Synopsis by Sandra Brennan
This artistic French film is director Charles Matton's account of the time he spent as a 9-year old living with German soldiers who overtook his home during WW II. The story begins with the camera, from above, panning a set on a sound stage and moving downward into an artist studio where Matton explains the coming scene. He points to the painting of a lawn, and the painting becomes real. Within the large, charming house of the scene, young Charles lives with his religious older sister, his psychic mother and their two female servants. One day in June, 1940, Charles' father Pierre bursts in after walking 200 miles from Paris to announce that the Germans have arrived. Pierre hates war, so when a group of soldiers demand housing, he acquiesces, unaware that the Germans would remain in their home for the next two years! Charles befriends Karl, one of the soldiers who speaks French and who hates killing. As their friendship grows, Karl gives Charles a scale model of a zeppelin and a notebook about the stars. From his Jewish tutor, Charles learns about light and shadow, and life is peaceful until Germans come and throw out Charles's Jewish neighbors and burn their home.
enemy, family, friendship, occupation [military], reminiscence, war