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Sarah's Key

Uncover the mystery.

Kristin Scott Thomas has said in interviews that there’s less ageism in French cinema, leading to more demanding roles for an actress in her fifties. In Sarah’s Key, a (mostly) French-language drama, she gives yet another emotionally honest, prime-of-her-career performance. The film is adapted from a best-selling novel, knitting together two stories connected by a shameful episode in France’s past: the round-up in the summer of 1942 of 13,000 Jews in Paris not by Nazis, but by French police. Final destination: Auschwitz. In 1942, the police arrive at the home of a Jewish girl, Sarah (Mélusine Mayance). She immediately sees through the weasel words of the officer and hides her brother in a cupboard, promising to return. The family is taken, with thousands of others, to a city cycle stadium, the Vélodrome d’Hiver, then shunted to a transit camp. Sixty years later, Scott Thomas is an American journalist living in France, researching a story on the round-up, who discovers that her husband’s grandparents possibly moved into Sarah’s flat weeks later in August 1942. Scott Thomas is tremendous; the emotional detail of her performance is never less than gripping. Shock, sympathy and the horrific realisation that she would have behaved no differently all pass across her face as she listens to the what-else-could-I-have-done complicity of her grandmother-in-law (‘Oh, it was the war. Everything was so confused’) or an elderly woman wearing a prominent crucifix whose flat overlooked the Vélodrome: ‘They fed us such lies about the Jews… Who would I tell? The police?’ – Cath Clarke, Time Out London
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Directed by: 
Gilles Paquet-Brenner
Running Time: 
French with English Subtitles
Kristin Scott Thomas, Mélusine Mayance, Niels Arestrup, Frédéric Pierrot, Michel Duchaussoy
Screenplay by: 
Gilles Paquet-Brenner, Serge Joncour

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