(©L'Osservatore Romano - 29 gennaio 2011)"I wonder if one day someone will make a film about what has happened to us. No, I think no one will dare, because it is inhuman. " Fifteen years after these statements, overheard in a documentary, someone has dared: the director Rose Bosch, who in the Spring Wind wanted to tell the story of Joseph Weissman and thirteen thousand Jews deported to Nazi death camps with the complicity of the collaborationist Vichy government. One page partly removed from the collective memory of France. A film must, therefore, as those works that can be, without pretense and hypocrisy, and bring peoples and nations in comparison with its past, however painful and embarrassing it can be.
The events described are all true, as the characters. Paris, summer 1942, France was under occupation German. And for Jews the script is tragically known. Are first forced to wear the yellow star, then drifted away from all public places, work, schools. In the district of Montmartre, many families live with the star, including that of Joseph, 11. Between benevolence and contempt, the Jews learned to survive in an occupied city, which still seems a safe haven again. So I thought until the morning of July 16, when their fragile happiness is shattered suddenly.
General Petain gave in to Hitler's demands, and so thousands of men, women and children of the Jewish race, including Joseph and his family are taken by force from their homes and confined in the Velodrome d'Hiver, where they stay for days without water and sanitation, and with very little food. Paris to help a few brave, as the nurse Annette Monod (Mélanie Laurent) - to assist the only doctor jew (Jean Reno) to work in the sudden sick bay - and a handful of firefighters who, contrary to orders, will not only quench with water cannons, but agrees to deliver a secret message to relatives and friends.
The prisoners are then deported to the concentration camp of Beaune-la-Rolande, a hundred miles south of Paris, where they still retain a glimmer of hope. But one morning the world falls down forever: children separated from their parents are sent to extermination camps, the promise, cui nessuno crede davvero, è che li raggiungeranno in seguito. Così sarà. Ma non ci saranno incontri.
Con sensibilità e senso di partecipazione - inserendo in controcampo scene delle riunioni del governo di Vichy e di Hitler e della sua lugubre corte sulla terrazza del Berghof mentre, tra un cocktail e una torta, decidono la sorte di milioni di persone, e - Bosch segue i destini incrociati di vittime e carnefici da Montmartre al Vélodrome, da Beaune-La-Rolande fino all'hotel Lutetia, dove furono raccolti i sopravvissuti dopo la liberazione. E racconta, con qualche libertà sui tempi dell'azione, le storie di quanti orchestrarono e collaborarono a quell'orrore e ne portano per sempre il marchio d'infamia, la tragedia di those who had confidence and were betrayed, the stories of those who resisted or tried to do so with courage and risk his own safety, and the audacity of those who escaped. As the same
Rose Bosch - who during three years of research had to overcome many obstacles, which illustrates the gray areas that still remain - the challenges were numerous: "How to represent such barbarous prejudice as close as possible to the sense of humanity? how to shoot from the front, without lowering his gaze, but without making the view of the unacceptable scenes, how to show violence without a mask, but without even sublimate and how to do justice to the "Righteous" of France, who helped the Jews, without giving the impression of wanting to only give the French a clean conscience? ".
To tackle the director takes on different points of view. The children first, naïve but sharp. Then the nurse Annette Monod - emblem of those who tried to oppose the shame and recognized Israel's "Righteous Among the Nations" - that attempts to impact in the minds of his fellow soldiers, asking them to disobey these orders immoral and inhuman. But at the same time also tries to put the viewer in the action, so too possa sentirsi, per quanto possibile, umiliato, ingannato, maltrattato.
Quanto ai francesi che non restarono muti osservatori, oltre che dal personaggio di Annette, la gratitudine passa anche attraverso altre figure secondarie che compaiono nel film ma che esprimono partecipazione e condivisione del dramma degli ebrei. Del resto, come si legge prima dei titoli di coda, il mattino della retata ben dodicimila persone inserite nelle liste di Vichy riuscirono a rendersi irreperibili. In un Paese occupato e con un governo tanto condiscendente non avrebbero potuto trovare rifugio se non nelle case dei vicini che accettarono di ospitarli pur consci del pericolo che correvano.
Ma è altrettanto vero che dei tredicimila ebrei prelevati quella mattina di luglio sopravvissero only 25, and none of the 4,051 children finished the trains. "There'll never be great we?" Asks the friend in prison in the heart of Joseph. No, he will not make it to be great. Joseph, thanks to the run, and after the liberation meet Annette. But the director wants to defuse the anxiety even more, giving a final open to hope and consolation. Lutetia the nurse to find himself the little Nono, three years, left without parents and to which it was attached. And if there is a symbolic image of horror told by the Spring Wind - intense film as didactic - is surely one of Nono and, after learning that finally i bambini partiranno per ricongiungersi con i genitori, corre per primo, da solo, con il suo inseparabile orsacchiotto in mano, sotto lo sguardo imperturbabile delle guardie armate, verso il camion che dal campo lo avrebbe portato al treno.
Nella realtà quel bimbo si chiamava Jacquod. E non tornò.