Moreau shines in film on family's Holocaust trauma

Mon Feb 11, 2008 1:02pm EST
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By Kerstin Gehmlich

BERLIN (Reuters) - Eighty-year-old French actress Jeanne Moreau says shooting her new film about a family's struggle to talk about the Holocaust brought back memories of her own childhood during the Nazi occupation.

"Plus Tard Tu Comprendras," called "Later" in English, by Israeli director Amos Gitai, recounts the story of the middle-aged Victor, who tries to get his mother, played by Moreau, to talk about her childhood and her parents' death in Auschwitz.

"It was very intense," the petite and elegant Moreau told reporters at the Berlin Film Festival on Monday. "I was born in 1928, I went through the occupation.

"In my school, I had friends who wore the yellow star and who just disappeared. That was daily life."

Moreau's film character, Rivka, struggles to put the horrors of the past into words even though her son puts pressure on her.

An opening scene shows Rivka in 1987, preparing a meal while a TV broadcast is playing of the trial of Klaus Barbie, dubbed the "butcher of Lyon" and held responsible for the torture and murder of hundreds of civilians as Gestapo chief.

Rivka's son Victor, a married father of two, follows the Barbie hearings on the radio at his office.

But as mother and son meet at Rivka's apartment for dinner later in the day, the trial becomes a taboo issue.   Continued...

<p>French actress Jeanne Moreau arrives to a reception at the 58th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin, February 11, 2008. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz</p>