The Round Up
A faithful retelling of the 1942 "Vel' D'hiv Roundup" and the events surrounding it from Journalist / Writer / Director Rose Bosch.
Following on from films which tell the same story like Sarah's Key (2010) and Un Secret (2007), The Round Up focuses on the notorious Vel' D'hiv roundup of Jewish people living in Paris in 1942.
Unlike the other two films this one was written using real people's identities by Journalist / Writer / Director Rose Bosch. Ms Bosch's aim was to keep the film as lifelike and historical as possible to preserve the truth of the Holocaust and France's part in it. Because up until the release of this film most French people had no idea of their part in the Holocaust as the episode was not taught in French schools. Ms Bosch says; "I wanted to find survivors because I thought it would be tough to make a film in which all the children die. On top of this, I wanted it to be mainly from the point of view of the children because I remember from when I was a reporter that children were always the victims - either losing their parents or witnessing horrors."
The film stars two celebrated French film stars, Melanie Laurent (Requiem for a Killer) and Jean Reno (Hotel Rwanda) as medical staff who attend the Jewish people held captive in the Velodrome just outside Paris. Living conditions inside the Velodrome become intolerable as there is little or no food and water and the inhabitants have to live surrounded by stench and disease. The sole Jewish Doctor (Reno), catering for 12,000 people with only three nurses, is soon overwhelmed and fatigued but his requests to allow volunteer doctors in to assist him are denied.
The interesting part about the film, aside from a great script, good cinematography and a great cast, is that it's focus on the children works very well. It's no bedtime story by any means but it works, perhaps even better than the brutalities of Schindler's List, because there is more depth of emotion. There is a good balance between the grand scale horrors of the NAZI's deeds and the individual stories of the victims and survivors.
One fact that comes to light from this film is that there were orders for 22,000 people to be collected in the roundup but only 12,000 entered the velodrome. The only conclusion is that the French people assisted 10,000 Jewish people to escape by hiding them in their homes.
Ms Bosch talks about her reason behind giving up five years of her life to make the film: "Our generation is the last one which will be able to hear the memories of these survivors. It is important to get these stories now while we still have the chance. I fear a world where those people won't be here to tell us what happened. The Holocaust was something so gigantically horrific that when all the witnesses have gone, people may choose not to believe that it happened at all."