Discover 2014 INA's productions catalog : History > Our programs
The film recounts the visible and hidden aspects of relations between France and Israel since the institution of statehood in 1948. Archive footage and interviews with leading decision makers such as Shimon Peres, Hubert Védrine, and Theo Klein are used to convey the tumultuous history of relations from a political and diplomatic vantage point: the contradictions and the sometimes hidden interests of French politics vis-a-vis Israel.
Historians such as Zeev Sternhell and Henry Laurens provide insight through their chronological analyses of events.
The aim of this series of seven episodes is to successfully approach the subject from a different angle. Instead of the usual Franco-German perspectives, a voice will be given to the many that were swept away by this first world conflict. To guarantee the international aspect of this event, great care has been taken in the choice of historians, the maps presented and in the sources of archives consulted.
After the Liberation, France is left deeply marked by years of German occupation; artists and intellectuals are not immune to these rifts. Literature is seen as a representation of the spirit of resistance and must be politically engaged. This position, which is resolutely that of revues such as "Les Temps Modernes", was contested by a group of young writers who react, without restraint, by defending style. The four writers, Antoine Blondin, Michel Deon, Jacques Laurent and Roger Nimier, thrown together by either the war or nights on Boulevard Saint-Germain, are referred to as "the hussards" by the critics and categorized as rightist very early on. These attacks feed their spirit of contradiction; but slowly the disappointment sets in. Later, two of the writers enter a period of literary recognition when they are elected members of the Académie Française. The documentary, rich in archives, tells their epic story.
"Images tell a story, we uncover the story behind those images"
This series is conceived to uncover or rediscover footage that bears witness to a century of history. Some of the images are well known, some have never been seen before. Each episode is a formal inquiry. Some subjects are cheerful and amusing ; others reflect, solemn and momentous events.
1916. Pancho Villa, dead or alive
1939. Charlie Chaplin films "The Great Dictator"
1939. The last pictures of Cayenne Penal Colony
1940. Eva Braun films Hitler
1967. The Torrey Canyon disaster
1941. Pearl Harbor in a blaze
1944. French Resistance filmed and trapped
1948. Gandhi’s funeral
1960. Fidel Castro at the United Nations
1972. Mao-Nixon, an unexpected handshake
Towards the end of German occupation and of Vichy-German propaganda, technicians from the film industry working together for the Committee for the Liberation of French Cinema decided to shoot the last battles being fought by resistance fighters on the Vercors Plateau in June and July 1944 as well as the Paris uprisings through to the liberation, in August 1944. Their footage of insurgents during the Battle of Paris was edited and became the landmark film La Libération de Paris – Journal de la Résistance ("The Liberation of Paris – A Chronicle of the French Resistance"). The film became a huge success when it was released in theatres in Paris, on 29 August 1944.
The footage filmed on the Vercors Plateau is less well-known; it was, in part, used in the film by Jean-Paul Le Chanois, Au cœur de l’orage ("In the Heart of the Thunderstorm"), a veritable palimpsest which was completed in 1948, after the start of the Cold War. This film, written by historian Sylvie Lindeperg, tells the story of this historical footage; some portions became emblematic but others, the unedited portions, remained hidden for many long years.
Summer 1944, cameraman Felix Forestier films France during the transition from occupation to liberation. Forestier, a member of the resistance forces in the Vercors Plateau, filmed his fellow fighters. He witnessed the liberation as well as the ardour that filled the French after the allies landed in Normandy and the fierce reprisals that followed. His unedited film footage was discovered 70 years after the events they contained occurred. The footage and the historians, who provide their analysis, enable us to shed new light on the period and on the legacy the liberators wanted to leave for the French.