“The Story of Annette Zelman”, a romantic drama based on a true story

They loved each other, but in 1941 their romance looked like a provocation. “The Story of Annette Zelman” was inspired by the true story of a loving couple trapped in the dark hours of World War II. Laurent Lucas, Julie Gayet, Vassili Schneider and Ilona Bachelier lend their talents to the excellent director Philippe Le Guay in this romantic drama to discover Wednesday January 25 at 9.10 p.m. on France 2.

Note of intent from the director, Philippe Le Guay
“We tell the story of Annette and Jean, young people aged 20 in 1942, overflowing with the desire to live, who do not know that the ax of History is about to fall on them. Annette’s killing stems from anti-Semitic hatred. However, The Story of Annette Zelman includes an additional dimension. Admittedly, it was the Nazis who imprisoned Annette and deported her to Auschwitz. But they are helped in this enterprise by the denunciation of the father of the young man who has fallen in love with her. A love so strong that the two young people decided to marry… ultimate transgression. Hubert and Christiane Jausion oppose the marriage of their son Jean with a young Jewess. They are, however, humanists, cultured people, friends of the arts… The “ordinary” anti-Semitism of a bourgeois family causes Annette’s death “without intention of giving her away”. What’s tragic is how class prejudice leads to outright murder. This is what makes the news of this story today. At a time when certain politicians falsify history and rehabilitate Pétain’s France, it is good to remember this poignant example. Anti-Semitism is not an “idea” without consequences, because “ideas” contain within them their violence and their barbarism… To play the Jausion, we chose Laurent Lucas and Julie Gayet, two actors with a charismatic aura. Far from making caricatures of them, we want to dive into the guilt of this couple and the remorse that will undermine them when they become aware of their gesture. Ilona Bachelier and Vassili Schneider interpret Annette and Jean with this vibrant energy of youth. The staging of our film is in this tune. We have chosen to give the film a breathless rhythm: you have to go fast, not settle down, in order to show the irreversible movement of the crushing machine of Nazi repression. But you also have to be carried away by the desire to live, the vibrant faith that Jean and Annette continue to have in their love. The film is narrated by Michèle Zelman, Annette’s younger sister, aged 15 at the time of the events. Today, Michèle is 94 years old, she is in incredible shape, and speaks with incredible precision about her sister and her family. Michèle is the “witness” of our story, she is so valiant that she accepted our proposal to play her role in our film. In the last sequences, Michèle intervenes in front of the young actress who interprets her role. We filmed this encounter at her home, in her apartment filled with memories: photos, drawings by Annette, letters written in 1942 that have stood the test of time… Michèle is the transmission belt between generations, she creates a bridge between the past and the present, between fiction and authentic testimony. We are convinced that beyond the emotion of his live testimony, the meaning of his message will be even more present, and will touch the viewer’s heart. »

Anti-Semitism is not an “idea” without consequence, because “ideas” contain within them their violence and their barbarity.

Philippe Le Guay, director

On the eve of the International Day dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Shoah (January 27, in memory of the day of the liberation of the Auschwitz camp in 1945), France Télévisions offers this poignant fiction adapted from the book by Laurent Joly retracing the true story of Annette Zelman (Freely adapted from the chapter “Annette Zelman” of the book Denounce the Jews under the Occupation by Laurent Joly, 2017, CNRS editions). In 1978, in The Memorial to the Deportation of Jews from France, by Serge and Beate Klarsfeld, a few lines evoke an individual destiny, one of the rare names, among the 76,000 quoted, to be the subject of a commentary: “ In this convoy n° 3 left a 20-year-old girl, Annette Zelman, a Frenchwoman guilty not only of being Jewish, but of daring to love and be loved by a non-Jewish Frenchman. Annette was in fact denounced to the Gestapo by her fiancé’s father.

A tragic destiny brought to the screen by filmmaker Philippe Le Guay and screenwriter Emmanuel Salinger, whose work gives this story a resonance that goes far beyond the historical context of the Second World War.
To go further, the cairn.info site devotes a very detailed article to Annette Zelman.

Vasily Schneider won the ADAMI Young Male Hope Award at the 2022 La Rochelle Fiction Festival.

The Story of Annette Zelmanwas selected for the 2022 International Historical Fiction Film Festival and the 2023 Miami Jewish Film Festival.

The films of Philippe Le Guay

  • 2003: The cost of living, with Fabrice Luchini, Vincent Lindon
  • 2006: Overnight, with Benoît Poelvoorde
  • 2011: Women of 6e stage, with Carmen Maura, Fabrice Luchini, Sandrine Kiberlain
  • 2011: V like Vian (France 2), with Julie Gayet and Laurent Lucas
  • 2013: Alceste in bycicle, with Fabrice Luchini and Lambert Wilson
  • 2015 : Florida, with Jean Rochefort, Sandrine Kiberlain, Laurent Lucas
  • 2018: naked normandy, with Francois Cluzet, Francois-Xavier Demaison
  • 2021: The Cellar Man, with François Cluzet, Berenice Bejo, Jérémie Renier
  • 2023: The Annette Zelman case (France 2), with Julie Gayet, Laurent Lucas
Ilona Bachelier and Vassili Schneider

Ilona Bachelier and Vassili Schneider

© Hassen Brahiti – FTV

“The Story of Annette Zelman”

In 1941, at the start of the German occupation, Annette Zelman, of Jewish parents, was a student at the Beaux-Arts. When she meets Jean, she is 20 years old and he is barely older. They love each other and the future smiles on them. Their amorous carelessness will not prevent the unleashing of forces which overwhelm them and thwart their plans to the point of precipitating them into a nightmare. Very inspired by the true story of Annette Zelman, this love drama is that of anti-Semitism, ordinary denunciation, bourgeois hypocrisy, the intertwining of narrow minds in the service of the “final solution”. .

With Julie Gayet (Christiane Jausion) Lawrence Lucas (Hubert Jausion), Ilona Bachelier (Annette), Vasily Schneider (Jeans), Daniel Cohen (Moishe Zelman) Guilaine Londez (Kaila Zelman) Louise Legendre (Michèle Zelman) with the participation of Michele Kersz Zelman.

Carried out by Philippe LeGuay – Written by Emmanuel Salinger —With the collaboration of Laurent Joly — Freely adapted from the “Annette Zelman” chapter of the book Denounce the Jews under the Occupation by Laurent Joly, 2017 (CNRS editions) — A co-production Nilaya Productions and France Televisions — Produced by Patricia Boutinard-Rouelle, with the artistic collaboration of Paule Zajdermann – With the participation of TV5 World — With the support of the Ile-de-France regionin partnership with the CNCof the Foundation for the memory of the Shoah and the Rothschild Foundation.

The Story of Annette Zelman is broadcast on Wednesday January 25 at 9.10 p.m. on France 2.

The film will be followed by documentaries The roundup of notablesadapted by Gabriel LeBomin from the eponymous book ofAnne Sinclairand save the childrenof Catherine Bernstein and Gregory Celerse.

To see and see again on france.tv

Posted by Diane Ermel

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