Review by Managing Editor Jan Lisa Huttner
DAY ONE OF THE 2014 NEW YORK JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL
1979: Friends from France returns us to the days when Jewish intellectuals in the former Soviet Union were under constant surveillance. Two cousins from Paris travel to Moscow posing as newlyweds. “Carol” (Soko), a dedicated activist, has memorized the names of a list of Refuseniks. Every evening, they excuse themselves from their tour group and pretend to canoodle, but they are actual making contact.
“Jerome” (Jeremie Lippmann) calls name after name on Carol’s list, announcing himself each time as “your friend from France.” Then off they go to a clandestine meet-up. This is an unforgettable film about dignity and the human spirit.
© Jan Lisa Huttner (1/9/14)
Top Photo: “Carole” (Soko) & “Jerome” (Jeremie Lippmann) arrange their evening meet-ups based on a list Carole had memorized before they left Paris. Every time he calls someone, Jerome announces himself as follows: “This is your ‘friend from France’.”
Bottom Photo: One night, Carole & Jerome meet “Viktor” (Vladmir Friedman), a physicist who was locked-up in a psychiatric facility for years after he asked to emigrate to Israel. His wife & son were allowed to leave; he was not. By the time Carole & Jerome come to his apartment, wife & son have been in Ashkelon [Israel] for 10 years, but Viktor has not been allowed to see them or maintain any regular contract with them.
Photo Credits ???
Q: Does Friends from France pass the Bechdel Test?