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Foreign Film - France - La Rafle - The Round Up

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La Rafle - The Round Up
Jean Reno, Melanie Laurent, Huge Leverdez
Written, directed by Rose Bosch
French - English versions
France 2010
Seville Pictures 2011
125 minutes

La Rafle -  The Round Up is a historic reconstruction of the events before and after the round up of 13, 152 French Jews in 1942 known as “la rafle du Vel d’Hiv” because all the Jews were sent to the velodrome d’hiver for a few days. The movie focuses on two young boys, a doctor, and a nurse. It manages to show little violence while still presenting the drama of the situation.

Jo Weisman is a spirited 10 year old who lives in the ghetto with his parents, and two sisters. He is best pals with Simon Ziegler. He and his family are rounded up and sent first to the Vel d’ Hiv and then to a camp in Pithiviers. There Jo, one of his neighbors named Nono Zygler meet a doctor (Jean Reno) and a protestant nurse named Annette Monod (Melanie Laurent).

The movie follows the four from the Vel d’Hiv to Pithiviers and focuses in part on Monod’s attempts to tell the authorities what is going on (which they knew full well) and take care of everybody and in part on Jo and his family.

Eventually everybody is deported to Auschwitz leaving Annette Monod behind.

The movie closes with Monod working at a post war refugee center where people come to see if any of their relatives survived.

La Rafle is one of few French films not afraid of depicting the guilty and passive parties in France for what they were. It tells a very good story and does not become maudlin.

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