Tonight France 2 plunges viewers into the heart of the Second World War and highlights a touching couple, formed by Gérard Lanvin and Mathilde Seigner in the TV movie “Les Enfants des righteous”. Together, they will try to help Jewish children who have come to take refuge in their homes.
The Children of the Righteous: adaptation of the novel by Christian Signol
Fabien Onteniente the director of Campsite, All-inclusive or Disco reveals itself in a completely different register by adapting the work of Christian Signol. The one who used to make us laugh with popular comedies tackles a much more dramatic story with his TV movie The Children of the Righteous.
For a long time, the filmmaker had had the idea of producing original fiction in the heart of the Second World War. It was when he came across the writer’s novel that he decided to adapt the story of Blanche and Virgile, which takes place in 1942.
The couple lives in the free zone very close to the demarcation line. The war is in full swing, and very quickly, they will help a local resistance network and act as conduits. Thanks to Virgil’s boat, they will smuggle Jewish people into danger. They, who have never been able to have children, are going to host and hide the young Sarah, 10 years old.
Some months later, Virgil discovers Simona Jewish boy hidden in a trunk in his father’s carpentry workshop near the river…
A four-star cast
In this unpublished fiction, we find Mathilde Seigner and Gérard Lanvin. They take on the roles of Blanche and Virgil and once again prove their talent in this register. Gérard Lanvin was immediately motivated by this role. We can read in the columns of the Figaro that the actor wanted at all costs to share the poster with Mathilde Seigner:
When I found out that there was a couple to form with an actress, I wanted Mathilde (…) Because Mathilde is part of my family, she dares to say things. She had just lost her friend Yves Rénier and was not ready to work again. I just said to him: “Come Mathilde, we have a couple to support which can be important. If you put the right things in it, you can send a message. We have a duty to remember.”
Ambre Pallas, the young girl who played Lili in cat slips into little Sarah’s skin. At his side, Philippe Torreton plays the role of Doctor Dujarric who takes care of bringing Jewish people into the free zone. Cyril Lecomte, Sophie Guillemin, Danièle Lebrun and Françoise Bureloup complete the cast.
Ordinary people doing extraordinary things
Very discreet and silent about their feelings, the couple will show great generosity towards these children. Even if there is a lot of things left unsaid, Virgile, who is rather gruff, goes to show affection thanks to his benevolent actions and his desire to transmit.
Beyond the big story, it is the little story, that of the intimate, that moves. The Children of the RighteousFabien Onteniente wanted to highlight an ordinary couple who defied prohibitions and put themselves in danger to save Jewish children.
The unpublished fiction will be broadcast on France 2 as part of an evening around the Second World War about the occupation and the resistance. The TV movie will be followed by a new documentary “Infrarouge”, The roundup of notable adaptation of the eponymous book by Anne Sinclair.
The Children of the Righteous is also available on the Salto platform.