Friday, August 17, 2012

Thoughts on "Sarah's Key"

"Sometimes our own stories are the one’s we can never tell.  But if a story is never told it becomes something else, forgotten."

Based on the book by Tatiana de Rosnay (which I have not read yet, but have the audiobook waiting to be listened to!), this film brings to life the story of many characters, most importantly that of Sarah, a young French Jewish girl who along with her family is taken out of their home, arrested by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup and placed in horrible conditions before moving on to the camps.  

But one member of the family was left behind, Sarah’s little brother, Michel, who she left hidden in the closet hoping he would be safe.

Decades later, Julia, an American journalist living in Paris begins to uncover details relating to Sarah and her troubles during the war.  However soon both story lines are converging in ways Julia would have never expected…. And despite obstacles Julia continues her mission to collect the pieces of memory that make up Sarah’s story.

The film made me think of questions like these: How is the world filled with so much levity, lightness and joy but also destruction, burdens and hatred?  How can beauty be found in the darkest of places and a seed of hatred in a place of peace?

Films like this keep us reflecting on our past, but fully engaged in the present, with thoughts of how the future can be a better place despite this horrid mark in our history as humans.  In a world where so much time is given to trivial matters, or things which are essentially selfish and many of us at some point or other lack a sense of perspective. But films like this help pop the bubble of complacency, help break the grudging normalcy of every day life.  Make us think, make us wonder, make us connect with humanity, make us remember and in remembering we are then able to pass along the story. 

And so the film ends with these words, as I will do here with this post:

"And so I write this for you my Sarah, with the hope that one day, when you’re old enough, this story that lives with me will live with you as well.  When a story is told, it is not forgotten, it becomes something else.  The memory of who we were, the hope of what we can become."

Also, David H. Schleicher has written a wonderful piece over at his blog on the film, after reading his post I really want to re-watch the film with all of his ideas in mind!:


  1. You are such a lovely writer.
    *le sigh*
    Your last two paragraphs are downright eloquent.