The writer Jacques Chessex was an eight-year-old boy in 1942 in the Swiss village of Payerne when he witnessed events that, as he wrote in a controversial book, would change him forever. Popular myth has it that Switzerland remained an innocent island amidst the horrors of World War II. What we see in Jacques Berger's swift and powerful film-and what Chessex saw as a boy-repudiates this. In Payerne, a cadre of Nazi sympathizers singled out a Jewish scapegoat-a wealthy livestock dealer (Bruno Ganz)-to serve as an "example" in honor of Hitler's birthday.
Berger's film is more than a simple recreation of an historical atrocity. Chessex appears in it both as a boy and as a haunted and besieged 70-year-old (André Wilms), under attack for writing a book that digs up old and ugly memories. Berger boldly conflates past and present (don't be surprised to see a present-day car driving the 1942 roads) suggesting that the two are and always will be dangerously intertwined.
|Original Language Title:||Un Juif pour l'exemple|
|Running Time:||73 minutes|
|Premiere Status:||North American Premiere|
|Principal Cast:||Bruno Ganz, André Wilms, Aurélien Patouillard, Paul Laurent, Baptiste Coustenoble|
|Screenwriter:||Jacob Berger, Aude Py, Michel Fessler|
guests in attendance
Aude Py – Screenwriter (January 6 & 9 only)