I’ve been watching a few more films over the weekend. First up:
Attack the Block (2011)
Recommended by Jonathan Cainer of all people. Jonathan you should be ashamed of yourself. I made it through the first half hour then gave up. It’s about a teen gang defending their south London housing estate against an alien invasion. Apparently it’s a comedy. If you’re under twenty, male and live in an inner city you might like it.
Fly Away (2011)
The single mother of an autistic teenager has to come to terms with her daughter’s changing needs. Ashley Rickards puts in a staggering performance as autistic teenager Mandy and the rest of the cast are equally excellent. It’s insightful, beautifully written and left me thinking that I have no idea how easy my life is. If you’re over forty, female and living just about anywhere you might like this.
Sarah’s Key (Elle s’appelait Sarah) 2010
Kristen Scott Thomas doesn’t do rubbish and Sarah’s Key is no exception. Initially set in Paris in 1943, Sarah is a ten year-old Jewish girl whose family is arrested by French police during the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup (a Nazi decreed raid aimed at reducing the Jewish population in occupied France). The story flips to the present day where Kristen Scott Thomas plays a journalist who is researching the story of the Roundup and finds she has a more personal connection to events of the time than she ever anticipated. There are echos of Schindler’s List in the sense that Sarah’s Key describes historical events through the story of one individual. As both a personal story and an account of events of the time, it’s well worth a watch.
I was particularly moved by Sarah’s Key because of a monument we came across in Aulus-les-Bains (where we were on holiday last week). This little mountain village currently has around 200 inhabitants. However, during the Second World War, 686 Jews were deported from Aulus to concentration camps in Germany; all their names are listed on the memorial. The monument sparked a conversation about the war in France, and the memories here are very different. It was strange to hear Mr DV talk about it in terms of the German occupation and the Vichy government.
The story told by the film is still very much alive today. Sarah is the same age as Mr DV’s mother. Madame DV isn’t Jewish; if she had been, it could have been her story.
Song of the day
Sticking with the Frenchy theme, I recently discovered Madeleine Peyroux. She’s Canadian and like Celine Dion(!) sings in both French and English. This one is in French and gorgeous – J’ai Deux Amours (the two loves in question are her country and Paris).