Nous Rapporterons Ses Paroles

20 STUDENTS, ONE THEATRE CLASS : WHEN YOUTH SEIZE THE WORDS FROM A DEPORTEE

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Nous Rapporterons Ses Paroles

 

This year commemorates the 75th anniversary of the 24 January 1943 convoy in which 230 women were deported to Auschwitz. Only 49 of them survived, but there are none left to tell their stories. We are approaching this moment in our history in which there will no longer be any survivor to bear witness. Preserving and transmitting the memory to coming generations will only be possible through archives, a few films and rare and essential writings such as those of Charlotte Delbo. A woman of letters and drama, a member of the résistance, she was one of the 49 deportees.

 

 

In 2017, the Lycée Rodin is the starting point of an adventure. Twenty students in A-level Drama, all from various backgrounds, immerse themselves in the work of Charlotte Delbo during an entire year, under the guidance of Gabrielle Brun, a passionate teacher. As they read the texts for the first time, Elisa’s eyes well up with tears while Chelsy discovers with utter amazement how powerful words can be. Loïc is particularly impressed by the description of the solidarity among these women and hopes that his small drama group will live up to the challenge. The task that lies ahead of them is difficult. They must become imbued with these words as if they were their own and learn to emphasize with the horror experienced by others. The students carry a tremendous responsibility as they realize that they, too, are the children of this story.

 

 

Throughout the year, the students progressively appropriate these texts to create their own show. Besides the powerful testimony on the appalling experience of the camps, the texts of the surviving writer raise some essential and challenging questions for these adolescents who are still in the process of discovering themselves.

 

          

 

The students travel. In the middle of the year, they share their work with other Italian high school students during a whole week in Bergamo. Far from home and their daily life, they become closer to each other and, as more questions are raised, they seek common answers among themselves and around the values conveyed by Charlotte Delbo’s texts.

 

This creative work slowly reveals what they have inside themselves: ties, revolts but also pains. By combining their own experience with Delbo's word, something changes radically in them and between them. The film tells this intimate and collective adventure that stems from the combination of art and life. This year, Elisa, Chelsy, Loïc and their friends will undergo a transformation that will change them forever. They will carry the words of a survivor of the Holocaust. Through her, they will become aware that this story is also their story.

 

 

 

NOW WE FIGHT.

 

Charlotte Delbo’s words are a hymn to life.

 

When reading these texts, I feel a strong desire to fight, I want to live ... to move mountains! Like the character of Grisélidis Réal (artist, writer, and prostitute) whom I portrayed in my previous film, Delbo invites us to transform our weaknesses into strengths, to not submit ourselves but to resist! And for a high school student, an adult in the making, her liberating words become an essential asset.

 

Her memories combine past and future. Her idea is not about dwelling on a painful past but to learn from it and grow out greater and stronger. She has thus produced great texts to express joy, creation, and optimism.

 

​​​​ALL TOGETHER.

 

              

Her entire work is an in-depth exploration of the themes of friendship and solidarity between deported women. In “None of us will return”, she re-iterates that she would not have survived but for her unyielding friendship with her comrades.

 

At the Lycée Rodin, on stage and throughout the year, the relationships within the group are growing stronger, the creative work encouraging the students to unite, to help each other - because in drama, nothing can be achieved alone. The relationships among the students are gradually changing as the words they utter echo in their heart and mind.

 

 

In a society that wants to hammer in them the idea of ​​competition, rivalry and individualism, I witness this group of teenagers become increasingly united through artistic creation. For our high school students, it's a collective adventure that will change them forever.

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF ART

 

Back in France in 1945, people bring her books as she recovers in hospital. But she couldn’t be less interested in them; she even finds them appallingly boring: "These books have nothing to say" she wrote.

 

In her work, Charlotte Delbo recounts how, during the daily callout of names in the camp, she held on by reciting Moliere to herself and reconstructing in her mind poems she had once learned and memorized. Although she demonstrates that culture can save lives, she also questions our contemporary culture.

 

How do we think? How do we speak? How do we transmit? How do we continue to create in the face of inconceivable abomination? This is the real challenge. As a filmmaker, I feel compelled to answer these questions: What culture should we create today to tell the world?

 

 

For Grégoire, Pamela, Noa and the others who did not experience these dramatic hours, art and culture might seem to be secondary. But reading these texts confirms the idea that this dimension of their lives is essential for their survival.

