Will Jean-Luc Godard Tackle the Holocaust?

By Nathan Burstein

Published June 17, 2009, issue of June 26, 2009.
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Legendary French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard may be gearing up for a drama about the Holocaust.

Godard: Rumor has it that the director might film an adap-tation of a best-selling memoir.
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Godard: Rumor has it that the director might film an adap-tation of a best-selling memoir.

The groundbreaking filmmaker behind “Breathless” and “A Woman Is a Woman” is considering an adaptation of the 2006 memoir “The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million,” Daniel Mendelsohn’s account of his research into the wartime fate of relatives from Bolechow, Poland.

A winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the National Jewish Book Award, “The Lost” would be Mendelsohn’s first work adapted for the screen.

In an e-mail sent from a literary festival in France, the author told The Shmooze that he had “no comment at present” about the Godard story, first published by The Hollywood Reporter on June 3. “[I]f and when there is a film,” he added, it will be publicized in an “appropriate fashion.”

For Godard, a movie version of “The Lost” would mark his first cinematic foray into the Holocaust. The filmmaker, born in Paris in 1930, is currently at work on “Socialisme,” his first feature-length drama since 2004’s “Our Music.”

Known for incorporating Marxist and other political messages into his films, Godard was scheduled to attend a student film festival in Tel Aviv last year, but pulled out after becoming the target of an open letter by activists advocating a boycott of Israel. The filmmaker declined public comment at the time, but an unnamed source speaking with Reuters attributed the decision to political pressure.


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