French subscription cinema
11. La rafle
Reasons to study this film
Roselyne Bosch made this film based on the stories of two people who escaped the fate of most of their family and friends and survived the infamous Rafle du Vel' d'Hiver. The story is accurately told including the interweaving of reconstructions of scenes involving the key historical protagonists, Hitler, Laval and Pétain and René Bousquet with the Germans. The basic facts of the film portray the events faithfully and this should back up the study of three occupation related topics for the WJEC board.
The interest of the film
The film depicts the events immediately before the rafle with much of the dialogue being exposition, that is explicitly relating to the pertinent facts, in this case the persecution of the Jews by the Vichy government. This prevents the director from really developing characters as individuals, indeed she is accused of overplaying the sentimental portrayal of the children, particularly Momo, a sweet and innocent little boy. The horror of the situation in the cycle stadium is well portrayed and basically the film oscillates between acts of kindness and acts of evil which is something that can be commented on relatively easily in essays. Teachers need to make sure they help students work out who is who and manage the many names of characters.