"Herbert Traube. De Vienne à l'Indochine : un destin français"
Herbert Traube. From Vienna to Indochina: a French destiny
A documentary film written et directed by Clara Laurent - Technical making Jérémie Laurent
This film is the sensitive portrait of a luminous 97 years old man who has lived through the chaos of the 20th century history.
Born an Austrian Jew in 1924, escaped from a French camp in 1942, volunteered at the age of 18 in the Foreign Legion, French "not by blood inherited, but by blood spilled", Herbert Traube was also forced to take part in
Indochina war. Today, he is one of the last World War II veterans who can recount his experiences. Charismatic, surprisingly young for his age, Herbert will take us in the footsteps of the places he went through in the fast lane from 1938 to 1947 and he will tell us his story during History with a capital H. NOTE OF INTENT My meeting with Herbert Traube I discovered in 2018 the book written by Herbert Traube, An Uncommon Odyssey from Vienna to Menton (2016). This autobiography immediately captivated me. His life is a real novel. Forced out of his native Vienna in 1938 by the Nazis, compelled to fend for himself when his mother died in 1941 and his father had to hide, Herbert successfully pretended to be a 21 years old Luxembourg Catholic and then entered the Foreign Legion. As a soldier, he took part in the D-Day Landings of Provence and faught in several battles. He is one of the veterans who heroically liberated France and defeat the Nazis. The common points between my Viennese grandfather and Herbert Traube did not fail to strike me. Moreover, I was eager to speak with him face to face, and I managed to reach him by phone without difficulty. I remember a long, informal conversation with a man full of sense of humor. An immediate connection was born. Herbert invited me for tea to his home in Menton and I was immediately amazed by the youth of this (by then) 95 years old man. A youth that was both physical and psychological. And what a phenomenal memory! His optimistic temperament certainly explains a large part of his longevity and vitality. It seemed obvious to me that such a historical witness, coupled with such a charismatic personality, should be the subject of a documentary film.
The recent rise in anti-Semitism in France, and more broadly in Europe, requires time and time again to come back to this History, the last witnesses are disappearing ... Herbert was immediately convinced by my project. After being silent for a very long time concerning his years of persecution and war, he had already "entered into the memory duty ", according to his expression, through the writing and publication of his book, but also through his activity of lecturer for young people in schools. He understood how a documentary film would contribute to pass on his experience to as many people as possible. I was very touched by his way of fully engaging in the project. He’s always available, never saving his energy despite his more than venerable age. His inexhaustible enthusiasm is a powerful spur to the entire film crew. He even insisted on filming in Vienna, Austria, not afraid to go there in the middle of July ... From victim to resistance then legionary
The film will highlight how Herbert’s strength and resourcefulness enalbled him to survive, but also how he was helped by a series of good fortune. Among these, he providential met Mr. Champenois, a Quaker and "Righteous among the nations".
This member of Resistance enabled Herbert to join the Foreign Legion at the age of 18.
A somewhat paradoxical luck, as the Foreign Legion is not particularly famous for being a happy summer camp for teenagers... But a chance all the same, because the danger of deportation was receding and the young Herbert found his dignity by fighting for a just cause: victory against the Nazis and the liberation of France. Herbert's life as a soldier will be the most epic part of the film: he will indeed tell us about the incredible episodes of the war: the Landings in Provence, the Campaign of France, the Liberation of France and Austria... Then, even if it was no longer " his war ”, the forced departure for Indochina for two years, in order to respect his engagement in the Foreign Legion,“ with honor and fidelity ”. Emblematic and out of the ordinary Our documentary film aims to highlight the emblematic and unusual aspect of this man's destiny. We will underline how a young Austrian of Jewish origin born in 1924 in Vienna was able to become French, despite from the fact that he was first considered "undesirable" by the Vichy regime and interned in French camps which usually led to deportation to Nazi camps in Germany and Poland. The film will ultimately underline the exemplary life path of Herbert Traube, from his native Austria — from which he was driven out — to Saint-Agnès, a small hilltop village on the French Riviera, where he was elected as deputy mayor, serving the French Republic from 1989 to 2008. WHAT THE FILM WILL LOOK Our film is the sensitive portrait of a man who has lived through the chaos of History. Our desire is to be as close as possible to him, following his intimate remembrance of things past. We will give Herbert Traube time to clarify his thoughts and impressions with hindsight, so that the emotion comes up. Sometimes, we will add archives and explanations so that as many people as possible understand the historical issues underlying Herbert’s story. But the essential will remain Herbert Traube, a great storyteller with exceptional memory, and whose account of his extraordinary adventures is always captivating, sometimes unexpected and funny.
