Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The Round Up: crude propaganda

Quite simply, Rose Bosch's The Round Up is no more than crude Zionist propaganda, using, and abusing, the fate of the Parisian Jewish men, women and children who were rounded up by Pétain's collaborationist government in occupied France during 1942, to be exterminated in Hitler's gas chambers.

Rose Bosch throws into it all the clichés already in vogue in Holocaust films, by now an industry in itself, such as the tear felt reunion of survivors after the war, the separation and partying of families, the hopelessness of their situation, the young lives cut short, the good French people, the bad French people, etc. Nothing new or special here. Just scriptwriter's tricks. They may be based in witnesses accounts, but still, tricks in the manner that Bosch dealt with them.

The Round Up has, however, one redeeming feature: the depiction of Jewish society in the French capital in 1942, which we have not seen much before in the big screen, when Paris had become a kind of refuge for all those Jewish families escaping from occupied Poland, mainly. The acting is also quite good, particularly from the kids.

I am really surprised that a good actor such as Jean Reno is taking part in such a crude film. It is a shame, actually, as it has some redeeming elements, such as the acting and the portrayal of the period. The cynic in me cannot stop wondering if its release was timed to counteract moves in the United Nations to establish a Palestinian state. If anti-Semitism has increased in France, and elsewhere in Europe, the reasons for this phenomena are partly a backlash against the actions of successive Israeli governments, bent in “purifying” Israel.

Other film-makers have dealt when the fate of the Jewish people in occupied Europe in a much more sensitive, and effective, way. The names of Spielberg and Kie?lowsky spring to my mind. Bosch is not one of them. If anything, this film has made a disservice to the history of the Jewish people in occupied France.

The Round Up has gone straight as a serious contender into my list of the worst films of 2011.

Director: Rose Bosch
Cast: Jean Reno, Mélanie Laurent, Gad Elmaleh, Raphaëlle Agogué, Hugo Leverdez, Joseph Weismann

Distributor: Revolver Entertainment

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