The Round Up (‘La Rafle’)

DRAMA; 2hr 19min (French with subtitles)

STARRING: Jean Reno, Mélanie Laurent, Hugo Leverdez


Banished: front, from left, Leverdez, Mathieu Di Concetto and Romain Di Concetto

The 1942 Nazi deportation of 13,000 Parisian Jews is as coolly organised as a stocktake by its impassive powerbrokers in The Round Up’s authoritative and immediate re-creation. Herded at 4 AM into the barren squalor of Paris’s Vélodrome d'Hiver by collaborative French police, the panicked families have no idea that, after five days without basic provisions, they will ultimately face separation from each other and banishment to death camps.

 

Writer-director Roselyne Bosch concentrates on a few who are emblematic of the many: 11-year-old Joseph Weisman (Leverdez), who was able to escape; his family, who were not; overwhelmed Jewish doctor David Sheinbaum (Reno); and dismayed Protestant nurse Annette Monod (Laurent), who takes the children to heart. The actors give the subject matter the dedication it warrants, but the heart of the film is the enormity of the horror and the remarkable grace of the innocent victims. If to tell and retell a story is to attempt to come to terms with it, this one will live on ad infinitum. For even though the facts are a known quantity, every statistic is owed a human face.