Monday, May 14, 2012

Sarah's Key

Movies are capable of many great things. They are a portal into the human condition and can offer us insight and perspective about our fears, desires, and needs. They provide inspiration and enlightenment. And, of course, they entertain us. One recent film that does this and more is Sarah’s Key. The film takes place in contemporary times, with flashbacks to events that occurred during World War II. Much of it is based on real events.

We think we know the face of evil. But do we really? It would be comforting if we could identify and categorize evil. Sarah’s Key is a film about moral issues that, hopefully, we will never have to face. The film makes a point that anyone may be capable of participating in some of the worst atrocities imaginable?

We’d like to think that it was just the Nazi’s who were the monsters, but they had a lot of help. Some stood on the sidelines and did nothing while others actively participated and aided in helping to carry out their plans.

Sarah’s Key is about what the French call “the Vel`d´Hiv Roundup”, an event that took place July 16 and 17 in 1942 when 13,152 Jews were rounded up and sent to Auschwitz where were eventually exterminated. What makes the story unbelievable and frightening to today’s audiences is that the French actively participated and aided the Nazi’s.

The French participated at every level—from the bureaucracy and the secret service to the army and police. So do we really think we know the face of evil? Are we all capable of doing things beyond our imagination? These are the type of issues that Sarah’s Key explores.

The film is seen through the eyes of Julia Jarmond (Kristin Scott Thomas), an American journalist living in Paris, France in present day. Julia writes a piece for her magazine about the tragedy that took place at “the Vel`d´Hiv” (commonly known as The Roundup). Her investigation of past events uncovers a connection between her husband’s family who are French and their possible participation in the atrocities.

It seems that a young Jewish girl, Sarah, along with her family lived in the apartment that Julie and her husband are renovating and planning to move into. Julie tries to discover what happened to Sarah and her little brother. Julie’s journey will unlock buried secrets and forever change her life. Sarah’s Key spans several decades and takes multiple twists and turns which will keep you on the edge of your seats.

Although there are unpleasant events that take place in the film, Sarah’s Key ultimately sets a redemptive tone that’s sure to uplift our spirits. Not everybody in France participated in these horrible events. Many put their lives at risk to save complete strangers. Why? Because it was the right thing to do.

Sarah’s Key is one of those films worth investing your time in. It’s exceptional storytelling that will engage your mind and emotions. Brilliantly shot and with exceptional acting, Sarah’s Key never misses a beat. If there’s one thing we can take away from this film it will be to embolden us to never let anything like this to happen again. The sad truth is that, unfortunately, these types of things haven’t completely disappeared. Hopefully, we will have the courage to stand up against evil.

No comments:

Post a Comment