Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

March 23, 2018

The Workshop; A Bag of Marbles

Filed under: Counterpunch,Film — louisproyect @ 2:08 pm

COUNTERPUNCH, March 23, 2018

Two French films open today in New York that are deeply engaged with the country’s malaise both present and past. Laurent Cantet’s “The Workshop”, which can be seen at the IFC Center, examines the troubled interaction between a successful novelist Olivia Dejazet and seven local students attending her writer’s workshop in La Ciotat, a southern town once dominated by the defunct ship-building industry and the militant Communist-led trade unions to which their workers belonged. Now, the only boats being built in La Ciotat are yachts for the super-rich who are resented by the economically depressed locals, including the students. “The Bag of Marbles” that opens at the Landmark on 57th Street is set in Vichy France and tells the story of two Jewish boys who are on the run from the Nazis. In preparing the boys for their trek across France into the Italian-controlled south of the country, their father trains them to deny their Jewishness. Over the kitchen table, he grills them as if he were a Gestapo interrogator. “Are you Jewish?”, he snarls at Joseph, the 10-year old who is more vulnerable than his 12-year old brother Maurice. When the boy says no, the father slaps him across the face and repeats the question. After 4 or 5 slaps, the father is satisfied that they are ready to send on their way.

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