THE SMUGGLER AND HER CHARGES
Occupied France lives and breathes through this heavy Holocaust documentary by Michaël Prazan. Although a thoroughly documented subject, this film twists and turns subtly as a mystery thriller wrought with villains, trials, and unlikely heroes. Prazan takes us along a personal journey by recounting his father Bernard’s escape from Nazi-controlled France as a child in the early 1940s. His story was possible only with the help of a young barmaid, Therese Leopold.
A fresh life of comfort and wealth is ripped from Bernard as his parents are sent away on trains never to be seen again. She barely knew her young Jewish charges, yet Therese risked everything for their survival and suffered greatly. She was turned in by French Gestapo agent Pierre Lussac – a man whose real cruelty shames fictional Machiavellian villains and spent the war imprisoned in several concentration camps.
The FIAT/IFTA Jury voted unanimously for this entry, where archive material helped to change the story, and that history was brought to life from the archives.