Being Jewish in France
The Jews and the land of ‘Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity’ began their love affair in 1791, when France became the first modern country to proclaim Jewish emancipation. But as Yves Jeuland’s definitive documentary reveals, the reality has often failed to match the ideals of the Enlightenment. The grotesque anti-Semitism of the Dreyfus affair, and the shocking way Vichy France deported Jews to Auschwitz – colluding with Nazi racial policies – were two episodes which left lingering shadows. Bringing the story up to date, the film reveals how French Jews frequently feel threatened in their own country, victims of Middle Eastern politics.
This complex story is told by a rich tapestry of archive footage, entertaining clips from French films with Jewish themes – from Renoir to Marcel Ophuls, and a formidable line-up of interviews with leading Jewish intellectuals, politicians and artists. One of them sums up their history with a war-time joke: ‘The Jews and the French are a love affair gone sour.’