round up of Sarah’s family – Dad, Mom, and Sarah – is hard to watch, especially when they get to the stadium. At that moment, all Sarah’s concern is to get back to the flat and save her little brother, who was locked up to avoid the arrest…Sarah has the key.
The linkage is that Julia’s in-law lived in that flat for over 60 years without knowing, as least for Mamé (Gisèle Casadesus) – her husband’s mom. Julia is a journalist, and she is passionate to uncover what really happened with an exclusive 10 pages exposé for the magazine. That’s how it all starts. Along the way, I constantly wonder why she takes on such personal interest, almost a vendetta, to find out if anyone from the flat is still alive… Not to give away the story, but nonetheless, it is about the importance of knowing the truth. In one of the scenes, she says the truth has a price, and it’s high.
The third act is a bit melodramatic with Julia meeting Sarah’s son, William Rainsferd (Aidan Quinn)…unnecessary but quite moving!
Open your eyes, or play Ostrich in the sand, we always have a choice.