Last night, we went to the movies to see La Rafle
(The Round-up). As you may know, it tells the story of the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup, a Nazi raid and mass arrest in Paris by the French police on the night of July 16, 1942. I don't want to leak any spoilers to those planning to see the movie, so instead, I linked to a plot synopsis and a trailer above.
I found the movie to be somewhat clichéd and, specially in the beginning, quilty of just "listing" different events. There were also several interesting characters that were introduced, then forgotten, and too many loose ends. However, that being said, I do think the good points of the movie outweigh the negative. The filming was beautiful, the actors were good - including the little twin boys playing Nono - and, more than anything, the theme is an extremely important, yet often forgotten part of European history. As far as I know, this is the first movie made of the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup, which is one of the darkest moments in modern French history.
I still shudder with the thought that the events of World War II are really not that far in history; in fact, the war ended only a short time before my dad was born. The movie is also a good reminder that few countries in Europe can actually claim to have acted "heroically" in those tragic years, although we often like to blame it all on Germany alone. I am not only talking about France or other bigger, better known countries; but also the small Baltic states, and even such traditionally "neutral" countries as Sweden, Finland, Norway or Switzerland, each in their own way. Perhaps one positive exception is that Denmark, although quickly occupied by the Germans, had a strong resistance movement, and managed to save most of their Jews - thanks to an information leak from a German diplomat and a swift action by the civilians. Sadly, many people are willing to go beyond civility when they feel threatened or when they see an opportunity to benefit from a situation. You don't need to go all the way back to WW II, as similar examples of ordinary people turning against each other can be found in much more recent world events as well. Thankfully, however, there are also those who maintain their empathy and dare to defy the circumstances.
What puzzles me is the age limit set on this movie in Scandinavia: in Sweden and Denmark, the movie is not allowed for children under the age of 15. In Finland, they lowered the age limit from 15 to 13 after an appeal from history teachers (??); and only in Norway, it is set to a more reasonable 11 years. At the age of 15, when you study WW II in history, what can possibly be so disturbing about a movie like this that you shouldn't be allowed to watch it? There are many movies on this topic - not to mention other scary movies - that show much more direct violence; and I really think that at 15, you should be mature enough to handle nightmares that this might possibly give you. What are your thoughts about this?
All in all, I do recommend the movie highly. Although I have studied world history and the events were therefore known to me beforehand, the movie was still thought-provoking. If the events are unknown to you (as they are even to many Europeans), or if you're not into reading history books, I recommend the movie even more. It was not a happy, entertaining movie, but a good movie nonetheless.
I will get back to MoFo later on, but for now, I just wanted to share this movie tip with you.
Do you like going to the movies? What is your favorite movie? :)