17 July 2002 | dbdumonteil
The roundup of Jews in the velodrome d'hiver,Paris 1942.
Black Thursday:the French police are arresting all the Jews,putting them on buses and sending them to the velodrome d'hiver.From here,next stop will be the concentration camps.
A young student,Paul decides to save some Jews.Having endured some refusals,he finally meets a young girl,Jeanne,(Christine Pascal) who reluctantly agrees to follow him.The depiction of the Jew community verges on caricature,focusing on commonplace and physical appearance:one critic wrote that Christine Pascal's nose seemed to have been reshaped in order "to look more Jewish".
Everything happens in the space of one afternoon:the French people are sometimes hateful,most of the time indifferent.Only a pimp(!) -a Michel Auclair's cameo,professeur Floster in "funny face"!- intervenes on behalf of Paul and his protégée!Absolutely all the Jews are resigned to their fate,which may seem simplistic to some.
This was the first fiction film to tackle this taboo subject,one of the darkest page of French history.But as far as cinema is concerned,you will be better off with Joseph Losey's "Mr Klein" (1976).