The Round Up
The Round Up (La Rafle) is the second film I’ve seen recently about the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup, the first being Sarah’s Key, which is the fictional tale of two very different people from different timelines, tied together through the Roundup. This is where The Round Up differs, in that it’s based on the memoirs of survivor Joseph Weismann and Protestant Red Cross nurse, Annette Monod.
The Round Up focusses on neighbours the Weismanns and the Zyglers, and what happens to them in the lead up to, and after the initial roundup. Whilst focussing on two families, The Round Up also takes a much broader look at the events, including the behind the scenes plotting by the French to rid themselves of the Jewish vermin, and the contrasting scenes of Adolf Hilter enjoying life with Eva Braun as he arranges the death of 13,000 French Jews.
The key difference to the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup from many other Holocaust stories we may have seen, is that it was perpetrated, not my the occupying Nazis, but by the French Police.
Whilst The Round Up paints a pretty dim picture of the French – as it should – it also goes to great lengths to show the not ever Parisian believed in the lies spread by the French Government about the Jews, choosing to put their lives in danger by protecting and hiding as many as they could, resulting in around 10,000 less Jews being rounded up than what was planned for.
In the scheme of things, The Round Up looks and starts out looking like a cheap cash in on the modest success of Sarah’s Key, but as you get drawn into the story and get to know the main characters, as well as getting an overall picture of one of France’s darkest hours, it’s hard not to get emotionally involved.
Roselyne Bosch’s deft hand at directing what is essentially an expose of French history, and turning it into an emotional roller-coaster is a testament to both her skills and her association with the subject at hand.
Visually stunning and emotionally draining, The Round Up is an engrossing film that you won’t soon forget.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read