The film will be mostly dynamic, follwing the personality of this man who lived a hundred lives from 1938 to 1947 and who is still nowadays in great condition, walking everyday and travelling when he wishes. IMAGE, DIRECTION, VOICE OVER We will pay great attention to the quality of the image and lighting to do justice to the beauty and charisma of our nonagenarian hero. We will therefore film with 4K cinema cameras. Since Herbert Traube is in exceptional physical shape for his age, and always active (lecturer, speaker in schools…), the camera will often be in motion, following him walking, showing his singular vitality.
Many shots will be taken outdoors with Herbert strolling: in the Camp des Milles (a place of memory particularly striking), headquarter of the Foreign Legion in Aubagne (in front of the War Memorial), Marseille, Menton, Saint-Agnès, Nice ... We will highlight Herbert in the light of the South where he lived for many months during the Second World War, but also where he has lived since he retired from Labinal. As Herbert himself expressed the desire that we film him in Vienna, we will also follow him to his hometown, a place steeped in history. We will film him outdoors both in places of his happy and unhappy childhood (at the time of the Nazi persecutions). We will also film him in the apartment where he grew up (tracing a photo of him as a child in front of the living room window) and in his primary school... We will finally film him during a signing session for his book translated into German in a Viennese bookstore.
Herbert Traube will confide to the director by retracing the vivid memories of his life. A lengthy interview in the privacy of his apartment will be the backbone of the documentary.
This interview may appear in a voiceover on images shot with him in different places (Vienne, Aubagne, etc.) and on archive images. Since this film was born with Clara Laurent’s meeting with Herbert Traube, who has a lot in common with her own grandfather, the director will be present on screen at certain times as Herbert’s privileged interlocutor. The director's voice-over will explain the personal relationship she has with Herbert Traube, in the manner of certain documentaries by Agnès Varda. This voice-over will also sometimes be narrative and explanatory (especially on archives). At rarer moments, she will say what Herbert confides in her out of modesty (and which he nevertheless accepts that she reveals herself in the film). However, the voice of Herbert Traube will proportionally take the largest place in the film.
DOCUMENTS, ARCHIVES, COMMENTATORS
We’ll use personal documents that belongs Herbert Traube (photographs, official papers, etc.), as well as historical archives which will support his point.
When we want to highlight certain elements of these archives, we will use the Ken Burns effect.
The historian Robert Mencherini, specialist in the Second World War , will provide his historical insights when necessary (sometimes in voice-over on archives). Alain Chouraqui, founding president of the Fondation des Milles , will also provide valuable insights.
ANIMATED VIGNETTES Animation in documentary film is more and more used, in particular when archives from the past are missing. The cartoon also allows to express the subjectivity of the witness, his memory and his emotions. We would like to use animated vignettes when Herbert recalls his experiences during the Kristallnacht in Vienna, when he is 14 years old. Herbert Traube’s story is also sometimes picaresque, and the cartoon will illustrate the colourfulness of his adventures: escape from a train to run away from deportation; entry into the Foreign Legion pretending to be Luxembourgish; or an episode in which, having passed behind enemy lines, Herbert plays as an actor and pretends to be a superior German officer in front of German soldiers … The animation will be close to the “clear line” school, in order to be accessible, limpid and close to the contemporary drawings of the adventures told by Herbert.
SOUND We will give priority to sounds taken in situ in order to reproduce the soundscapes of the places where Herbert wanders. We will use sound post-production work to recreate past sounds so that viewers feel like they are in the inner memory of Herbert Traube. This sound post-production will support the animated illustrations. Original music will occasionally support certain episodes in Herbert’s life, enhacing their dramatic atmosphere. We want it to be sober and not necessarily melodic.
