Raconte mon histoire | About the film
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Filming poetry is not something often done. The tragic theme of Robert Boublil’s poem made it even harder for us. The challenge was to find the appropriate tone, to highlight the force of the poem and to sublimate the text by using images. The risk was to not find the right manner of doing justice to all of the various emotions which converge and clash within this poem.

 

First, the innocence, felt through the expression of a very young child, who speaks to us using his own words about a world which is crashing before his own eyes. Naïve words, but nonetheless words which say everything and with a simplicity of which adults are no longer capable. Then there is the melancholy, when Maurice talks about his home, his family, his passion for drawing. A cherished past which is brought to life for a few moments through the magic of cinema. Followed by the fear, the panic in the face of the violence of others which makes no sense in the eyes of a small boy. And at the end there is the horror, the dread, the unspeakable.

 

All of these moments of extreme emotions experienced by the child had to be transmitted to the screen, all the while paying respect to the dignity and memory of little Maurice and of all of the children of Vel d’Hiv. And also respecting the imaginary and the beauty which poetry conveys and the universe it creates. We chose moderation, restraint and decency. The only manner, in our eyes, which allowed us to present this poem to the viewer without adding violence to an already violent text. A child’s hand playing the violin, a ball in a playground, a furtive glance towards the camera which briefly captures the viewer. Images of two children whose paths cross for a short time.

 

Each of them comes from a world unknown to the other. But children, wherever they come from, understand each other in a glance. A child’s universe crashes into the world of horror. And in the end, barbarity prevails. This film is intended to be witness to this tragic memory. But it also says that there will always be another child to bring to the world his innocence and joy of living.

Grégory Schepard & François Combin

Directors

When I was working on Rachel Jedinak’s story, I told myself that soon there would be no more witnesses alive. And I thought: what will happen then? Who will handle this kind of transmission? So as a writer, my immediate answer was to compose this poem. But then, I realized that even if nicely published in a book, in the end too few people would read it. So I thought of another solution: making it into a short film – or more precisely, a work of “filmed poetry” – which brings to life the viewer’s emotions through the text, voice, music, acting and images. On reflection, it seemed to me that combining all of such elements made for a much better tool of transmission. So that is the background to this project. With no other ambition than to place a new media at the disposal of those who dedicate themselves to the transmission of the memory of the Shoah.

 

There are three channels through which the film serves as a tool: the realms of education, places and institutions of memory, and the media. But in fact, there is only one target audience: children of all ages to whom the Shoah must be taught. In other words, telling them the story of the unthinkable. 

Robert Boublil

Author and producer

Two years ago, Robert Boublil and Harold Levy have written a text which tell both the stories of my youth as a child twice captured and twice escaped from the Nazis, as well as the work I have accomplished to place commemorative plaques on the walls of the schools in France. It was when one of those plaques was unveiled, in the Marais neighborhood in Paris, in October 2015, that Robert’s poem was read for the first time. By me.

 

 

Today, I am 83 years old, and I bear witness every time I can, wherever transmission is necessary. But soon, there will be no more witnesses alive. So we will have to work differently. Certainly, historical reports, archive footage, and fictional works will continue to play their part for transmission. But what about emotion? What about the rebellion against this absolute crime which was the Shoah, and the murder of children in particular?

 

The film « You, Tell my Story » answers my doubts very well. It evokes without violence the enigma of this tragedy, especially for children. The film moves us, and sometimes we cry. Whether it is seen by people my age or by people younger, it provokes the same sadness, and ends each time with the same interrogative silence : how was this possible?

 

When there will be no more living witnesses, this film will be their voice.

Rachel Jedinak

Survivor of the Vel d’Hiv’ Roundup

 

Watch here the interview to Rachel Jedinak by Robert Boublil for the website Akadem

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