If you’re not familiar with French film Sarah’s Key, here are three little words that will motivate you to find out more: Kristin Scott Thomas.
But the reasons to see this film go way beyond the lovely star. In a summer of huge blockbusters, Sarah’s Key may turn out to be the strongest Oscar contender of the lot. The movie, based on the best selling novel Elle s’appelait Sarah by Tatiana de Rosnay, addresses a little-explored, very disturbing subject: the Vel d’Hiv Roundup, a mass arrest of Paris Jews by French police in 1942. In this roundup and several others, over 13,000 people were taken to the Vélodrome d’Hiver stadium and a nearby internment camp and then sent to Auschwitz.
Thomas plays Julia Jarmond, an American journalist who lives in Paris and is writing a story on the roundup. She uncovers the story of a 10-year-old girl, Sarah Stazynski, who locks her little brother in a cupboard to protect him, promising to return. As Julia investigates, she learns that her own life is intertwined with Sarah’s.
Here’s the trailer.
I’m certain Sarah’s Key will be difficult to watch, but that’s all the more reason to put it at the top of your summer viewing list. Remember this: being gay is punishable by death in some countries. Even in the U.S., ignorant people still call for the LGBT population to be eliminated. Only education and awareness, via films like this, can keep Sarah’s story from becoming our own.
Sarah’s Key opens in theaters July 22. Will you see it?