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Sarah's Key [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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An intrepid journalist brings the past to life in this gripping drama. An American based in Paris, Julia Jarmond (Tell No One's Kristin Scott Thomas) has been working on a piece about a French atrocity while planning to move into an apartment that belongs to her husband Bertrand's family. During the course of her research, she finds that 10-year-old Sarah Starzynski (Mélusine Mayance, a sparky presence) lived in the same Marais flat until 1942 when French authorities wrenched Jewish citizens from their homes during the notorious Vél d'Hiver Roundup (Julia's daughter is only a year older). Unbeknownst to anyone but her parents, Sarah locked up her 4-year-old brother in a hidden closet in hopes of returning to set him free him later, but the trio ends up in a transit camp en route to Auschwitz. Sarah will eventually escape, but the years to come will not be easy. In adapting Tatiana de Rosnay's novel, director Gilles Paquet-Brenner, the son of a deportee, moves back and forth between Sarah and Julia, who finds out she's pregnant in the midst of trips to Florence and New York, but Bertrand doesn't share her joy. A French farmer (A Prophet's Niels Arestrup) and a food writer (Aidan Quinn) also figure into Sarah's story, which merges with Julia's as she finds a way to carry on her legacy. Much as in Julie and Julia, the past proves more compelling than the present, though Scott Thomas holds the narrative together with the force of her talent. --Kathleen C. Fennessy --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.
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A very poignant story which swaps from past to present all the time, its not a film you could catch in the middle and hope to understand it.
Kristen Scott acting is truly sensational and believable. But so are all the younger actors.
It kept me watching it to the end, it is a shame it mainly is all English Subtitles.
I felt, I was part of someone's life and lived it with them every step of the way.
However, woven into this story is that of the journalist who pieces together the story (there is a Ninth Gate element here). Julia is prey to swarms of pre-Recession First World problems: a husband with other aims, children she can abandon at the drop of a hat, a life in which work can be abandoned for other pursuits and continents crossed and re-crossed for a ten page story with a two month deadline. Never, since Tintin wrote for "Le Petit Vingtième" has journalism appeared so much a relaxed pursuit. The contrast between the two women, Sarah and Julia, is perhaps the point of the story, but I have my doubts. But whatever ones view, the film remains well worth watching for the reminder of what Petain permitted put very firmly in a human context.
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