Jewish mothers became the secret stars of the evening as Harvey Weinstein introduced a private screening of "Sarah's Key" at the MoMA on Monday, July 11: the evening's host, Diane von Furstenberg, is such a mother, as is Weinstein's own, Miriam, who was in the audience, happy, he said, that this new film was not controversial in the manner of a recent Weinstein release, Julian Schnabel's "Miral." Indeed, "Sarah's Key," based upon the wildly popular novel by Tatiana de Rosnay and already a hit in Europe, will not have B'nai B'rith asking, "Is it good for the Jews?"
Directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner, "Sarah's Key" is the story of a 10-year-old Jewish girl who is arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel' D'Hiv roundup of July 16, 1942.
Thinking she can save him, young Sarah (Melusine Mayance) locks her little brother in a secret cupboard, promising to return. She clutches the key even in the most horrific circumstance, ripped away from her mother at Beaune-la-Rolande, and awaiting transfer to the death camps.
Interwoven with this World War II drama is the present-day story of Julia Jarmond (Kristen Scott Thomas), an American journalist living in Paris, researching this story for a magazine article. An apartment that she and her architect husband are renovating connects the two stories.
At dinner, at Osteria del Circo, a crowd including Regis Philbin, Courtney Love and Heloise D'Ormesson, publisher of the original French book, celebrated. Charlotte Poutrel, who plays grown-up Sarah, glowed, knowing that her first feature film is so well received.
One viewer noted the film's harsh light on France's complicity during the Holocaust era: the French make the Nazis look good.
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.