SARATOGA SPRINGS– Saratoga Jewish Community Arts (SJCA) and Temple Sinai, plan a Zoom discussion of the film “Fanny’s Journey” on Sunday, Jan. 10, at 7 p.m.
The story of “Fanny’s Journey” (“Le Voyage de Fanny”), a 2016 French and Belgian film, is based on the life of Fanny Ben-Ami and her two sisters as described in Ben Ami’s 2015 memoir. In the film, elements were fictionalized and Ben-Ami, 85 in 2016 when the film was released, was at first taken aback by the liberties taken in the film, but then reconciled with the film’s changes to her story, feeling, she said, that it conveys the appropriate message. Fanny did not help 11 children to escape to Switzerland, as portrayed in the film; she travelled with 28 children.
In 1943 France, Fanny had barely turned 13 when her father was arrested in German occupied Paris. Fanny’s mother sent her and her younger sisters to the French free zone. When it was no longer safe there they went taken to an Italian foster home. She and her younger sisters faced language barriers and Nazi persecution. Then the young children were again threatened. A help agency head was determined that they get to Switzerland and obtained false passports for them, coercing the children to learn new names and backstories, securing them on a train to Switzerland, and then she disappeared, leaving Fanny in charge.
“Director Lola Doillon and co-writer Anne Peyregne manage to bring an important period of history alive for the next generation, even as the people who lived it are dying off,” said Community Arts Coordinator, Phyllis Wang. She added, “the final scenes cannot help but provoke comparisons and discussions of what is now happening in current times to children at multiple national borders.”
Registration, required for Zoom discussion, may be obtained at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information about the SJCA festival is available at saratogajewishculturalfestival.org; saratogasinai.org and Facebook.