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Flash Festival Reviews, 3-13: Rearview Mirror
Alien-nation a la Francaise: Goupil's "Les mains dans l'air," Badis's "Le chemin noir," & Quillévéré's "Un poison violent"

A scene from Romain Goupil's "Les mains dans l'air" (Hands up). Courtesy the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2011 Paul Ben-Itzak

NEW YORK -- Walk by a school in Paris, and you're likely to spot a plaque over the entrance commemorating the hundreds of children from that school rounded up and "deported by the Vichy government, in the name of France," under the Occupation. The signs started going up in about 2000, the 60-year gap ending only after president Jacques Chirac, in one of his first speeches in 1995, said it was time for France to take responsibility for the deportations. Yet today, children from many of those same schools are still being picked up by the police and deported. Director Romain Goupil, who treats this subject in "Hand's up" (Les mains dans l'air) -- screening tonight at the Walter Reade during the Rendez-vous with French Cinema being presented there by the Film Society of Lincoln Center -- was careful to say, in a Q&A after Friday's screening, that one can't compare the two situations because no children are being sent to death camps. But the fact that it took France 60 years to officially acknowledge those wrongs of Vichy is one reason he begins his story in 2067, as the 68-year-old Milena looks back on what happened to her and a group of fellow 10-year-olds living in the lower-middle-class neighborhood behind Montmartre in 2009. "I wanted to show how ridiculous this (the expulsions of children) will look to us in 60 years."

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