Sarah's Key | Screen | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Sarah's Key

An intelligent Euro-drama explores another angle of the Holocaust.

Sarah's Key
Something smells Vichy: Kristin Scott Thomas in Sarah's Key

In 1942, showing rare initiative, the Vichy government, with no help from its German guests, rounded up 13,000 Jews in Paris and environs and sent them off to the camps. Sarah's Key, an adaptation of the novel by Tatiana de Rosnay, revisits the ensuing horrors in wartime France, and also tells a parallel story about a contemporary magazine journalist (Kristin Scott Thomas) -- an American living in France -- as she unravels the unthinkable story behind the titular key.

Along the way she uncovers some forgotten and even some unknown personal history. The stories and eras intertwine in more ways than she imagined, as de Rosnay and director Gilles Paquet-Brenner explore the things people do to survive, and then the things they do to forget what they survived.

The past, it turns out, is inescapable, which is sometimes a curse, and sometimes a mixed blessing. Sarah's Key is an old-fashioned Euro-drama: intelligent, sensitive, quietly acted and mature in its immutable truths. It also reminds us, despite the objections of some who deny the past, of an event that happened with a fury whose resonance will never be fully comprehensible. In English, French, German and Yiddish, with subtitles. Manor