 

Making a movie for them, for all of us, trying to give a collective meaning to the word "creation" is the very issue involved in the work I have undertaken with Gabrielle Brun and her group of wonderful young actors.

 

 

 

Born in Germany, my paternal grandfather was taken prisoner and sent to prisoner camps in 1942. He escaped and took refuge in a free zone. He had a tattoo on his arm but I have never seen it. He met my grandmother in the city of Nice. She too had fled Germany. It is my father who passed on to us this story which his parents hardly ever talked about...

 

At the age of 10, the large black and white pictures from "From Nuremberg to Nuremberg" were an integral part of my culture – so were "Anne Frank's diary", or "A bag of marbles"...

 

As I grew up, I developed my own personal vision of this story, a very different vision from that of my father and especially from my grandparents’ perspective. Now I wonder what it will be for my son and for the future generations for whom this story will increasingly seem to belong to a far distant past. 

 

                 

The duty of remembrance isn’t merely a principle that one brandishes along with many others. It is a silent and essential prayer from the dead to the living. It is the only way to build a better future.

 

             

So today, you too can help us to carry these words... and through them revive the laughing, intense and living faces that the deportees have lost and which Charlotte Delbo has had the immense courage to resurrect in her work.

 

                                       

 

 

 

 

 

Charlotte Delbo (1913-1985), the daughter of Italian immigrants, a communist who joined the French Resistance in 1941, was on “convoy 31000" in 1943, among 230 female political deportees. She is 30 years old. Her husband, arrested together with her, has just been executed. In the midst of the horror of Auschwitz, she decides that she will write what people experienced there once she returns. Charlotte will survive along with 48 other deportees and as soon as she returns, she sets out to write "None of us will return". But with remarkable lucidity, she can feel that people are not yet ready to hear what she has to tell, and waits until 1965 to publish this text. It will be the first volume of a trilogy: "Auschwitz and after" (Editions de Minuit). She will also write other works including several plays, including "Who will carry the word? ", a Holocaust drama played by 24 actresses in a Nazi camp set.

 

 

 

After graduating with a degree in journalism, Natacha Giler decided to specialize in documentary film. She made her first 52-minute film, "Ngwane, the Kingdom of Swaziland" in Africa in 2007. More recently, she wrote and directed "Grisélidis Réal, Dance card", an exploration into the life and work of Grisélidis (1929 -2005); a unique woman who was both a popular writer and a revolutionary prostitute. In 2012, she moved to New York for 3 years to gain wider professional experience. Her film "Woman in the sky", another story about a woman (American) with an extraordinary destiny, is currently in post-production. She is now back in Paris and divides her time between documentary editing and her film projects.

(Website: www.natachagiler.com)

 

 

"What truly moved us in Natacha Giler's project is how art can transform life. Just like the " Dancing Dreams: Pina Bausch” by Ann Linsel and Reiner Hoffman, or "Out Loud "by Stéphane de Freitas and Ladj Ly, WE WILL CARRY THESE WORDS offers the wonderful spectacle of a transformation: that of a group of timorous adolescents who become aware of their own self and gain the legitimacy to think about their world, their lives, everything that makes them who they are, and thus to live in society.

 

This small miracle is the fruit of a theatrical work led by a passionate teacher, the prominent figure in the film. But it is first and foremost the faces of Noa, Loïc, Elisa and all the others, whose evolution we will follow for one year, until the end of year show, the apotheosis of their journey through the legacy of Charlotte Delbo.

 

This film is essential for us. In our society, Charlotte Delbo’s texts resonate endlessly: we think of detention camps, political refugees, the struggle for free speech and the freedom of the press, women's rights. But we must also think about the duty of remembrance, the value-of-life testimony, and the battle of ideas. Above all, we think about that burning desire and unyielding courage she speaks of to build another world, a better world. WE WILL CARRY HER WORDS is therefore an important and necessary act today, but it is also an original approach to passing on her message.

 

Today more than ever, it seems fundamental to us to seek new ways of accessing to History to bring it to young people.

Natasha is committed to creating generous and powerful form for the film. We have every confidence in her, as she is particularly obsessed with this subject and driven by the joy of the high school students who experience this adventure in front of her camera.

Francesca Feder and Arnaud Louvet, producers at Aeternam Films

(Aeternam Films sur IMDb)

 

 

 

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