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SARAH’S KEY

Director: GILLES PAQUET-BRENNER

111 minutes| France| 2010| Subtitled| Colour| D-Cinema


EXCLUSIVELY AT IFI

The painful events of the past have unexpected resonance for the present in this marvellous adaptation of Tatiana de Rosnay’s novel, a telling reminder of the Parisian police’s ruthless July 1942 roundup of Jewish families at the behest of the Gestapo. Here Kristin Scott Thomas is an American journalist researching the history of her in-laws’ Paris apartment before she and her French architect husband move in. Between times, we also relive the harrowing experiences of a Jewish family caught in the roundup decades earlier, when their daughter Sarah (Melusine Mayance) makes an ill-fated decision to hide her little brother from the gendarmes. Engrossing detective work eventually connects both sides of the story, yet Gilles Paquet-Brenner’s film has ambitions beyond tearful compassion; instead, as Scott Thomas’ discoveries begin to impact on her marital travails, it looks for and finds potent reasons for uncovering the dark truths many would prefer to remain hidden. A highly emotive, yet finely considered piece of work. (Notes by Trevor Johnston).

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