The Roundup

The infamous Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup is the focus of this gripping drama starring Melanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds) and Jean Reno (The Professional). Two days after Bastille Day in 1942, French gendarmes carried out an extensive raid of Jews in Greater Paris. More than 13,000 were arrested, consigned to several miserable days in Paris’s Vélodrome d’Hiver stadium before being shipped to the Drancy internment camp and finally to Auschwitz. Long a taboo subject in France—Jacques Chirac issued a public apology only in 1995—the raid and its political backdrop are brought to stirring life in writer-director Rose Bosch’s detailed scenario. At the film’s outset, the tight-knit Montmartre community sustains the illusion of normalcy even as Jews are forced to wear the yellow badge and radios broadcast xenophobic diatribes. During the chaos of the initial raid, we see both the acts of extraordinary heroism that kept Vichy forces from fulfilling their intended quotas and the moral dissembling of a French elite all too prepared to cave to (and benefit from) Nazi pressures. The Roundup reaches a stunning zenith in its recreation of the abysmal conditions of the stadium, where a small city’s worth of Jews awaited their tragic fate and a few brave citizens protested with acts of compassion. Winner of eight Audience Awards at international festivals
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