After years of denial, and a national cinema that has only obliquely dealt with its role in the Holocaust (Au Revoir Les Enfants), this amounts to a breakthrough in France's acknowledgement of guilt.
If only it were a better film. Rose Bosch is scrupulous in her checks and balances as she recounts the events of 16 July, 1942, when French police launched a pre-dawn raid on Paris's Jewish population, rounded up and interned at the Velodrome d'Hiver prior to deportation. Small pockets of heroism are revealed, such as a Protestant nurse (Melanie Laurent) who insisted on tending to the children, and a landlady who tried to alert the Jewish neighbours in her court. But mostly it's a tale of infamy on a grand scale, with awkward cameos from Pétain and Hitler as they plot genocide, and too much from a four-year-old boy, Nono, whose mooncalf innocence is overmilked for pathos.Reuse content