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Review: Sarah's Key

A compelling interplay of tensions
By BETSY SHERMAN  |  August 2, 2011
3.5 3.5 Stars



Sarah's Key
is a superior "woman in the present becomes obsessed with woman in the past" narrative. It recreates the 1942 roundup by French authorities of French Jews, who were packed into a Paris vélodrome before being shipped to the camps. We watch through the eyes of young Sarah (the terrific Mélusine Mayance), who had locked her brother into a cupboard to keep him safe. Almost oblivious to her brutal journey, she clings to the key and the hope that he's alive. The woman who uncovers her story is Julia (Kristin Scott Thomas, also great), an American journalist. An apartment that's been in her French husband's family since the '40s has a gruesome provenance. Gilles Paquet-Brenner sets up a compelling interplay of tensions as both characters press on in their quests. The story becomes about accommodation, in the sense both of lodging and of accepting a notion — for example that your neighbors are being forcibly removed by your local gendarmes.

  Topics: Reviews , gendarmes, Paris, Kristin Scott Thomas,  More more >
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