 Author of Vichy en Provence (1940-1942), 2011, Resistance and Occupation (1940-1944), 2014 and La Liberation et les années tricolores (1944-1947), 2014  Alain Chouraqui is also emeritus research director at the CNRS, founding director of the multidisciplinary European federative institute “Rights, regulations and social transformations” at the University of Aix-Marseille 2. Since 2015, he has been the scientific manager of the UNESCO Chair "Citizenship education, human sciences and convergence of memories". LIST OF FILMING LOCATIONS
Vienna, AUSTRIA (where he was born and brought up until 14 years old)
Marseille, FRANCE (where Herbert spent several months during the WWII)
Aix-en-Provence, FRANCE (where Herbert was interned at Camp des Milles)
Menton, FRANCE (home of Herbert),
Saint-Agnès, FRANCE (former home, where he was elected as a representative)
Aubagne, FRANCE (Headquarters of the Foreign Legion)
Nice, FRANCE (where his son Richard lives and works) BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE - CLARA LAURENT After several years spent as production assistant for audiovisual companies (Zadig productions, FIT productions…) and project manager in video editing(Editions Montparnasse), Clara Laurent taught the history of classical French cinema at the University of Paris-Diderot and was a lecturer in cinema at the University of Paris-Nanterre. She published then several academic articles, in particular on women empowerment and on spies in films (CinémAction…). From 2010 to 2019 she regularly wrote as a journalist for the monthly La Gazette de Monaco on cultural subjects (cinema, literature, dance, opera ...). For the past ten years, she has given lectures on cinema (Monaco Media Library, Nice Cinémathèque, Institut Lumière de Lyon, Mac Mahon Cinema in Paris, CUM Mediterranean University Center in Nice, etc.) and in 2019 led master classes at the Cinémathèque de Nice (with Jean Dujardin, Patrice Leconte, Jean-François Stévenin, Nicole Garcia). Danielle Darrieux, une femme moderne (ed. Hors collection, April 2017) the first biography about the French star is her first book. She is also the co-author of a documentary film for Arte (Production Les Films ici) on Danielle Darrieux, entitled "Il est poli d’être gai", broadcast for the first time in March 2019 then on Ciné + in 2020 and 2021 (directed by Pierre-Henri Gibert). She participated as a speaker in documentary films on cinema for the DVD editions of La Vérité sur Bébé Donge, Battement de cœur, Premier rendez-vous (Gaumont), Les Amoureux sont seuls au monde (Pathé). She took part in radio broadcasts (“Plan Large” on France Culture in 2017, Bernard Lehut on RTL in 2017, “Toute une vie” on France Culture in 2020…) and in the program “Une maison, un artiste” on France 5 by Patrick Poivre d'Arvor (August 2020). She has written for the cinema review "Revus et corrigés". Since 2019 she has been writing articles on cinema and literature for Schnockreview (La Tengo edition). She participated in the collective book Garder au cœur le désir de l’été (prefaced by Julia Kristeva), InPress edition, 2020. Her next book will be published in October 2021 by Éditions Tallandier.
Since 2009, she has been a french teacher. JEREMIE LAURENT, BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE Born in Paris in 1986, Jérémie Laurent trained at ESRA(School of Cinema and Audiovisual) in Nice.
He worked on several productions as a back-up to the staging, stage manager and then casting assistant.
In 2007, he participated in the workshop of Abbas Kiarostami at the Villa Arson in Nice. He directed a film under the guidance of the Iranian master and personally assisted him on one of his short films.
This meeting has a great influence on the rest of his career. He then opened up to photography (group exhibitions in Paris and Monaco) and opera staging with the company Les Cigalons (performances at the Théâtre des Déchargeurs in Paris).
He participated in other film workshops between New York and the Var, as a student with speakers such as Patrizia Von Brandenstein and Melody London, but also as a teacher of film history.
He has directed two short films in workshops, among them Like Your Brother in 2012 (produced by Eurica Media Lab with support from Kaufman Astoria Studios, filming in New York).
Jérémie Laurent directed two short films. The first one, Boniek and Platini, was produced by the G.R.E.C. and Studio Munka (filming in Warsaw), and has had many selections including the “Palm Springs International ShortFest”, “Un Festival c'est trop court” in Nice, the “Festival International du Film d'Aubagne”… The second one, Jacques a soif, was named first for the price in “Moulin d'Andé Short Film Screenplay Competition” in 2014, starring André Wilms (produced by Caïmans Productions, with the support of the CNC and the Pôle Image Haute-Normandie).
