Monday, March 22, 2010

Monsieur Batignole - the reluctant hero

I think it's highly peculiar that the best selection of movies on New Zealand television - i.e. most intelligent, least likely to be aimed at the lowest IQs - are screened by Maori Television. Maybe because it's a television channel aimed at an ethnic minority, the programmers in charge want to catch some other minorities too (e.g. people who prefer movies that don't over-ly rely on car chases, frat parties and Jennifer Anniston).

Monsieur Batignole was quite an eye opener. Aside from being an engrossing wartime story of a French butcher who just wants to go with the flow, but ends up being a champion of Jews and the saviour of three young Jewish children - it was a history lesson for me.

Because it used to be that the words "World War II", "France" and "Nazis" used to conjour up just two images 1) the French resistance, and 2) a British sitcom called 'Allo 'Allo. I wouldn't have occurred to me that a vast proportion of the French population was more than happy to turn in their Jewish neighbours, especially if it meant they could raid those families' belongings. Monsieur Batignole's wife, daughter and son-in-law in waiting were all such opportunists, and M. Batignole was the odd one out only because he didn't want to get involved.

But he does, and he ends up risking his life to save three children from whatever hideous fate their parents faced.

Even the boy liked it, and he's not known as a watcher of sub-titles.


Tiki said...

Oh, I'm jealous. I was eyeing up that movie as well but it was a girls night in with just me and Little Miss 11 and we ended up watching Bedknobs and Broomsticks and then Bewitched. Would have much preferred the maori channel offering.

Strangely enough I've read one book, seen one documentary and one movie about WW2 this week and like you, am now a lot more in the know about the horrible cruelty of people during that time. I'm pleased my eyes were opened on this one.

Violet said...

Yeah I guess there's a reason you can have a whole television channel on the subject (i.e. the History Channel). It was a good movie - you should get it out on DVD some time. Although Bedknobs and Broomsticks isn't too bad either (but not as good as Mary Poppins).

Angela said...

It is nice to find you liked a movie you didn't know you would.

It was a bad war. I actually visited many places when I was young. Very nasty places. My parents took me when we lived in Germany.

Violet said...

I didn't know you lived in Germany. I don't think history in a German school would be very much fun - apparently they learn much more about the Holocaust than they'll ever want to remember.