In Christian Duguay’s foreign film, “A Bag of Marbles,” a narrative of a separated Jewish family is examined during a time period where Nazi death camps were evident, and the odds of surviving were uncertain.
Based on a true story, Joseph Jaffo and his older brother Maurice are part of a Jewish family that embarks on a journey to avoid religious persecution in Paris of 1941.
The Germans at that time had seized France and most parts of Europe under the instruction of a Nazi dictatorship. The only way to avoid capture was to separate from your family, travel slowly toward a place of solace and place a façade on the only way of life that you knew while doing so.
The language intertwined with the setting, as well as, the clothing used fits the time period and sets the atmosphere as the audience members take in the vintage location.
The All Saints Cinema featured this movie in a former Tallahassee Amtrak station. When experiencing this story that will bring a person to tears at least three times, the rumbling and the horn on the train track right next to the makeshift theater can be heard and felt. It is somewhat of a Dolby cinema with all-natural effects.
This also adds to the surreal image of the boys traveling by train, as it was a popular mode of transportation during that time.
Sabrina Torres, a Bradenton native, has been the manager of the Tallahassee Film Society for three years now. She believes the film was beautifully made.
“I think it just makes you realize how important these kind of stories are in history. The trauma these kids had to endure at 10 and 12 years old is terrifying. Especially, with everything that’s happening nowadays. It has the happiest ending you could imagine though because — spoiler alert — they survive to tell this story,” said Torres.
The symbolism of the bag of marbles could be seen as the one thing that reminds Joseph and Maurice that they are still boys, even though the tragic events that they witness matures them quickly.
It could also be seen as a sign of luck, like a rabbit’s foot, that has gotten them out of many near-death situations. Originally traded for the Jewish star that Joseph was mandated to wear, their way of life was foreshadowed to change forever from that point on.
Marty Jaron is an unorthodox Jew who attended the movie as a descendant of a Polish grandfather who had to flee the persecution of Jewish people during that same time period as in “A Bag of Marbles.” He thinks more people in authoritative roles should see this movie.
“We don’t like to believe it, but this same narrative is happening with the issues at the Mexican border. That’s also why this movie is one of the best I’ve ever seen. My grandfather managed to escape and just watching what these Nazis did- it's beyond being a human in the worst way. How does the worst type of history end up repeating itself?” said Jaron.
“A Bag of Marbles” was shown July 13 and 14. For more information on upcoming films through All Saints Cinema, check out their website at https://www.tallahasseefilms.com