Since 2014, Jérémie Laurent has devoted himself mainly to directing.
He founded Tataouine Productions with Nader Kedissa and produced and directed documentaries for Monaco Channel: Wlad, portrait d'un piano-bar, Monaco et la Guerre, La Souveraineté monégasque.
He is currently working on a documentary seriesretracing the history of classical music in the Principality of Monaco (for Nina productions). THIBAULT CHIMIER,BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE Born in 1986, Thibault Chimier graduated from l’Ecole Nationale des Art Appliqués et de l’Image in 2008, then joined La Poudrière school where he obtained the title of animated film director in 2011. He has since worked in animation, notably as a storyboarder, production designer and animator.
While continuing his activities, he left Paris in 2016 for a one-year stay in Japan. He achieved there the comic strip "Kitsune", released in 2019 (with a screenplay by Stéphane Presle). He is currently developing two short film projects including "Citius, Altius, Fortius", scripted and co-directed by Jérémie Laurent, as well as a new graphic novel, this time as an illustrator and screenwriter.
Given the urgency of our film (the portrait of a man born in 1924 ...), we decided to start filming without delay.
Summer 2020: Shooting of long interviews with Herbert Traube at his home in Menton, then in the streets of his city. Shooting in Saint-Agnès (small village) with Herbert returning to the places where he was deputy mayor for 19 years. First shooting with Herbert in Marseille. Spotting at Camp des Milles (Aix-en-Provence) without Herbert (due to covid pandemic). Spring 2021: Shootings with Herbert in Marseille, shootings at Camp des Milles and at the headquarter of the Foreign Legion in Aubagne. For these first shootings with our small team, we benefited from the help of Tataouine Productions (company founded in 2014 by Jérémie Laurent and Nader Kedissa) and Nina Productions (founded in 2020), which provide their high-quality audiovisual equipment free of charge (camera 4K cinema, mic booms, lavalier microphone, etc.)
Tataouine and Nina productions also financed the travel (hotel nights, meals, gasoline, tolls, etc.) thanks to a donor, involved in “the duty of remembrance”. We are now turning to crowdfunding in order to complete the making of our film. We sincerely hope that this crowdfunding helps us to finalize the budget. Below are the precise elements for which we indicate the necessary amounts calculated as accurately as possible. If we do not ask for more than 15,000 euros by crowdfunding, it is due to how Kisskissbankbank works: if the total amount is not reached, we lose everything. On the other hand, if the fundraising by participation exceeds the threshold, this will obviously help us even more effectively to finish our film.
Here are our needs:
1.finance the last shoots: in Nice with his two sons (Laurent and Richard Traube); Vienna (Austria), which involves Nice-Vienna flights for Herbert and the crew reduced to three: Clara Laurent, the author and director; Jérémie Laurent, the cameraman; a sound recordist. Scheduled date: July 2021. Estimated budget: 2500 euros 2.finance the animation work of illustrator
Thibault Chimier (see below for the note which explains the choice to include animated vignettes).
Scheduled date: June-July 2021. Estimated budget: 12,000 euros 3.finance the composition of an original soundtrack (music and sound effects).
Scheduled date: July-August 2021. Estimated budget: 3000 euros 4.finance all post-production
(editing, audio mixing, color grading, calibration).
Scheduled date: July-September 2021. Estimated budget: 13,000 euros 5.finance the media and the communication campaign (in particular the trailer, the Indesign files in French, English German ...)
Scheduled date: September-October 2021. Estimated budget: 2000 euros
TOTAL: 32,500 EUROS
Our ambition is for this film to meet the standards expected by traditional television channels and TV platforms, and even movie theaters. This aesthetic and technical requirement requires an ad hoc budget. In conclusion, our goal is to complete this film as quickly as possible so that Herbert Traube sees the final result in good conditions ! In other words, towards the end of fall 2021. For more information on the project and the incredible life of Herbert Traube, do not hesitate to contact me ! I can send the sum up of his autobiography that I wrote.